Author branding plus niche positioning

How to Create a Publishing Business!

To make a lot of money in book publishing for a niche market, then you will need to understand how to reach people with online publishing too. If you are a known personality, great—build on that, but if you are building a name-brand business or charity, then your brand is your business.

For instance, have you ever heard of a little business called Niche Media?  Well, as an Australian niche magazine publisher, their brands include MacWorld, Marketing magazine, Idea, Inside (interior design), Architectural Review (AR), Mezzanine and Desktop. They have 10 million views on their sites and send 100,000 EDMs a week. They are a large publisher, but most of us start as an indie or micro publisher. What is the difference?

An indie publisher publishes only their own books, whereas a micro publisher might publish a few different authors. For a while, Power of Words was a micro publisher (as a sole proprietor, so with a dose of risk).

Traditional magazines need two things to happen:  good workers (staff/freelance writers) and high-paying advertisers (the money).

But online, you can build your own online publishing business. First, you have your books. Awesome! What a great start. Do they look like they are in a series? It’s something I wish I had done. Certainly, 10 years can be a long time and it’s easier to get every book cover planned designed as a template and write them later.

No Books Yet?

Even if you don’t have your own books yet, you can get started in the book publishing business and add other products to complement. Because you can actually joint venture with other writers to do an anthology.

Or, you could choose to be the publisher of other author’s books in a selected niche. One publisher I found collated books on marine life and shipwrecks and sold them through dive shops.

You could also choose to have a niche online magazine. It’s far too easy to start—it’s the continuing and optimising that’s the hard part.  This can be in WordPress, like ours, or as an Issu digital magazine.

It helps also to have a bit of money aside for sprucing up the design once you have website traffic.

What not to do!

Remember, you don’t spend $3,000 on web development in hopes of getting an audience. You can bootstrap and DIY your way to an audience, then spend some money on brand, helpers, and really great products. This way, you really find out through comments, social media mentions, and enquiries, what your audience wants to know. So turn the comments on!

With only books, your reader feedback will be inside reviews on Amazon and Goodreads that you can’t take off. You won’t be able to respond to many of them. And only a handful of people review books out of their own goodness.

On your own book website, blog or forum, you can respond straight away.

Micro Publisher Tips

There are other ways to make money in the online publishing business:

  • More products, e.g. magazines, designer journals, workbooks and unique products (take a look at Etsy for inspiration)
  • Referrals to awesome affiliate products – these can make a lot of money
  • Sponsored posts  (once you have traffic)

Mostly, you’ll need to intimately know your audience, and so it helps if you are just like them! Moms/mums relate to other mum bloggers, and lady entrepreneurs. There is even an inspiring book all about their successes.

They talk a lot about reaching their audience on the social platform where mostly they hang out, e.g. Pinterest, Instagram.

Here is a (James Schramko) case study of a man who went from just ebooks with affiliates to a recurring membership model, in the area of health.

Being a Whizz at Analysis

You need to understand the Analytics of your site, because it tells you what your visitors like. This means either installing a Google Analytics plugin or going into the full Google Analytics around once a month. 

What do you do when you know what visitors like?  You write more along those lines! Also notice what they type in to find you (the popular keywords).

Get their Email Address

Work on converting your online visitors to either subscribers to email or to buy something. Sometimes it’s better to do the slow burn and get the email address when you blog, rather than turn them off with a full-on advertisement.

It should be the most prominent thing, so a pop-up with a good, visual offer 10-30 seconds in works wonders. SumoMe or OptinMonster do the same things, offering mega numbers of opt-ins. Hello Bar is simple and also free. They all connect with email marketing systems and if not, Zapier usually does the adding of email to database once set up.

You can’t tempt people with boredom, so make sure your offers and your blog or membership site is alive with enthusiasm and free stuff.

online publishersSome Cool Tools for Online Publishers – free keyword research tool by Neil Patel – free research tool, perfect for finding questions for blog posts

MixPanel – user analytics, helps to optimise the lifetime value of customers (relevant for growing publishers)

Outbrain Publisher/Engage – helps to make money from your audience, with professional-level advertising for online publishers. (Far better than Adsense).

tools for book publishers
Photo by Lisa Fotios on

Some Cool Tools for Book Publishers

Adobe InDesign (from $28 pm) has a hidden extra at premium level for nil extra: Adobe Spark (make promo videos with their templates)

Kindlepreneur’s Kindle sales rank calculator – to determine the number of Amazon sales of particular books

Canva is one of Kindlepreneur’s Book Cover Design tricks – all you need to know for bestselling covers. Canva is also useful for Instagram and Pinterest posts, especially book quotes.


Other Helpful Posts at

We talk about book quality here:

Examine your ROI on publishing here:

Create an Author Website… without a Migraine

When you’ve already expended $4,000+ to edit, produce and promote your book, the realisation that you need an author website to promote it online might bring up these two questions:

1.  Do I create a book website or an author website?

2.  How do I get a good result without busting my bank account?

There are a few more things to consider as well, so let’s open this can of worms now.  You need to know how to upload new books, social share, and post articles and media mentions. Naturally the best option to do this is with WordPress, but there is another option below.

You’ll need to realise that free isn’t without cost, and the choice of a supported pro theme is a good idea. (This is because a free theme could leave you with a non-working website down the track).

A Long Term Approach to Author Branding

Another aspect is, rolling with the times. you brand will grow and change. If you set up a ‘book’ domain and website, unless you have some expert support, you may not have enough time to justify a one-book-one-website approach.

But… with your Author Website, just like Jennie Brown or Jennifer Lancaster, the site can be added to and morph over a decade or so, as you put out more books and courses for your growing number of fans. (And you are capturing your reader emails with a valued offer I trust?)

Option 1:  A Novice to Websites… on a Low Budget

For novices to website design, I would recommend the bare minimum of:

1. Buying your ‘name’ or ‘business name’ domain name. Get it at Webcentral if you’re an Australian; they’re affordable and have support. Most hosts also sell domain names.  

2. Use SquareSpace. We have more instructions for this on this setup your author website page.

Option 2: Future Proof your Web Presence

If however you want to continually add and share articles and run a business too, then host a branded website yourself. WordPress (.org) on your domain name is the best bet for this.

Many website hosts offer a 1-click install in their control panel, to set up WordPress initially with one simple form. Others offer installation for a small fee.

Then the Theme shopping begins. Like a complex design skin, the theme lets you customise to your desired menu, navigation styles, sidebars, header images, static page as a home page, blog widgets, etc.  About 5 hours later, your head is spinning! 

So let me recommend some options based on experience.


1)  WordPress theme Impreza — my own website,, is based on this highly adaptable theme. It has its own header builder and is mobile responsive. $89. See

2)  Or choose your own from those quality checked by Envato.  | Click Below | 

Is promotion hard for you?Try a marketing book that's practical and real

New Revision - covering major modern marketing strategies.

Get a $5 discount off this comprehensive book. 

Pay with Payhip to get:

  • Regular Shipping included
  • Paperback: AU $23.95
  • Support the author and not the big entities!

Themes are not the final solution. You have to customise a theme, and this can be hard. BUT, if you get stuck there are plenty of WordPress pros to help out with customisation. I recommend Sphenn Stansfield in NZ to help with your WordPress development (US$25 an hour), or Matt Cummings (Red Sky Media) to do the entire website design. Email to put through the recommendation. 

If DIYing, order some vibrant web banners containing your author photo and book cover, of the right size for your desired header image (usually wide). A .PNG file is a good option. Designers can blend several elements together, while sticking to your brand colours.

Is promotion hard for you?Try a marketing book that's practical and real

New Revision - covering major modern marketing strategies.

Get a $5 discount off this comprehensive book. 

Pay with Payhip to get:

  • Regular Shipping included
  • Paperback: AU $23.95
  • Support the author and not the big entities!


One book: just a focussed landing page with a giant book cover & order button & reviews will be good.

If you have multiple books, you might need a bookstore. The WordPress plugin choices I use and recommend are:

  1. Mooberry Books (see at JenniferLancaster)
  2. MyBookTable  (see at PowerofWords/bookstore)

They both work similarly; you just cut and paste your book information and buy links. As an author, you probably won’t need a Woocommerce or similar shop, unless you are selling other physical items. 

You can choose just to host one book sales page – with either of the Themes above.

Design Styles

What you must remember is… BIG.

You want your book/s to stand out big and bold, with solid endorsements or reviews as a clipped graphic underneath. With the book (hopefully in 3D), put a couple of hot selling points beside it. Don’t forget any ‘media mentions’; it all helps.

If you have reviews on Goodreads, then MyBookTable can feed those reviews into your page once the link is placed.

Hope for your Branded Author Website

Just like self-publishing books, creating a website is a 10-year plan, not a three-month push. When I think of my old website in 2004 and compare it to now, I laugh at my preconceptions that it was all about the design… and a graphic of a stack of books was a sales tool!  Expect your author website to morph with your changes, and tool it to receive more income from online sources.

I hope this post helps you create a website with more value and less trouble. If so, please share this post with your author friends.

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