I’ve got a dilemma.
A few weeks ago, a publisher reached out to me and asked if I would like to write and publish a book with them! To be honest, I was quite taken back by the proposal.
- Was my story really exciting enough to write a book about?
- Would it sell so many copies that I wouldn’t have to work again?
- Would I become one of those famous writers that traveled the world giving speeches and receiving honors?
Publish a Book or Create an Online Course?
Okay, so clearly I was becoming delusional and my ego was running out of control… I needed to step back and take an honest look at what it would take, what the benefits might be (the realistic ones, not the made up dreams that circle my head once in a while), and if there were any better alternatives.
In this post, I’d like to lay out the pros and cons of each option, and then I want to get your take. Which option would most benefit this audience? And how will I be able to help the most people?
Please give me your advice at the end of this post in the comments section!
What I’d Like to Write About
I’ve given a few talks this year, and the topic centered around:
- Getting out of debt
- Saving money, and
- Growing wealthy
…which just so happens to the be the tagline for this entire website.
It’s what I’ve always based my writing on and it was completely natural (and exhilarating) to talk about.
This is exactly what I’d like to write about as well. The book (or online course) would walk through my journey through debt, through living on less, and about my journey to wealth. I’d use my personal experiences to motivate others and to help step them through their financial lives.
I think it would be an absolute hit, but now the question is “Should I publish a book or create an online course?” (or maybe use another medium that I’m not even thinking of?)
The Details Behind the Book
The publisher loves my idea and would like a first draft of the book within 3-6 months of signing the contract. From there, it will likely take another 4 months for them to edit, come up with a cover design, and iron out all the other details of publishing a book (whatever those are). All in all, this book will probably require 300 hours of my life (totally a ballpark estimate on my part) and it won’t be live for another year.
After some further questioning on my part, I discovered some other details as well:
- I’d earn between $1-$2 per book sold
- The book would only be sold as a paperback or as an eBook
- It would mainly be offered on Amazon and promoted through some other retail stores like Staples or Walmart.
- They would help some with the marketing of the book, but based on what I’ve heard from some other authors, a lot of it would be up to me.
- An incredibly good year for this publisher would equate to 1,000 copies of my book being sold – equating to $1,000-$2,000 a year on my end.
All the details as a whole don’t sound bad, but they certainly don’t sound out-of-sight amazing either. ~300 hours of my up-front time could equate to very few dollars. At most, it sounds like I’d be earning $10 an hour when it’s all said and done (figuring two years of decent sales…and then dropping off from there as it got older and less relevant).
BUT, there is one more great positive to writing a book. I believe that it could really help my speaking career (which I’m really loving lately). In my mind, companies and organizations think much more of a public speaker that it an acclaimed author than someone that occasionally writes posts on a small-time blog. Is it true? I’m not 100% sure, but there’s a huge side of me that says, “Just write the book, because it will pay dividends for your financial coaching career down the road.”
The Potential of the Online Course
Just to put it out there, I know absolutely nothing about setting up an online course. I’d still be putting in the 300 hours to write everything plus I’d have to learn how to set up an entirely new page with an online course layout. So basically, instead of the 300 dedicated hours, it’d probably be more like 400, and again, there’s no guarantee that I’d earn anything.
So what makes me consider an online course for my “Get out of debt” story?
- People like the interactive courses vs. the stale words in a book
- It’s an easier sell and they get immediate access to the courses
- I’d have full control over what I charge and instead of earning $1-$2, I’d pocket the full amount
So instead of selling 1,000 paperback books with the help of a publisher at a $1,500 profit, maybe I could sell 400 online course guides for $30 each, netting me $12,000.
It’s a higher risk, but a potentially greater reward.
Summing It Up
Alright, so either I go with the book and get the:
- potential for more speaking gigs
- an increased confidence of self (ie. an ego builder…)
- $1,500 profit
Or, I can try my hand at an online course and reap the:
- higher income potential ($12,000+/year)
- and the potentially greater reach long-term
…but, I lose the prestige factor and I’d really have to step up my marketing game (errr…develop one altogether).
Dang this decision is tough! This is why I need your help!
Should I publish a book or create an online course??
Have you ever written a book or started an online course? What are true pros and cons of each? Which one would you go with??
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.