How to turn your nonfiction book into a profitable online course

A few years ago I started publishing nonfiction ebooks to boost my business. I still recommend ebooks as a simple and easy way to generate leads, get more traffic, dominate your industry and establish yourself as an expert. It’s relatively easy to get your Amazon page to rank well in Google.

The problem is that it’s hard to earn good money from non-fiction books, unless you have twenty or thirty of them, or unless you already have a big platform and can sell a few thousands copies on launch day. If you aren’t actively promoting your book, and you don’t do a massive launch campaign, it’s likely that after several months your book isn’t making much money.

You could just keep writing non-fiction books, but you can also just repurpose the same content and turn it into an online course. And it’s actually pretty easy. People are willing to pay more for videos that break down the process of the things you’re talking about in the book.

It’s also an easy upsell (from the back of the non-fiction book, I would offer a free extra bonus, 5 day challenge, or free cheatsheet/guide, to get them to sign up, and then start putting them in a sales funnel for the course). But you can also say something like “buy my book for $2.99 and I’ll give you the course for free,” to drive lots of sales when you launch your book; or you can say “If you buy and review my book for $2.99, I’ll give you $200 off my course.”

Having an online course gives you lots of ways to boost your income using the same content.

So the process of making an online course looks like this.

1 – Outline

Start by just taking your book’s outline and preparing your videos. You might not need to do much work here if you’ve already written the book (if you haven’t written the book yet, you can think about structuring your book as a course so you can use the same structure.)

Courses will usually be results-driven, so you may need to focus more on exactly how to do each step in the process to see the results you’re helping people achieve.

Your course should also differ from your book enough to justify the price hike (a book can be $2.99, but a course could be $299). You can offer a handful of special bonuses, interview with experts in your field, personalized services, checklists or extra content like templates or formulas.

2 – Record

You could make powerpoint presentations for each section or chapter, then screen record while you talk your way through them. Or you can record your screen while you’re doing things, if you need to show them how to use a software or set something up online; or you can do “talking head” videos where it’s just you talking to the camera. This is good if you’re explaining something that isn’t overly technical. I recommend a mix of all three.

I use Snagit to record my screen, and usually YouCam to record my web camera. I use a logitech usb camera and a Samson travel mic (not extremely high tech or expensive). Try to record yourself against a plain background; make sure your room sounds OK (you can hang up blankets or towels to dampen the sound). If I have to, I do editing with Camtasia, but I don’t always – it depends how clean you want your course to be, and how much you’re going to charge from it. You could also hire someone to do some editing for you.

But mostly, keep things simple for your first course.

*I would usually put the powerpoint presentations on SlideShare, and most of the videos on YouTube. It’ll bring in more long-term traffic; you can also turn each segment of the course into a blog post – you want lots of micro-pieces of content with specific keywords, in lots of different places… all pointing back to your main site, course or offer. 

3 – Engage

It’s important to make sure students are getting value out of your course, so I recommend:
A) Setting up an email autoresponder system to check in and prompt them to do the exercises, and also set clear goals and activities.

B) Set up a Facebook group so they can post their results or projects and get feedback.

C) Organize group projects and encourage everyone to participate and comment/suggest help. Make it a group effort to take all the burden off yourself and make it more fun.

D) Offer some bonuses (possibly at a higher price point) such as a personal phone call, video review or review of their website (something personalized).

4 – Results

Encourage your students to get results by taking action, and then sharing their wins so you can celebrate with them – you want to keep them energized and give them small wins so they can see that your course is helping them and that they’re making projects.

5 – Launch

I just wrote a big post on how I launched my first course and made 18k in 48hours; I have a lot of tips on how to launch and promote an online course once you’re done with it.

I’m also turning that into a new online course on doing a 5 figure course launch.

I also have a special deal for you: Teachable, the course platform system I use, is have a Free Course-Building Summit (which you should check out, a lot of my mentors are giving free presentations and you’ll learn a ton). And then they’re offering a Teachable Black Friday Deal.

I get a small commission if you sign up to Teachable using my links, so IF you are ready to build your online course, and you want to get my help building and launching it, you can sign up to Teachable with my link (HERE) and get my online course for free. (Let me know if you sign up with Teachable, I should be able to check and confirm from my end and I’ll give you access to the course).

This is the first time I’m trying something like this, so I’m only looking for 20 people who are ready to start working on their online courses. My course isn’t finished yet, but I’ll build it quickly once some people sign up – and the first batch of students through my course will get some extra help and feedback (later I’ll just put the course in my funnel somewhere but students will have less interaction from me).


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