Economic Insider

Insights from Publishing More than 2,000 Books: Brian Bies shares 4 key lessons every Modern Author needs today

Insights from Publishing More than 2,000 Books: Brian Bies shares 4 key lessons every Modern Author needs today
Photo Courtesy: Brian Bies (MANUSCRIPTS)

By: Factfullguys

“We launch authors, not books,” says Brian Bies. “And that’s really the main reason we’ve become the fastest-growing author community and publisher on the planet.”

Bies is one of the new faces in book publishing have helped build a two-time Inc. 5000 publisher Manuscripts. Their author community has produced some of the top-selling books over the past five years and produced numerous Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today bestsellers.

“The problem is that the publishing industry focuses on books,” Bies says with a laugh. “And nearly every modern author today knows that books are a terrible business model for us as authors. Selling a fifteen dollar product that nets the author a couple bucks isn’t a way to get rich or make a living.”

Bies joined award-winning Georgetown professor Eric Koester in 2017 to reimagine authorship through the lens of the author. This led to a staggering growth that placed Manuscripts in the top fifteen publishers in the world – all through their author-centric strategy.

“What we realized is that there’s this implicit wink-wink, nod-nod in books that tells authors, ‘you probably won’t make much from the book, but it’s good for your brand.’ Then 100% of the talk goes into the book. And the author is left holding the bag and all the work. It’s like authors work for their publisher, rather than the other way around. It’s broken.”

Bies and Koester reimagined their approach by centering on the author. “What we found was our authors were seeing 85-95% of their revenue, opportunities, and outcomes come from non-retail book sales. Yes, the book was important as a tool, but it wasn’t what drove success for the author, specifically monetarily.”

Bies offers four key insights for every modern author to consider, having himself coached and worked with over 2,000 authors since 2019, helping more than 300 of them win or be a finalist for a national book award.

Bundle a book with your services. According to Bies, they find that modern authors report earning 85-95% of their earnings from a book from things outside of retail book sales. Be sure you have a complementary coaching offering, a keynote talk or workshop tied to the book, or consulting services you sell. The more you integrate them into your book launch, the better.

Make Sure You Retain Ownership & Control. Modern authors tend to be coaches, speakers, consultants, executives, and thought leaders, but really this applies to anyone whether they are writing a nonfiction book or a novel, according to Bies. There are numerous opportunities a book can lead to, and retaining both ownership and control are critical. According to Bies, if you don’t own the book rights, you can’t donate copies to a school or bundle copies of the book with your training.

You’ll Need 200 Fans To Make Your Book Hit a Tipping Point. There are tons of marketing offers and services aimed at authors, but the reality is nearly all rely on a book that has some social proof and momentum. According to Bies, their research has found that until a book hits about 1,000 sales and 100 five star reviews on Amazon, its organic reach is near-zero. The idea of getting 200 fans – usually through people who pre-order or beta read the book – is key to reaching those natural tipping points. Most authors believe marketing begins when the book is published, but it’s really something that begins as soon as you know it will be published.

Find an Author Network or Community. If you want help with your book, the most sympathetic person is likely another author who has been through it. Bies suggests finding a writing community, a peer network of authors, or a publisher that has a community or cohort experience for their authors. There are favors you may need from reviews, podcast interviews, social media collaborations, and more that really are best when done with peer authors.


Published By: Aize Perez

Share this article


This article features branded content from a third party. Opinions in this article do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of Economic Insider.