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General Questions

Book ROI Questions

Book Publishing Questions

Book Marketing Questions


General Questions

What if I'm not sure I have enough to say for a book?

That's precisely why you should talk to us--we'll help you make sure your idea is good enough for a book.

Our process does not work unless you actually have a book’s worth of ideas in your head. We don't add any content to your book; we only get your book out of your head. So the very first step in our process--before we start--is ensuring that you do, in fact, have a book in you.

Not everyone has a book in them, and we're happy to tell you that. We only want to work with people who have a good book idea that will be interesting to readers and bring them a clear ROI.

The reality we’ve found is that most professionals actually have more than one book in them. Someone who has spent a lot of time gaining deep expertise in a field typically has a lot of knowledge that would be more interesting to people than they realize. For most people we deal with, the question is not whether they have a book in them, it's how many, and which one should they do first.

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What if I have more than one book in me?

We've found this to be true with many professionals; they have multiple books in them, and aren't sure how to divide them or where to start. We're are perfectly set up to help you figure out which book you should do first, and why.

We begin by helping you understand exactly why you're writing a book, what results you want this investment to get you, which of your book ideas will do the best for you, and then how to proceed.

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What if I'm not sure what I want my book to be about? Should I figure that out first?

No. You should call us, because this is exactly what we do--help you figure out if you have a book in you, and what exactly the topic should be.

And of course, we will do that BEFORE you decide to work with us (and pay us).

Our Book Developers have usually spent decades in publishing, and are experts at helping you understand not only what the best book is in you, but how it can help you.

Probably the most valuable part of our process for most people is what we call "positioning." This is where we help you figure out exactly what your book is about. It works by running you through three questions:

1. What result must this book create in order to be a success for you?
2. What audience do you need to reach in order to get that result?
3. What do you have to say that's interesting and valuable to that audience?

The whole process is explained here.

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Am I the author of the book? Is it in my voice?

Yes, you're the sole author of your book, and yes, it is in your voice.

You are the only one contributing the ideas, the knowledge, and the content to the book. We add no content, so it would be inappropriate for us to take any authorial credit. The idea is what matters, not the scribe who copies it down.

Furthermore the writing itself is exclusively in your voice. That is part of what makes our process so different from ghostwriting. We are essentially a conduit to get your ideas into a book by properly structuring and organizing and recording them. But the ideas and content are 100% yours.

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What makes Book In A Box different from ghostwriting?

Simply put, ghostwriting means the book is not really your ideas or words. With Book In A Box, your book is entirely your ideas and your words.

Ghostwriters start with your concept for a book, and some of your ideas, but the words and tone and voice are theirs. In essence, ghostwriting means someone else writes a book, and then you pay them so you can put your name on it. It's not really your book.

With Book In A Box, your book is authored by you. The ideas and words and content are entirely yours, and are in your voice. We add no content, no words, no ideas. We put nothing in that did not come out of your mouth and your brain.

We like to say that we help you translate your ideas into a proper, professional book, but all meaningful parts of authorship are yours, so you are the sole author.

The two other main differences are these:

1. Ghostwriters only give you a manuscript, and do nothing else. We do full publishing and distribution.

2. A good ghostwriter is much more expensive than our process (usually 100k+ for a good one).

We're able to be much cheaper precisely because we don't add content, we just translate your ideas into book content.

If you don't know what you're talking about, then you need to hire a ghostwriter. That way the ghostwriter can do the research and write a book that makes sense, and you get to have your name on it.

Possibly the coolest part of our process is that you end up working with some of the very best editing and ghostwriting talent in the world--you just do it through our systematic and defined process.

Ghostwriters love working with us (and our authors), because with us, they are able to avoid most of the problems that freelancers have: finding good clients, negotiating terms of the deal, collecting payment, limiting the scope of the work, etc. Our systematic process is actually better for authors AND for freelancers, because it creates a clear set of expectations and deliverables, has a clearly defined work flow, and ensures there is a trusted third party--us--to monitor everything and make sure it works.  

This is why we have, on our roster of freelancers, Pulitzer Prize winners, Emmy Award winners, bestselling authors, bestselling ghostwriters, and all kinds of other extremely talented people. We create a three way relationship where everyone wins: the author gets a great book, the freelancer gets paid well for work they enjoy, and we make a profit by smoothly coordinating the whole exchange.  

We wrote a much longer piece on the differences, you can it read here (link coming soon!).

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How do you decide which authors you’ll work with?

To answer the implicit question that always lurks behind this: no, we do not just take anyone with money. We typically reject about 20% of applicants who want to work with us.

There are two criteria we use to decide which authors we’ll work with:

1. The first one is whether the author knows the subject matter of their book deeply enough. Our process works very well, but only if the author actually knows what they’re talking about.

We don’t add content. For our process to work, everything must come from the author’s mind, or from their research so they must know what they’re talking about. We’re not ghostwriters. We can’t make things up for you.

2. The second criterion is we need to ensure that there is a clear ROI for the author. This means there needs to be a reason for their wanting to write this book, and/or a path to a return on their investment.

We don’t want to work with people who are, for example, mortgaging their house to afford this because they think it’s their shot to sell a million books and become famous. Also, we don’t want to work with people who are just doing pure vanity projects, and there is not a clear audience for the book.

That’s why the first step in our process is a qualification process. If the result you’re hoping for is unrealistic or impossible, we don’t want to work with you, because it means there’s no way for us to win. Even if we do a great job and we nail the book, you might still be upset because you didn’t reach a goal that was impossible to begin with.

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Is there anyone who should not work with Book In A Box?

Yes, definitely. Here is a partial list of the types of people who are not good fits for our process: 

  • You Don’t Know Your Topic: If you don’t know what you’re talking about on your subject, and need to do more research. In essence, if you can’t teach your topic to someone else.
  • You Want To Type Everything Yourself: Part of the value of our process is saving you time from having to type so much. If you enjoy that typing, then you may not be a good fit for our process.
  • You Don’t Know Why You Want To Write A Book: If you have no idea at all why you want to write a book or what you will use the book for, then we are probably a bad fit. Our service requires a big investment, so you should have an idea of why you are investing that money.

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How do you select my Book Developer/Editor? Can I choose them?

We spend a lot of time understanding both you and your topic, and then we match you with someone in our freelancing team whom we think is a good fit. So, no, we do not let authors choose their own Developer or Editor.

We’ve found in the past that letting people pick editors leads to a lot of problems. The reality is most people don’t actually know how to evaluate and judge freelance writing talent very well. That’s our job.

The reason to work with us is because you trust us and our process. We thoroughly vet and test all our freelancers. In fact, it's much easier to get into Harvard (7% acceptance rate) than it is to work with us as a freelancer (3% acceptance rate). Not only that, but our Book Developers and Editors have spent at least a decade in writing and publishing, many are highly decorated. We have Pulitzer Prize winners, Emmy nominees and winners, and National Magazine Award winners all working with us. We spend a lot of time picking the right person, and every author is paired with people we believe are excellent fits.

The good news is that you are NOT stuck with anyone. If after working with someone, you feel uncomfortable or unwilling to move forward, we’re happy to find a replacement with whom you are comfortable, to ensure you get the best possible book.

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How long does the whole process take, start to finish?

If you work at our speed, we are comfortable promising a completely finished and published book within 5.5 to 6 months (sometimes a little shorter).

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Can I use my own writing?

Yes and no.

Many authors come to us having written quite a bit of material. Regardless of what they have written, we always start with every author from the beginning of the process and, at the very least, work through the positioning, structuring, and outlining stages.

After the outline is done, then we can assess whether any of your existing writing fits into the book outline. If it does, great, then we will happily slide it in.

Why do we do it this way?

We've found that starting fresh enables the author to really prioritize exactly what they want from this book, what audience they need to hit, and what they have to say that the audience will find relevant (this is the positioning).

Once that's clear, it usually turns out that most of what they have written is not directly on point for the end book they want, and we don’t want pre-existing material to bias the book decisions or in any way lead decisions astray.

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What if I don’t like my book?

It’s actually fairly common for authors to be a little unhappy with their first draft. That’s common in all writing, regardless of whether an author uses Book In A Box or not.

For more than 90% of authors we've worked with, once we've done the first round of revisions, they're very happy.

The question is, what if after all the edits and changes, you don’t like your book?

Since we don’t create or provide the content (that comes from you), we can’t 100% guarantee your happiness. BUT, we will do everything we can on our end to ensure that you get the book you want.

If that means assigning multiple editors to work on it, we'll do it.

If it means multiple editing passes, then we’ll do that.

Our goal is to get the best book possible out of you. Anything reasonable, we will do.

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Who designs the book covers? Do I get to give feedback on that?

Your book cover and layout will be designed by the very best designers in the world.

We do not say this lightly. The book cover designers we work with have done book covers for Ariana Huffington, Daymond John, and Chelsea Handler, as have the layout designers. You are getting the very best, because having a great book cover is a key to establishing your book as credible and professional.

Of course you will give feedback on your book cover. Before we start the process, we'll have a long conversation with you to understand your vision for the cover (if any), what colors you like, and what other brands or book covers you want your cover to look like or emulate. We organize all this into a design brief and give to the designer, and from that they will create your comps, which you will review and give notes on.

Like all parts of this process, you have full, 100% approval for the cover.

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How long will my book be?

Book length is entirely dependent on the author and their book topic. We don't have a fixed length, but generally find that most authors end up around 150 pages.

We've got a lot of data on this, and for non-fiction books this is the optimal length--both for readers and for authors. It is not an intimidating length, so readers are more likely to buy and actually read the book, and it's about the right length for most authors, where they are saying substantive things, but not repeating themselves or padding the pages.

We are big believers in books being only as long as they have to in order to make their point, and no longer.

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Book ROI Questions

How many books do I need to sell to make my money back?

That depends on how you intend to make your money back. In short, the BEST way to make money on a book is to look at it as an investment that leads to other profitable opportunities.

For example, if you’re a consultant or a coach, and a client is worth $50,000 to you, then one client actually doubles your investment in your book. If you own a business and you sell a product that’s $100 a piece, then you need to sell at least 250 products from your book to make your money back.

None of this considers your possible tax savings. If the book is used to promote your business, then it is likely that the full cost is tax deductible. This substantially lowers the full investment cost.

The one thing we do NOT recommend doing is calculating how many books you must sell to make your money back. This is because book sales is a poor measure for ROI. Professionals see books as general marketing tools, not profit centers themselves. Only novelists and fiction writer need to focus primarily on book sales, because that's the only way they make money.

We've written an entire guide to how to monetize a book (link coming soon), and we recommend you read the whole thing.

We also did a guide to help you figure out whether a book makes financial sense for you (link coming soon). You can literally plug in the numbers and see if the ROI is there and makes sense for you to write a book.

Our most successful authors have made 5-100 times their investment back, with very few books sold. For example, Melissa Gonzalez used her book to generate millions of dollars of business, yet sold less than 1000 copies of her book.

You can read about other ways authors have monetized their books on our Case Study page.

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How can I make money with my book?

There are many ways to monetize a book. You can use a book to raise your visibility, develop your authority, generate leads for your business, bring you clients, get speaking gigs, sell products, launch businesses, and achieve many other objectives. A book is the best multi-purpose marketing tool there is.

We've written an entire guide to how to make money with a book (link coming soon), and we recommend you read the whole thing.

We also did a guide to help you figure out whether a book makes financial sense for you(link coming soon). You can literally plug in the numbers and see if the ROI is there and it makes sense for you to write a book.

Also, we have dozens of case studies about specific ways that our authors have used their books to make money. They might help you see how you can use a book in your business.

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How successful are the books you’ve done so far?

Here is a list of all the books we've published to date, and most have been very successful.

Some results that our authors have gotten from their books: multiple bestsellers, countless media coverage, dozens of high-dollar consulting deals, NY Times profiles, celebrity endorsements...the list goes on and on.

Read about all the ways our authors have succeeded here.

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Book Publishing Questions

Who is the publisher?

In normal situations, the publisher of the book is Lioncrest Publishing. This is a wholly owned subsidiary of Book In A Box, and it has published multiple #1 New York Times best sellers from prominent authors (including James Altucher, Tucker Max and Kamal Ravikant).

That being said, you don’t have to use Lioncrest Publishing. Because the way our structure works, we can essentially create a new publishing company for you with any name you like. It’s completely up to you who the named publisher of the book is.

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Is Book In A Box self-publishing?

Sort of, but not really, at least not in the sense that you're probably thinking of it. Again, this is a long explanation because the book publishing business is so weird.

When people ask, "Is this self-publishing?" what they tend to mean is, "Is this an obviously amateur book that you did without any help?" To that, the answer is obviously no. You're hiring us for that exact reason--to ensure that your book not only gets done, but is done professionally.
The real question being implied is, "is your book professional or not?" There are many routes to writing a professional book, and we are one of many. Furthermore, your book is published by an established publishing company, Lioncrest Publishing. So the answer is, "No, it's not self-publishing."

That being said, sometimes the implied question is a little different. It used to be, before self-publishing as we understand it currently existed, that there was only traditional publishing and what were called "vanity presses." It used to be that having a "traditionally published" book--which meant a New York publisher gave you an advance--was a signal that you were serious and credible, whereas being published in any other way (by a vanity press) was a signal that you weren't credible.

This is just no longer the case. In 2016 and beyond, most books are published outside of the traditional publishing system. Vanity presses have for the most part disappeared, and they have been replaced with a number of what are called hybrid publishing companies. These vary widely in the quality of books they produce.

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What is the difference between traditional publishing and Book In A Box?

Big difference.

"Traditional publishing" refers to the New York publishing houses that use a royalty based book model. If they decide to sign you to a book contract (which is very rare), they pay you an advance, and they own all the rights and royalties to your book. They do the work of publishing and distributing your book, but that's it. They do little to no marketing, and they provide no help or support for writing your book.

They used to be highly prestigious, but now they mainly exist as ways to make money off the platforms that other people built by monetizing the audiences.

Book In A Box is an entirely different approach to books - almost the complete opposite from traditional publishing.

The first difference is we are a services model. You pay us for services, and you own ALL the rights and royalties from your book.

Furthermore, we do everything that a traditional publisher does, and a bunch more. We not only support you in writing your book, we actually invented an entirely new process to turn your ideas into a book through conversational interviewing. We also do a lot of marketing, and can even provide full platform support if necessary.

We've written a long piece about how to decide whether or not to use a traditional publisher. It boils down to the fact that there are only a limited spectrum of people for whom traditional publishing still makes sense, and for everyone else, they should use some form of professional self-publishing (like us).

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Can you get my books into a bookstore?

Yes and no. This is a complicated answer, because the publishing business is so weird.

Yes, we make your book available for order and sale in bookstores. All our books are put into the Ingram database, and can be ordered in every bookstore in the country.

No, we do not automatically put your book in bookstores. This is because bookstores carry very few books, and reserve their limited space for established authors or books from publishers who are paying for shelf space.

BUT--for certain authors, we can get your book placed in bookstores, but that is a much longer and more difficult process. We don't advertise this ability widely, because quite frankly, most authors can't ever get it, and we don't want people to work with us for this reason. Here's how it works:

Book In A Box owns Lioncrest Publishing, which has a full distribution deal with Simon & Schuster. That means that we can, in theory, get any book into any bookstore through Simon & Schuster’s distribution team.

But--there's always a catch--bookstores have to first want to carry a book, before we can use a distribution deal with Simon & Schuster to get the book into bookstores. You generally need to sell at least 25,000 copies before bookstores get interested in carrying the book.

That's the bad news. The good news is that being in bookstores doesn't really matter anymore.

A book sitting on a shelf doesn't sell in most cases. In terms of buyer-behavior, most people who shop at Barnes & Noble also shop on Amazon, so if they don't see a book at Barnes & Noble they'll just go on Amazon. In other words, lack of bookstore distribution in and of itself doesn't necessarily lose you very many sales.

The reality is, for almost all authors, being in a bookstore is purely about ego, and not about actual ROI. We don't deny that going into a bookstore and seeing your book on the shelf is nice, but having a book in a bookstore does almost nothing in terms of sales or awareness.

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I have a traditional publishing deal. Can I use BIAB to write the manuscript only?

Absolutely. We will work with you on a manuscript-only service, and are happy to help you with the traditional publishing deal.

We can also help you with your book proposal. We do NOT offer this service widely either, because it only makes sense for a very limited selection of authors (generally, those who have a huge platform and can get a traditional publisher to give them a $500k advance). If you fit into that category, we're happy to discuss this with you.

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Will I be able to order personal copies at a discounted price?

Yes, of course. In fact, you can buy copies at the print cost.

CreateSpace not only prints books for approximately $3 a copy when they’re ordered through Amazon, but they’ll sell the author these books at the same cost.

At any time after the book is published, you can order copies in any quantities you’d like at this discounted price, direct from the printer (we don’t make money on any copies). They usually take about 10 days to print and fulfill.

[Note: When books are ordered through Amazon, they cover the shipping cost, but if you’re ordering your own books, you’re responsible for shipping.]

If you are looking for a larger quantity of books (usually 1000 or more), we’ll set you up with a commercial offset printer based in Minnesota to handle your request. They can provide better prices at large quantities. They usually take about a month to print and fulfill.

If you want to do hardcover books, then we will handle the set-up with a commercial offset printer, and you will pay their price, which varies widely depending on the amount you order. We take no markup.

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Book Marketing Questions

What marketing comes with the Book In A Box package?

Two things come with the standard Book In A Box package:

Amazon Promotion: The first thing we do is what we call the Amazon Bestseller Program. We promote your book to email lists and groups that are interested in your book topic, and pair that with both a free and a 99-cent promotion. 

Case Study/Profile: We also do a case study and sometimes even a media feature profile of the author of the book, 3 to 6 months after the book is out. We cannot promise a mainstream media placement, but at the very minimum we do a story (a case study) that is published somewhere besides our site.

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What other marketing can you do?

A lot of authors want more marketing than this. We don't offer anything beyond this as a company. That being said, if you need more marketing help, we can do one of two things:

1. Refer you to people who specialize in whatever specific type of marketing you need and in many cases coordinate your relationship with them. We have great relationships with the very best people in all areas of marketing, and will introduce you to the people you should be working with.

2. We can also discuss our beta program, Platform In A Box, that is a comprehensive system to build and promote a media and content platform for you.

The reason we don't offer a more comprehensive marketing package is because there's no such thing as book marketing. Sounds weird right?

Here's why:

The marketing needs of each book vary depending on the goals of the author. If one author wants leads, she or he will do something different than the author who wants media attention, so it's impossible for us to offer a scalable, comprehensive solution that meets the needs of all authors. We'd rather not try to force every author into a one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, we help people find the best solution for them and their needs.

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Can you get me on a bestseller list? How does that work?

Yes, in fact that is part of the included marketing campaign. The first thing we do is what we call the Amazon Bestseller Program. We promote your book to email lists and groups that are interested in your book topic, and pair that with both a free and a 99-cent promotion. 

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How do royalties work?

You own 100% of the royalties for your book.

Although Book In A Box doesn’t take any share of the book’s profits, there are some costs that don’t go directly in your pocket - namely, Amazon’s fees and printing costs.

For e-books, Amazon takes 30% of royalties and you take the other 70%. So, if you price the book at $9.99, you’ll end up pocketing $6.99 per copy that’s sold.

KDP (Amazon’s Kindle publishing arm) pays out royalties for each month 60 days after the last day of the month. If you sell 1000 e-books at $9.99 in May, you’ll receive a $6,990 check from Amazon on July 31st.

For paperbacks, Amazon takes 40% of royalties, the printer takes approximately $3 to print the book, and you take the rest. So, if you price the book at $19.99, Amazon takes $7.99, the printer takes $3, and you’re left with the remaining $9.

CreateSpace (Amazon’s print-on-demand publishing arm) pays out royalties for each month 30 days after the last day of the month. If you sell 1000 paperback books at $19.99 in May, you’ll receive a $9,000 check on June 30th.

Hardcover books work differently because of how the printing and shipping work, and that can vary depending on the author. If you do hardcover, we’ll explain it all before you make any decisions.

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Why don't you take royalties? Doesn't that align our incentives?

No, it actually does the opposite. The best strategy to get a great book--both for you and for us--is to use the service-based model, where we are paid a fee, and you own all rights and all royalties. This ensures you get the best book for you, and that we do the best job possible.

We wrote a whole article about this, but in short, a service-based model (as opposed to a royalty-based model) works better because it ensures that we create a book that serves your goals (such as getting speaking gigs or finding clients or creating influence), not a book that is only about selling copies.

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Can you work in other languages?

No, not right now.

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Do you do fiction?

No, we do non-fiction only, at least right now. We are trying to develop a fiction service, but we can't promise it'll ever work.

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I can't afford your services, but I still want to write my book. Is there any other way for us to work together?

Yes! Check out the Book in a Box Method: The New Way to Quickly and Easily Write Your Book.

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Do you have any other questions? If so, we'd love to hear from you: