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Can a profit share model work for books?

We have a great team, especially with a wonderful ghost-writer. We want to offer people who want to get their story told in a book the opportunity to get that dream or need fulfilled. In addition, we believe that a book tells one or more life stories can be seen as a legacy item for family, employees, heirs, etc. By getting permission to use the stories and lessons learned in collections and digital form a motivational and inspirational form of storytelling emerges.
So far we have tried to get affluent individuals to hire us for our service. Now we wonder if it would be better to have some form of profit sharing approach where we collect a modest fee to pay our team and then share any profits generated from the completed products with the people whose stories we collect and turn into books and other media.
Can a profit sharing approach for books and inspiration stories work? We think it can but wonder what the community here thinks about it?

2 Replies

Stephen Cataldo
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Stephen Cataldo Advisor
Drupal | Startups | Green Conferences | Carpooling | Strategic Planning During Conflict
This sounds like you've circled back in the direction of traditional vanity publishing?

Do you imagine the entire market is friends and relatives? What isn't working with your current approach that you hope to solve with profit sharing? Unless you expect these books to be profitable sellers, and profit to be a motivator ... my first intuition is that if I wanted my Grandmother's story told, first paying a fee and then trying to get half that fee back when people like my uncle buy a copy... that doesn't make sense to me, maybe it does to other people. What problem are you hoping to solve with this sales approach? Are you hoping to motivate customers to get more involved in pushing sales once the books are published, lower up-front payments?

I wonder if a kick-start or pre-sales model might help if these are the issues you want to solve -- I'd pre-order a book about/by my Grandmother. It would let your clients tell their family about the book before they put money down, which would then mean some relative would get excited, and after that you'd have momentum.
Axel Meierhoefer
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Founder of MaxMomentum Institute - we help small & medium sized companies 2x leads & conversions using our unique system
Hi Stephen
The issue is that those individuals we have approached so far are very interested in getting a legacy book created. When they hear about the time it takes to conduct the interviews and then create the book they realize that our authors spend a lot of time. That also is reflected in the cost it takes to create the books.
By getting permission to sue the stories told in the books in other ways and create collections, etc. we would hope to generate alternate streams of revenues form which we could share some profits and lower the costs of the books.
The issue with these kinds of books is that they are for family and friends or the employees of a company, not for mass market (in their original form)
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