Be Inspired

Thought Leaders are Now Passing on Book Deals for a More Profitable Alternative

By James Johnson
5 Min Read
VOD memberships are the new book deals

It feels like to become someone in your niche you need to publish a book.

You know…

Like you’d be more successful if your name featured the words New York Times bestselling author in front of them.

New York Times Bestselling Author

But here’s the thing…

Your work matters and you don’t need a book to prove it.

Books are not always the right choice for you, your audience, or your business. And the writing process can sometimes prevent you from having an even bigger impact on your audience.

Let me explain…

The Problem With Writing A Book

I want to preface this by saying books are incredible.

I’m a life-long bookworm and a professional writer. It’s my dream to one day walk into a bookshop and see my name on the shelves. I love books.

This love that puts me in a great position to tell you the truth…

Writing a book is a mammoth task!

The average non-fiction book is 50,000 words long. That’s 50,000 published words. It doesn’t include drafting, re-drafting, and editing; steps that can push the total to 150,000+.

Because the process is so creative, it can take years to create a submittable first draft. Then another 9 to 18 months to publish the book. There are no predictable timelines here.

Take Peter Crone, for example.

Peter Crone homepage

He’s a thought-leader in the self-development space. That’s the industry where you’re expected to write and publish a book. (Amazon has 90,000 results for self-help books!) But, Peter has never published one. Why?

Because carving out time to write a book around a full-time business and one-on-one clients can be pretty hard. As Peter’s Executive Director, Meg, told us:

“Peter has been writing a book – in his head at least – for ten years on and off. But books require an intense creative process that you can’t really put a time limit on. And since people have been asking to access more of Peter’s work for years, we started looking at other options to get people access to Peter’s work.”

Suggested read: Uscreen Spotlight: How Peter Crone Used VOD to Transform the Self-Help World

The task isn’t impossible. You and I both can reel off plenty of business owners who have made it work. Some with the assistance of ghostwriters, others off their own backs.


How many of their books were truly memorable? How many of them ended up being the annotated, dog-eared, post-it note filled books with broken spines we endlessly recommend?

Not as many as we’d like to think.

The impact of a book on your income and business can also be debated. Being a “bestseller” is no doubt excellent for your personal brand, but what about your bottom line?

Anne Lamott, a professional author, wrote in her book Bird by Bird:

“[When my book was published] I had secretly believed that trumpets would blare, major reviewers would proclaim that not since Moby Dick had an American novel so captured life in all of its dizzying complexity. And this is what I thought when my second book came out, and my third, and my fourth, and my fifth. And each time I was wrong.”

The average non-fiction book retails for between $13.50 and $17.00. About $1 of which goes back to the author! So, they won’t result in any significant new revenue for your business.

This means that books are great if:

  • You’ve always wanted to be a published author.
  • You can personally dedicate time and effort to writing.
  • You want to add weight to your personal brand.

But if you want to…

  • release a useful product quickly
  • have a big impact on your current audience
  • grow your business’s revenue

…then there is a far more effective solution. 

Enter, video on demand.

Why VOD Platforms Offer A Better Alternative

We’ve seen a real shift in the market.

Industry-leaders and content creators are writing fewer books and moving towards running a video-on-demand platform. Like this one from Magic Stream:

Magic Stream VOD homepage

The owners could have created a print guidebook on How To Be A Better Magician. But, instead, they created a resource with hundreds of follow-along video tutorials instead:

Magic Stream VOD catalog

And, it’s easy to see why industry leaders are leaning this way; video platforms offer quicker content delivery, with higher profit margins and fewer gatekeepers.

In fact:

We’ve had customers get a minimum viable product up and running in as little as a week, and build comprehensive membership site platforms as quickly as 7 months. 

Many of whom have gone on to earn 6 figure incomes in that time. (The average income is $5,737 a month.)

This is because video content creation is:

  • Time-friendly: you only need to be present at the time of recording.
  • Easy to delegate: you can share tasks like scripting and editing
  • Instantly publishable: there are fewer barriers to getting content online.

You can also provide more value to your customers by offering extras, such as worksheets, audio content, and even online membership areas.  

Uscreen Fitness Accelerator comment

(You could do this with books too, by adding URLs or QR that go to online community spaces, but let’s face it: when’s the last time you actually typed in a link mentioned in a book?)

Better still…

You can price a video on demand platform in a similar way to a book. Only you’ll earn more money long term. Subscription prices average around $10 to $12 a month recurring.

So, for the same information, you get a much higher customer lifetime value. That means there’s more money to invest back into your business.

You can also cultivate an online community to ensure they get the most from the product. You’re better able to guide them, offer support, and deliver results.

In fact, research shows

  • 55% of Millennials
  • 59% of Generation Z 

…prefer video learning to printed books. This also ties into the effects of COVID-19, where we saw a 22% increase in people using video-based eLearning platforms.

So, there’s a large potential audience just waiting to get stuck into content like yours!

Next Steps: What We Recommend You Do Now

If you’ve reached the stage where you feel a book is the next logical step to level-up your business or brand, then we’d recommend you pause and take a step back.

Ask yourself:

  • Do I have the capacity to write the best possible book?
  • Is a book the right medium for me to deliver content to my audience?
  • Is a book the optimal way for my audience to learn?

If you answered “no” to any of the questions above, then we suggest you take a look at launching your own video on demand platform instead.

You can learn more about how to do that in our comprehensive guide right here.

How to Sell Videos Online and
Make Over $5k a Month (For Real)

How to sell videos online