View Full Version : non-profit professional becoming a profitable author

08-27-2007, 07:43 AM
Help! I'm looking for ideas from published non-fiction writers.

For nearly fifteen years I have worked in a non-proft setting helping students and parents. I am highly regarded in my field (so they tell me). Here's the problem: I am approaching several of my local and national colleagues about the launch of the book, tie-ins, co-marketing, etc. and a major possible partner said to me, "I don't know if we can do this anymore since you are a business now and you will make a profit from the book." (they are a nonprofit). I was temporarily speechless and I am not sure of the best tactics of how to address this.

The point of my book is to help more students make it to college with scholarships. I have devoted half of my (nonprofit) career to this cause. To the aforementioned person and others, I'm fearful that I will look like a shark if I start "selling" my knowledge, thus affecting my credibility. Most of the references and articles I've found do not address this issue. I can see how this might be viewed negatively by people in the education world. (Making money from their students and parents). On the other hand, I know of companies that charge students and parents for tests, tutoring, etc. Obviously my publisher and I knew there was a market or we wouldn't have signed.

The book is due out in summer 2008, so I have time to address this.

Has anyone else experienced this?

Any advice is appreciated.


P.S. I have solid marketing skills and used them to benefit education causes in the past. I don't need marketing advice but advice specific to crossing from the non-profit to for-profit world, as a writer. Tall order, I know, but I thought I'd give it a shot here. thanks

08-27-2007, 11:33 AM
Interesting dilemma.

At one level, you can't make them help you. But it does seem unfair.

Maybe you could point out (if it's true) that the book isn't profit-making as such; that it's only going to pay for your time in writing it. They get paid to do their jobs, don't they??

Other than that, try to stress the benefit it'll bring to its end user, that they'll save far more than the cost of the book in free scholarships.

If they say, "Yes, but you're making a profit on it", say that that doesn't negate the value of the book, that it's a win-win for both. Maybe remind them of what you've told us here, all that you HAVE donated already.

Good luck with it - it sounds like a terrific resource.

08-27-2007, 07:24 PM
What's wrong with looking like a shark? Either this is a book that will help thousands, or it isn't. If it is a book that will help thousands of kids, what do you care how you look to some? Help the kids, and make some money at the same time.

08-27-2007, 07:47 PM
Something about your post makes me think that perhaps you're not from the US?

I sense that in the US, this type of thing happens a lot. The cross-over job title is 'consultant', I think. I think that I would be surprised at how many 'consultants' there are out from numerous fields, without much experience.

Perhaps you might do a little bit of research into this. May give you a good framework/context from which to work.

08-27-2007, 08:34 PM
One way to look at it is that the money you make on the book is paying for the time you spent writing the book. People who work for non-profits still get paid, is that correct? I don't see a problem, but there are others here who might know more about that.

The people buying your book are looking to benefit financially as well.

So....what Tracy said!

08-28-2007, 07:34 AM
Thanks to all for your insights. I do live in the U.S. and yes, I am a consultant to nonprofit groups, in addition to writing this book. Each of you has great advice. I think a big part of the solution is in how I position myself to potential partner groups. With the recent student loan scandals people in my field are very sensitive and I just need to be careful about how I proceed.

To jamesaritchie - I DO care about how I look since credibility is key for me. However, who wouldn't want to plop down $20 and know everything I know about scholarships? I'm even thinking teleseminars, ezines, etc. but first I need to finish the darn book. 40,000 pages to go. So, I'm signing off now.

Thanks again!


website: scholarshipstreet dot com