“I’m Ready for My Close-Up, Oprah.”

When people contact us about ghostwriting their books, they’re usually thinking BIG!: a quarter-million dollar advance from a major New York publisher, a New York Times bestseller, a 20-city tour complete with multiple appearances on “Oprah” and all the other big shows.

Thinking big is great.

But sometimes it’s better to think small.

And by “better” we mean more profitable.

We first learned that small can be lucrative in a big way from a plastic surgeon who, back in the 1980s, had his book published by a very small publisher. His plan was to use the book to get himself on local radio shows – that’s it.

He didn’t care about being on the bestseller list or the big TV shows, he didn’t care about making any money directly from book sales or winning the Pulitzer Prize.

He just wanted to get on local radio so he could talk about the new plastic surgery techniques he described in his book – because doing so would drum up lucrative plastic surgery business. Which it did, without the help of national or local TV or radio shows. He didn’t earn a dime on the book, but the book made him a lot of money.

We once ghosted a book for an attorney who was intent on self-publishing.

He wanted nothing to do with the major publishers; had no dreams of million-dollar advances or 20-city media tours.

When we asked him why, he explained that he gave speeches to very large audiences, and he believed he could sell several thousand copies of his book at these speeches – for $20 apiece. He sold twenty thousand copies, he told us several months after his book was launched, clearing about $250,000.

That’s much more than he would have made had the book been published by a traditional publisher, and the only marketing he employed was the speeches he was already giving.

Most people think big when thinking book, but sometimes SMALL is the better way to go.

Big or small?

It depends on your goals, which are among the first things you should think about when you start to write your book. Better yet, think about them before you begin.