Newsletter #5 / March, 2009
Is it still worth writing and publishing bound books? A decision you’ll have to face.
How are you going to sell your valuable information in a depressed economy to economically depressed buyers?
Selling bound books to libraries, bookstores (mostly through distributors), Web outlets like amazon.com, and even directly to your e-list or clients are all taking a nosedive—except those books that are pre-tested, then sold by direct mail to niche markets. (See Niche Publishing.)
The other place where bound books remain a means of choice (as do audio CDs) is as back-of-the-room sellers at seminars or speeches, where a roused audience wants to buy and carry home more good stuff from the presenter.
Digital download copies of bound books have always been, and remain, a weak secondary source of income.
(I’m researching the worth of e-books right now so let me expand on those in April…)
The discouraging selling news is no reason for not writing a book and seriously considering a bound print version, even in limited P.O.D. quantities. Your well researched and articulately expressed words and thoughts immutably etched between comely covers is still the best way to be considered a reliable, legitimate authority, perhaps even an expert. No other format (except possibly in-depth seminars) serves as well as the engine that pulls the other information cars of your empirical train (“cars” like articles, reports, white papers, audio CDs or DVDs, talks, speeches, classes, consulting…)
For most, a bound book will still remain the core of your empire. But more is needed today (except in niche publishing and on-site sales) to bring in the kind of sales income you want.
Stay tuned. This is what we will continue to address in coming issues.
Audio CDs and DVDs: How to create them easily and inexpensively.
Here’s something you need to do now--or at least know how to do when it’s time: CREATE YOUR OWN AUDIO CDs or DVDs. It’s a digital world, and without them you’re going to be losing too much income or too many would-be buyers will be going elsewhere to get what you don’t provide.
So I have written a step-by-step e-book (so you can open and use it in front of your computer and microphone) that will walk you through the entire process of both producing and selling your spoken words—or somebody else’s.
“How to Easily and Inexpensively Create Your Own Audio CDs and DVDs” is for non-techies like me who are being pulled into this powerful ancillary market. What do I like most? Audio CDs cost only one twentieth (1/20) that of producing a book, take less than one tenth (1/10) of the time, can earn 10 times (1000%) per unit more than the printed word, and can be making you good money while you are waiting for your book to see light!
You can do it yourself or let others bid to do it for you. Let me show you how…the details are here.
The process of switching e-list servers: So you never have to…
When I very reluctantly decided to change my business to join the 21st century, a key part of that was to share digitally with my clients and friends. Since it was far too slow to do that one at a time, it meant that I’d create an e-list through which I could share with all who opted into it. The medium would be a newsletter (voilá) and I would supplement it with a blog.
Since you are either ahead of me or will do roughly the same to reach your empire, you know that for an e-list you need a server which does that well. I chose Constant Contact, and it has indeed been a faithful servant, though its newsletter composition apparatus is not very nimble. I would have probably stayed there for many years had I not also been using 1 Shopping Cart (with PayPal) to handle my product sales. The main difference between the two right now is that 1SC has a solid auto responder system and a good affiliate component. (What are those? Auto responders are automatic emails sent to your subscribers or product buyers, like the one that welcomed you to this newsletter site or the thank you note you get from me after buying something. Affiliates are folks eager to sell your products; the system makes sure they receive the commissions they earn.) Doesn’t sound like much until your list gets large and you must do either by hand or pay to have them done.
I was also properly nagged by a friend and expert in web marketing that it only made sense to switch early in the e-list formation (which is now) because it would simply cost too much, mostly in lost subscriptions (of those who wouldn’t re-subscribe during the switch), if I did it much later.
So after the January edition we changed our newsletter site to 1SC and started directing new subscribers there. That left the issue of asking the CC subscribers to please re-subscribe to the 1SC site since if I did it for them the double opt-in system would still require them to respond to a confirmation email--all very confusing!
On February 18, I sent a CC email to everybody on that e-list (here’s a copy) that both asked them to help me make the switch and flat-out bribed them to do so with a free report (an interview transcription called “Niche Marketing for Writers.”) As of 3/1 about 40% have kindly re-subscribed, and I will add a note to this newsletter sent to those on the Constant Contact e-list with a final request. Some will be lost, and I’m sorry for that. To ease the transition, I’m sending this newsletter (March) from both servers, but this will be the last from Constant Contact.
Incidentally, if you’ve been receiving your newsletter from 1SC and haven’t received a copy of that free transcription report, let me send you a copy right away. Just email me and in the subject line say “G-B report” (no message needed, unless it’s to tell me you found my lost inheritance). Deadline? Let’s make it April Fool’s Day!
At least ten of you asked me to describe the process, so that’s why I’m taking so much of your time with it here. What did the switch require? A server to switch into, solid reasons for doing so, a good product (the report) to use as bait, the good will of lots of newsletter subscribers, and about 10 hours of labor so far (with about that much yet to use).
The lessons: think much bigger when you begin, figure out how you will distribute your products so the system can handle all of your needs whether your list is tiny or huge, ask colleagues who are doing what you want to do what is working for them (and how they would start out right now), and, if a change is going to be necessary, make it as early as possible both to save money and time and to reduce the inconvenience to others.
Want to see the first steps of empire building?
Later in this newsletter
you’ll see nine process steps of empire building. I am developing them more
fully in the blog,
and will continue to do so in March. To find the first two you may need to use “Search”
and enter “Making your life-changing list” and “On to Step Two” The last two are listed as Step Three and Step Four. Are the lists a bit
out of sync? Don’t despair; this is a work in progress. As the emperors say,
“All Roads Lead to
It’s all in the name: Why a new title to this newsletter?
This section may be boring. That’s why it’s last.
And there’s too much in-house stuff in this issue, except that it’s best to share thoughts as the processes happen. I promise to be less tedious in April.
This section is included because it’s something that each of us faces in empire building, so I think there’s a lot of value in providing a process model that you might benefit from when your titling (and description) time comes…
Last month I told you I was wrestling with five demons--particularly a different title to this newsletter. I needn’t convince you that it’s extremely important that the readers, present and future, know immediately from your newsletter title why they should want to read your words, even if those words are free!
The biggest objection from others wanting to help me succeed has been my use of the words “empire” and “empire building.” They expressed four doubts: (1) neither tells specifically who should read my newsletter, or why, (2) how many people are sitting around frothed about the possibility of being an emperor or empress of anything or anywhere, and what does that mean anyway?, (3) “empire” does nothing for my Google or search engine ranking since the only thing that comes up is the “Empire State Building,” and (4) who under about 150 years old would have the credentials or expertise to pull those four groups together and show them how to convert what they know into a money-making, life-changing empire?
Let me answer the last first. My bio will show enough experience and success to sufficiently understand the four fields. (Pardon the immodesty.) Combine that with my strength--process creation--and it’s turned out to be a niche I have mastered.
The first objection has more immediacy. It asks, who would most benefit from what I know? Writers, speakers, publishers, and product developers. What might all four share in common? At least the desire to earn more money and be considered top experts in what they know best.
And what is the biggest prize any or all of those four groups could receive if we could all get on the same informational and operational wave length? They’d have the needed tools and understand how to use the most useful means to create their own highly profitable empire. (Oops, there’s that word again!)
I should be worried, I suppose, about (3) since readers of newsletters check search engine rankings, at least enough to see if I am on the first page of a zillion pages of listings. And that’s where (2) comes in: who, sane, would type in the words “empire building” to look to see what’s available?
So I have reworded and reworked the newsletter title to do what I have preached for 20 years: put the beneficiaries first. I think this is the order they rank numerically in interest in my topic--and to at least move the word “empire” to the end of a line so it is more understandable.
The beneficiaries are in the first line, in black, Arial bold, 14 point.
Writers, speakers, publishers, and product developers:
And the two top benefits are in the key second line, in some color in Arial Black, 18 point. This tells those beneficiaries what I think I can help them do if they share my words.
Create Your Own Highly Profitable Empire!
They are the creators, “your own” goes directly to their personal interests, “highly profitable” is true and what they seek, and “empire” is a known term and it at least hints that, if it’s to be theirs, they must be top dog, which is almost as alluring to most as being “highly profitable.”
Then I must see if this title lends itself to a clear, easy-to-envision, appealing “elevator speech,” where you respond to anybody asking you what you do in three or four quick sentences, or before the elevator door opens and they flee--without asking for your card!
Here’s what I come up with:
What I talk about could make you truly independent and wealthy.
You know how lots of people know something special, or at least they could if they would just develop it fully?
Well, I show those people how to convert that special knowledge into an exciting, very profitable empire, usually through writing, speaking, publishing, or product development.
The benefits to them are wealth, freedom, fame, and respect, plus they become the sole emperor or empress of their knowledge or product. And we all get to use and profit from what they share.
Admittedly, that’s a bit wordy, and maybe too long to remember, but it’s the essence of what I do. I must practice it about 30 times and it will tighten up through repetition.
Again, the reason I’ve belabored the steps involved in simply changing my newsletter’s title is because you are going to have to work through the same anguish--and it’s a hundred times more important than simply moving a few words around. It defines how you are spending your life!
Enough already. But not quite, because being a process plodder who eats from that plate, I like to take the core of my empire and break it into operational steps at the same time that I am labeling and packaging it. By doing that, I create a vision that keeps me focused and that I can quickly share with others. So here is how I see the process. Others might use it to create their own empire:
* Find a need that others desperately want to meet—or could
* Create a solution to that need
* Identify your uniqueness in meeting that need
* Match that need to your passion
* Expand that solution and your uniqueness into a grander vision
* Design an appropriate business model
* Claim and create your empire
* Expand that empire’s depth and breadth
* Rule wisely, with intensity and benevolence
Incidentally, all this mental doodling usually pays off. I am offering a new four-hour seminar at the college extended ed level with my new title and with these steps as the outline of both the presentation and workbook. (That should earn $1000 or so per program, plus follow-up consulting and new back-of-the-room products to sell, like a new book, e-book, and/or audio CD. So it’s not just fussy word play! Could you do the same with your empire—create and offer a seminar from it--to earn some solid income and test your future product material on new, eager listeners?)
NEWSLETTER CHANGES: As most of you know, I switched e-mail servers (and just talked about the process). As suspected, it was a bit of a hassle and I’m sending this edition by both servers (so a few of you may get it twice). But that’s it. I thank all of you who kindly re-subscribed to get into a double opt-in structure that will streamline the service and make it quicker, safer, and more linkable for you and me. And the newsletter has a new title--again belabored too long above, unless you too are thinking of doing more net marketing, in which case I hope that what I’m sharing is both informative and instructive
of the past newsletter issues