Gordon Burgett's Newsletter

for Writers, Speakers, Publishers, Consultants, Coaches, and Empire Builders

January 11, 2011

Huge price savings on Burgett products!

Almost every item I offer on my order form has been reduced, many by a lot, to start off 2011—and they will remain at that price from now on.  (One item went up $1 to round it off.)  Uncle Sam asked me to help him improve the American economy, so I’m doing my part!

Mostly, I am creating four categories in my Empire Builders Action Series: a $5 ebook series, a $10 ebook series, a $15 bound book series, and a variably-priced audio CD seminar series, plus several services (where the price is adjusted to the time spent). The biggest bargain: gone are the $39+ ebooks.

Why not take a look at the new order form? Remember, buying from this list is patriotic! Also, I plan to add a lot more items in the $5 and $10 levels, plus two new bound books soon.  

eBook sales hit new highs…

Or so USA Today informed us a couple of days ago on their front page. That’s good news. It means that all the folks who received an iPad, Kindle, Nook, or other digital reader now have something to read on their gift!

Also important, the e-book version of the top six sellers outsold the print versions, and of the top 50, 19 had higher e-book sales. But will it continue? And how does that affect the bookstores? And your marketing?

I see the two most important items in Bob Minzesheimer and Carol Memmott’s article being, for us, that (1) e-book sales account for about 9% of the market, and (2) “…more books are being sold, both print and digital, but the average hardcover costs $15.50, while the average e-book is $8.75. That means ‘ebooks are cannibalizing the print book market.’”

My take? Produce your book in both formats, always think niche if you are serious about big and steady returns, and if you are creating textbooks, digital is where to focus. Book bags full of all the texts and references used or needed at school will fit on one wee electronic gizmo, in your pocket.

Having said that, how about selling 1,000 books a day…or many more?

Read Joe Kornath’s great December 28 blog. (At the link find the 2010 archive; it’s the second down that year.)

I hear your objections: you don't do fiction and you’d be laughed away selling your wisdom at $2.99 a book. I don’t write fiction either (well, once, but you talk about a lonely book! Alas, my twin brother does, and well. A gene thief.) The trick, I suspect, is to find what works for you in Joe’s wisdom. $2 or so a book adds up fast when those invisible e-books fly out by the imaginary truckload.

How to get your magazine article accepted and printed 99% of the time…

The trick is to have the editor ask you to submit it—better yet, also to give you a length and a deadline. Then send it in on time, at length, ready to go.

That usually happens in one of three situations.

(1) You are the expert about a topic the editor wants, you have a current publishing string, and you cross the editor’s path—often at a gathering or in conversation—or you query, clearly defining what you want to share and perhaps why the readers might benefit.

(2) You have written for that editor before and (s)he wants more good stuff from you. (It helps if you query with one—sometimes several—topics that you are currently working on or are particularly interested in exploring.)

(3) You realize that something you are doing or know about particularly fits the editor’s needs. (It helps if you’ve been on those pages, or somebody’s printed pages, recently or often.)

An example of the third got me a “send it by x date x length” email two weeks ago—a 99% sale if I do my part. The target in this case is a key magazine for small publishers. The subject is how one of my top authors sells books to “book clubs” in our publishing field. (He has written four niche books for us and in his specialization he’s a “star” speaker and prize winner.) We feature the “book club” idea at our website, he mentions fun book club incidents in his talks, an interested  group orders books for its readers, and the author offers to talk to the group free (by phone or via a conference device) for up to an hour at one of their sessions. The results? At least the sale of the books used increases, but he is usually also invited to speak to their district (where scores or hundreds of books are usually sold) or to a conference (with a $2,000+ speaking fee, all his, plus, usually, again, more boxes of books ordered).

Why did that editor respond so positively (in a few days) to my one-page query? The topic is mouth-watering garlic butter for her monthly bread. It’s what almost all of her readers want to know about. And the query letter was clean, clear, and she had read my words before (on her pages). But the last was just a bonus. Even with nothing printed in any magazine before, that process has a 50% chance of getting a go-ahead. Then the next query is 80% likely, and the third, 99%.

Why not 100%? Because the damn editors die between yes and print. Or they get canned, and so does your almost foolproof prose.

If you are near Stanford, two seminars in February might interest you.

In early February I’ll be offering two four-hour seminars a few miles south of Stanford, on 270, at Foothill CC (exit at El Monte).

On Tuesday (2/8) from 6-10 I will discuss “Publish Your Own Book in Less Than 30 Days.“ The next night, (2/9), also from 6-10, the program is titled “How to Sell Your Articles and Books 75% of the Time.” Here are the details (plus info about seven more seminars in March, in Aptos, Santa Rosa, and Fairfield).

Easy income from selling others’ books by affiliation?

It can be easy income indeed, but you need a list of buyers who respond to your good suggestions!

You’re not limited to selling books, of course, although information items are particularly good to market this way if their price is low and their perceived value is high. All the better if they are digital, meaning instant delivery, no shipping, and no tax!

A quick example, then I’ll send you directly into the bowels of a commonly used affiliation structure (1 Shopping Cart) so you can see how it works.

By good fortune I have just such an affiliation structure through which we are presently selling lots of copies of my newest book, How to Get Your Book Published Free in Minutes and Marketed Worldwide in Days!

In this case, a person becomes my affiliate (free, in minutes), then tells their followers that they would (benefit from/enjoy/learn a ton) from buying “X” item, and provides a link for them to learn more. (You find those links at the affiliate’s website where all salable products are listed, with links.)

The link usually goes directly to a landing (sales) page, like this, where the person can learn more about and buy the product. They pay by credit card, and the book or item will either be immediately downloaded (if an e-book or something digital in form) or it will be shipped that day or the next.How much do affiliates earn? It varies, but in this example it’s 50% of the list price for a digital sale, 40% if it must be shipped. Your check (or deposit) usually arrives in a month or two. No inventory, no shipping, just a recommendation to folks who respond well to your recommendations!

How can you get into the bowels of the system? It starts by going through a provider, like me. You go to their entry page—here it’s www.gordonburgett.com/affiliates.htm. Then you sign up (see AFFILIATE NOW) and fill in the bold lines, and that will let you in. Poke around. To see the products, go to the quick link by your name, then look at “links and tools” at the top of the page. The selling link is the fourth item in each product, under “simply copy”… And the landing page is the second item, the URL. The “Welcome Letter” that you will get when you regist er explains all you really need to know.

I know that 90% of you don’t want to sell (probably even buy) my products, and when you are done it won’t offend me at all if you just cancel your affiliation. But in the meantime you’ll get a free look around inside the operations—and when you are ready to set up your own affiliations it will be a lot easier to understand.

And if you’re in the other 10%, go ahead and sell my stuff and I will gladly pay you on time, even if it’s a buck or two less in 2011 since I just lowered the prices.

In either case, if you have questions, just ask.

You want to be instantly in print with the leaders in your field?

You want to instantly establish and strengthen your reputation in the field where you want to empire build? Then publicly converse with your field’s top leaders in print.

I’m presuming you can ask questions, share answers, and write usable copy—if not, you can hire out the writing part.

It starts by identifying one key question that your audience wants answered. Let’s say you want to position yourself in the ink-on-paper printed booklet market and there is a new binding that looks like it could replace the old saddle-stitch (or stapling) process. Let’s call it zip binding.

Form the operating (or key) question: “When should you start zip binding your booklets?” Then expand it to “Five industry experts answer, ‘When should you start zip binding your booklets?’”

Now make a list of the specific printing or publishing magazines or newsletters that ink-on-paper bookletfolk read. Put them in order by where your name with the leaders will do you the most good, since it’s unlikely you will be paid for the prose!

Get the editor of the top publication’s name and address from the last issue, guesstimate the length of an average article on its pages (you may have to reduce it to “three industry experts” if the pieces are small), and send a well written one-page query letter that gently sells your idea, what zip binding is, why the readers would benefit from knowing about it, and (if you have credentials) why you should write the item. (If you are still building credentials, keep mum. The editor wants solid information, not you.) Then ask if the editor is interested, would they please suggest an ideal or maximum length, a delivery deadline, and any other guidance they can offer.

As for the experts, if indeed you know the field and topic, you might suggest that you plan to interview X, X, X, X, and X. But if the editor has other preferences or feels uncomfortable with any of your choices, you’d be grateful knowing that before you set to the task.

Will the experts let you interview them? I’ve had 1,700+ articles in print, with about three people interviewed for each, and as long as it was clear what I was asking, where the copy would be used, a ballpark date, and I kept it to a few questions and not much time, I can’t remember more than a dozen rejections. It should be obvious to those being interviewed why their thoughts in print would benefit them. That’s why they are experts!

You are a conduit, a scribe making solid, needed information available. Usually only your by-line will appear. But at the same time you are meeting (if only by phone or e-mail) those in the know. So you become a person in the know, and a valuable contact for the editor for future articles. And all that top-level contact (even if it’s only by association as the writer) can be invaluable as your empire starts growing.

Some day (soon) another soul will be asking you for an interview since you too are a top expert!

Best wishes,

Gordon Burgett



The archives of the past newsletter issues repose at www.gordonburgett.com/NLarchives.htm.

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Finally, my bio is at www.gordonburgett.com/gbbio3.htm.

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