Gordon Burgett’s Newsletter
for Writers, Speakers, Publishers, and Empire Builders
August 3, 2010
My Ancillary Publishing Book Service is open!
Do you need your book published right now to…
► get your speeches or workshops booked?
► add product to your back-of-the-room sales table?
► create a quick core for your empire?
► be a family landmark (and Christmas gift)?
► submit simultaneously in print to many big-house book editors?
If you’re thinking of quickly publishing your book through the fast and free ancillary publishers—Lulu, CreateSpace, Blurb, LightningSource (LSI), Scribd, and Smashwords (for Kindle and iPad),—I’m now offering a more tightly tailored and less expensive kind of book service. See the new details here!
I will also offer my standard publishing Pathfinder program, which presumes you will either self-publish or you will directly approach major publishers.
Six recommendations for article writers who want to get rich and famous.
1. If you are brand new to article writing (starting usually in magazines, newspapers, or newsletters), delay steps 3-6 below until you get some composing wind in your sails, like a dozen pieces in print. You need to reap some paying by-lines so you get comfortable with the process. Don’t worry about the money at the outset. And don’t worry that your ship will sail before you get this preliminary work accomplished. You may not be ready to captain the ship yet.
2. Simply use the 75% selling process explained in my many “sell your writing” books in the library or for sale—there are lots of used copies around. The Travel Writer’s Guide is still in print and has been my biggest seller of all, but How to Sell 75% of Your Freelance Writing is the granddaddy and still as useful as it was then. (You can find a current version of the 75% book directed to school administrators—not a whit of difference—in my new ancillary publishing books at Lulu.com, CreateSpace.com, Kindle, Apple’s iPad (if it’s up yet), and scribd.com too—or just contact us.)
3. Here’s the process simplified. Get an idea. Ask who would pay to read about that idea. List those potential readers. Ask what publication(s) each of them would most likely read to find that article. List those publications in a priority order: do they pay on acceptance, how much, how often do they publish, what freelance percent do they use? Send a one-page query letter to the editor of the first publication in each prioritized list. Sell your idea on that page by explaining what will make your article exceptional (what the article will say), and show in your stellar writing why you are the person to write it. Include a stamped-self-addressed envelope (unless the editor accepts e-mail queries). If you get a rejection, write another query letter to the editor of the second publication, and so on. If you run out of publications, go to a different idea! If an editor says “go-ahead, let me see it,” study the publication, write your article, mail it—and, soon, cash the check.
4. But by the time you have a dozen printed pieces, start topic-spoking. That’s where you take an idea you want to write more fully about. Write down that core idea. Then do the pre-query research you did before so you know what you can deliver, but here, instead of an hour, invest 12-24 hours of no-nonsense research about your topic-spoking theme. Gather all the basic facts you can (put the source by each fact) and simultaneously create a list of potential articles you could write. Then go back and apply #3 to each article. If you earned $300 an article in #3, here you may well earn a cumulative $3,000 from all of the articles that come from that initial 12-24 hours of research. Each subsequent article is easier to write because you know more and have more interviews (or go-back interview sources).
5. What must selling articles (and books) contain? Facts, quotes, anecdotes, and maybe artwork (photos or charts, mostly). I needn’t explain facts, other than they must be true and verifiable (but no footnotes). Beginners must remember to get quotes, particularly from real experts. Promise the quotes, get a query go-ahead, then tell the person/people that you are writing an article for “X” and could you please interview them (probably by phone) for 15 minutes? Anecdotes add depth, if appropriate. Often they come from historical events or happenings—they too must be correct. Photos are most often needed for travel. If so, ask the editor after you get the go-ahead if they accept digital .jpgs and how they want them sent.
6. When you grasp the topic-spoking concept (many professionals live very comfortable lives on just a few topics they topic-spoke!), become an expert about something that makes your bells chime. Capture that core information and become “the” expert about it. Find an angle or slant and make it your own. Then topic-spoke it to test the field, see if your love for the subject will last, and where you can go with it. Here, though, you will sell your information by many idea dissemination ways: articles, books, reports, manuals, pamphlets, seminars, speeches, CDs, radio, and a dozen more. Find 20 closely-related sub-topics, spread out, master the field, flood the associations and trade journals, build a webpage and web dominance, create a newsletter and blogs… (The best idea of all: segue your core concept into meeting niche needs. Use my Niche Publishing process to remove the risk and expedite the earning. Become the emperor or empress of what you can’t wait to share or know more about. Empire build, and rule!)
Maybe I got carried away a bit, but that’s how you parlay a simple starting article into an empire. Ask any empire-builder you know if this process works. It works if you do.
I keep referring to the IBPA Independent…
Sometimes hiding in a niche (like small publishers) is a gem than seems to have the very answers you need just as those needs arise.
For us, there’s both the Independent Book Publishers Association (formerly Publishers Marketing Association) and its superb monthly newsletter, the Independent. I joined PMA (then) about 1982. It was the very best investment I could have made, particularly for its Direct Mail Marketing Programs (I’ve used the General Library Mailing for probably 15 books, the most recent to be distributed in mid-September.)
Among the Independent’s 14 July articles are (1) the last of a series of member responses about “Controlling (Book) Returns,” by editor Judith Appelbaum, (2) Donn LeVie Jr.’s “Niche Publisher Makes Triple Play,” focusing on three ways a 30-essay book from the top classical guitarists can lead to increased marketing; (3) a piece about how librarians pick books to buy, (4) another about choosing an order-fulfillment service, and (5) a thought-provoking item called “Our Platform Wars Problem,” by Joseph Esposito, showing the peril of having Amazon, Apple, and Google take over the eventual distribution and pricing of the book market (though I personally see niche publishing, at least for now, separate and surviving and thriving because of the re-testing and empire-building potential I explain in Niche Publishing).
My advice: check out IBPA if you are publishing—and read the articles that will help you put your ideas profitably and quickly in print.
A sample radio show fact sheet/script—and show confirmation
I received a surprising number of comments and questions related to the radio shows I am doing right now about How to Get Your Book Published Free in Minutes and Marketed Worldwide in Days. Several wanted to know if I had a cheat sheet, fact sheet, or script I kept near the phone when I did the interviews.
Here is my APradioscript.
I used a see-through yellow marker under the key words, and in the left margin
I wrote the category or topic (a word or two) in red ink. So if I got the key
word of the interviewer’s question, I could let my eye fall on that category. I
simply spread the six pages out in front of me. Do I really use it? Not much,
frankly. But it’s great to have for that 5:30 a.m. drive-time in
Oh yes, here’s the show confirmation e-mail I send the day before in case my phone number is misplaced or I am forgotten! Notice that I ask the host (or producer) to have the key buy numbers and info left at the reception phone too.
If by chance you’re north of San Francisco on August 8 or 19…
keynoting for the Redwood Writers, in
The next week, in Petaulma, on Aug. 19, 7-9 p.m., I will tell the Writers’ Forum “How to Pick the Right Publisher.”
If you’re in
P.O. Box 845