Your Story is Important

September 1st, 2013 by Bob Burnham

A few weeks ago I read an article by Ty Montague in the Harvard Business Review titled “If You Want to Raise Prices, Tell a Better Story.” In it, he explained that having provenance gives everyday items cachet, which makes people want to buy them. Back in 2006 a New York Times columnist set out to discover what makes one piece or art or pair of shoes or household object more valuable than another. He took a random sample of thrift shop items (all less than $1.00) and asked storytellers to include one object in a story. Then he placed the merchandise on eBay replete with story and watched in astonishment as the value of each object rose spectacularly 2,700%.

How does this concept of value work? Well, back in the 1920s, Alberto Alessi’s grandfather took simple household items such as tea and coffeepots, creamers and sugar bowls and made them iconic. He gave the tradition of gabbing informally over coffee a twist. These coffee sets were modern takes on ancient forms, they oozed style, and were engraved with the company’s distinctive mark. That mark told the story of the Alessi family. These items were made available to middle-class people, allowing the to have modern style and sophistication drinking after-dinner coffee with friends. A slew of famous designers, most recently Michael Graves and Philippe Starck have designed tea kettles for Alessi, with Graves’s designs showing up everywhere from Target to the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

We can imagine the impact of the tea set story by asking these simple questions:

How would your grandmother or great-grandmother revere these items back in the 20s?

How would that story be embellished if the tea set had been a wedding gift to your grandmother? What if the gift were from her mother?

How would you cherish these items if they were handed down to you by your precious grandma and sat proudly in your own dining room?

And what if the exact design of your heirloom were in the Museum of Modern Art?

As you can see, this layer of stories makes these items even more precious. The same is true for your own story. The more intricate and astonishing the story you tell about yourself in your own book, the more people will want to read your book. Guy Kawasaki talks about having a relationship with your readers through trust and transparency, by over-delivering and being likeable. People want to follow distinctive or funny people on social media because of the cool factor. Think of someone you know who is just the coolest. Wouldn’t you be thrilled if they wanted to be your friend? Seth Godin even goes so far as saying that people may know all about you and what you have to offer but will still buy your book as a souvenir of the relationship they already have with you (because they think you’re cool).

Establishing that kind of bond with your clients, readers and followers takes mining your life for what makes you unique and not being afraid to share it, because your story can be just as important as the information you impart in your book. It’s about stepping up, branding and becoming known in your field, but also about being honest and authentic at the same time.

My next newsletter will give you tips on how to do that. 

While in Las Vegas for Lisa Sasevich’s Speak-To-Sell event crafting our signature talks, Lisa’s new book The Live Sassy Formula became a #1 best-seller in three categories in the US, three categories in Canada and one category in the UK. This makes Lisa and the 27 Sassies who co-wrote the book international #1 best-selling authors.

At the time of the event, one of the Sassy contributors, Sue Clement, had already gotten a client directly from the book.

Not only is it important to position yourself as a best-selling author, but that event made it evident that one of the most powerful ways you can push your book is to get out there speaking to live audiences.

The biggest tip I could give you from the weekend is to make sure your talk (and your book) is communicating the results or the transformation your readers or audience will receive from you. Instead of focusing on the problem, your book should focus on the solution, and be inbued with an uplifting, positive quality.

Who’s Your Mentor?

July 31st, 2012 by Bob Burnham

As you know if you’ve been reading this newsletter, there have been several Expert Author Publishing Amazon best-seller campaigns in the last several weeks that have been really successful, and we’re going to be doing a best-seller campaign for Lisa on the first day of her event. This is causing so much excitement on the Sassy campus, especially for the 27 Sassies whose real-life stories of how Lisa’s formula worked for them (including mine) are in the book.

I have an insider’s view, being a member Lisa’s Sales and Authenticity Mastermind Group, also known as the Sassy Mastermind. The special Sassy Forum we get to partake in is abuzz with excitement and anticipation for the unveiling of their mentor’s book.

Lisa Sasevich’s business went from $130,000 per year in 2008 to $4 million in 2011. She’s earned $10 million in the last 36 months using the exact same formula she outlines for you in this book.

For me, this all comes down to the importance of working with a good mentor, and we all need good mentors. Mentorship can shave years off your success, with insider’s tips and strategies that save you time, effort, aggravation and money. Isn’t it time you said “yes” to success?

My own business expanded exponentially when I became a Sassy, and the same thing can happen to you when you sign up for my own Expert Author Publishing Mastermind and discover how writing the right book as an expert and marketing it the smart way can transform your business.

Don’t Write The Wrong Book!

July 17th, 2012 by Bob Burnham

Coaches, Speakers, Entrepreneurs, Consultants, you don’t want to just write any book, you want to write a book that explains your methods, that’s totally congruent with your business and that will attract people you can serve in a deeper way. These people will want to take your information further.

Any book or memoir about what’s happened in your childhood cannot become your main focus, what you really need is a 3, 5 or 7-step system. Preferably you will want to give that system an acronym or something distinctive to really OWN IT. The idea is to make your book the only place where readers can get that information.

Whether it’s 3, 5 or 7 steps, your clients will not be able to get it anywhere else because it’s YOUR system. This means your competition becomes irrelevant.

Here are 5 tips to writing a successful book:

  1. Don’t give everything away. Give valuable steps, but be sure to save enough content-rich information for when readers pursue you, become clients and sign up for the products or programs that are an extension of your 3, 5 or 7 steps.
  2. You do want to showcase your personality, with your own personal stories of how you came up with this method because this helps your “know, like and trust factor.” It’s so valuable to resonate with your reader, but do not get too bogged down in your personal story.
  3. Strike the right tone. You don’t want to come off as lecturing. Although you’re the authority, strive more for “I’ve been there too and this is how I rose above it.” In other words, be “relate-able.”
  4. Include a call to action in your book. Have an offer or free gift to invite your readers to take it to the next step. Tell them how to get a free gift off your website, or how to have a session with you. It’s important to have a mechanism in place to get their email contact information.
  5. Before, during and after you write your book, always be cognizant of collecting testimonials. At one of the workshops I do regularly, someone will come up to one of my authors and say, “Oh I read your book, it helped me so much with [fill in the blank]. Thank you.” And the author will say, “You’re welcome.”

They just missed a perfect opportunity. The person is right there with love ready to give them a testimonial. So when you get a compliment, don’t be too shy to ask for the testimonial. 99.9% of people will say yes.

Remember too, that if that person has their own book or business, they are getting name recognition from their testimonial in your book, on your website and other marketing materials.

Follow these guidelines and you’ll be well on your way to making a business out of your book.

As an Amazon Best Selling Author, you will enjoy 5 immensely important benefits:

  1. Credibility and Exposure—Your book and your name are publicized, making it easier for readers to find you!
  2. #1 Best Seller Bragging Rights—You’ll be able to add the “#1 Amazon Best Seller” designation to later editions of your book.
  3. Professional Success and More Money—#1 Best Selling Authors tend to attract better, higher-paying and more seriously invested clients.
  4. Increased Speaking Gigs—You’ll have more opportunities to speak at lucrative and prestigious events because you gain entry as the author of a #1 Best Seller.
  5. Better Than A Book Party—An Amazon Best Seller campaign is a much better investment than having a book signing party. While the party is fun, if you were to apply the cost to a campaign, you’d gain speaking engagements and better clients who will invest in your book and the programs and products that come from your book.

We’ve got quite a success story to share with Marina Dufort’s book. Marina Mermaid, as she is known, had a bestseller campaign last week and here are the results for Aromatherapy Secrets for Wellness:

The book made #1 in the Aromatherapy category
#1 in Disorders and Diseases
#1 in Chronic Pain
#1 in Stress

On the day of the campaign, the book hit #3 in overall book sales for Amazon.ca (Amazon Canada) and #9 in overall book sales the following day.

Marina’s book surpassed even Steve Jobs’ biography and The Hunger Games!

Aromatherapy Secrets for Wellness also made the list of Movers and Shakers . . . Even the day following the launch, Marina took the #5 spot in Movers and Shakers and made the list of the biggest gainers in book sales ranked over the past 24 hours.

Book Titles That Sell

June 19th, 2012 by Bob Burnham

One of my clients called me from South Carolina, so excited that his book is finished. I asked him, “What’s the title?” He said “I Survived.”

“Wow, you survived. What did you survive—car accident, cancer, divorce?”

He said, “No, I survived depression.”

“Then why don’t you title your book How I Survived Depression, 7 Simple Secrets to Happiness and Bliss?”

People are looking for books on depression and they’re not searching for “I survived” hoping a book on depression pops up.

Quite often now people are using search engines like Google to search terms, but they also search online bookstores using keyword phrases. So if they are searching for a book on depression, most likely they will be searching for the word “depression.”

I spoke with another client who told me he was searching Amazon looking for a book on how to write screenplays. He put in the search box “How to write a screenplay” and the very first book that came up had the title How to Write a Screenplay. I asked him if he bought the book and he said yes. I told him, “That author is probably doing very well.”

If you can get your keywords in your title, it makes it simple for everybody. You want to have a hooky title to grab potential readers by the eyeballs. Remember, you only have 10 or 20 second to hook them in, and it’s incumbent upon you to do that, because if they don’t buy your book, they lose out on your information and you lose out on the sale.

The other part of titling is the subtitle. This should reveal the transformation or the results your reader will get from your book, also known as “the promise.” For my book, the subtitle is How to Make a Six Figure Income by Writing and Publishing Your Own Book.

Whatever your promise is, put it in the subtitle. If you can put keywords in there, all the better, because right now, as you’re reading this, people are searching for your book. Make it easy for them. Use keywords in your title and subtitle.

Speaking Brings Book Sales

May 15th, 2012 by Bob Burnham

I had a recent conversation with a publisher who has a gigantic warehouse where he stores the books he prints for his authors. (One author ordered 30,000 books!) We chatted for a while, and even though we have different approaches to self-publishing (I believe print-on-demand books are the easiest, cheapest and smartest way to publish), we both agreed on many points:

  • There is no need to print hundreds or thousands of books and then find a place to store them. When you publish your book with print on demand, a bookstore can look it up on their computer, and if they don’t carry it, they will order it for you. If any bookstore finds they are getting more and more orders for a certain book, they will start stocking it because it’s worthwhile having it in their bookstore for their customers.
  • Writing the book seems to be the easiest part of the publishing process for many people. I have authors who say to me, “I love writing, but I won’t do any promoting or marketing.” The bottom line is it’s essential to promote your book. No one else can do it as well as you can.
  • The absolute smartest way to succeed with your non-fiction book is to get out there and speak. Live speaking, where potential readers get to see you and meet you is the best exposure. You can also be a guest on radio shows, advertise your talks with social networking, and speak any way you can – on You Tube, on tele-seminars or on other people’s stages or online offerings.
  • The major publishers, unless you are a huge name, really aren’t doing much to help promote books, and they don’t offer much (sometimes nothing) in the way of a publicity budget. Honestly, you’ll find that no matter what, you still have to promote your own book, but the good news is that’s the best way to sell products and programs based on your book.
  • Even someone like Wayne Dyer travels and speaks and does publicity for every book he writes. Of course he’s got a name and his books have outstanding content, but publishers also know that Wayne Dyer is going to promote his books. Any publisher would jump at the chance of publishing Dyer because he’s a good promoter and an excellent speaker.

Smart authors know that print on demand and live speaking are two of the best and most economical ways of getting known, selling books and selling the products and programs that come from your book. It’s an absolute winning formula for success.

Say you want your book to look a certain way and you’re willing to pay for it. Here are some things to consider:

  • Done right, you cannot tell a print-on-demand book from a traditionally printed book. If you do pay more for embossing, you’re still making $2 to $4 on your book just like every other author (even if they’re published by a major publisher). Are these embellishments really worth it?
  • A bookstore is the worst place to sell your book. Many writers think getting into a bookstore is the key to selling their book, but unless somebody knows about you and they are heading to a bookstore specifically to purchase your book, chances are your book is not going to be noticed – fancy deluxe cover or not.
  • Many writers are still in the old mindset of having their books printed and stored. Print on demand is so much easier and smarter. Plus, with more people getting content downloaded to iPads and Kindles, you won’t need as many physical books.
  • The advantages to print on demand are that you don’t have to print and stock a huge amount of books. If you arrange print on demand properly, you stay available everywhere, in tens of thousands of online bookstore computer systems all over the world. It’s economical because your book is only printed when it’s sold. Everywhere you speak or talk about your book throughout the world, your book will be available. Any bookstore will find it on their computer and order it for your readers.
  • Remember also you’ll be on Amazon – so you won’t have to ship the book yourself.
  • When you publish through Expert Author Publishing, you can order 100 or 150 print-on-demand books when you have a speaking engagement (and the more you order, the cheaper it is per book).
  • Ultimately, even if you have a vision of your book that’s unique and beautiful and costly, you can still publish that version when you’re making more money on your book down the line.

Self-publishing can be a daunting and confusing process. Next week I’ll reveal more insider tips to help you publish your book the smart, easy and economical way.

Many people are stuck in their lives because of their recurring thoughts. They may talk about wanting to write a book but they don’t do it. Even though they’d love to become a best-selling author and change people’s lives, every day this notion seems to get further and further away until their dream finally dies. But there is a solution to this, and the solution comes in studying and recognizing your limiting thoughts. Here is more good news if you find yourself stuck: 

  • The thought of becoming a best-selling author would never have occurred to you in the first place if it were not possible. We have an infinite range of possibilities, talents and abilities, and once we give them focus, that’s when miracles start to happen.
  • Manifestation is not about presto/shazam/abracadabra, creating something out of nothing. It is about being aware that what you want already exists. Although we say that Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, the light bulb already existed, he just needed to become aware that it was already there. Your book already exists.
  • If you are not getting what you want, there is usually some form of resistance going on. It could be resistance to sitting down and writing – why not record your book and have someone transcribe it? The resistance could be deeper – it might come from what people will think of your book or your writing style. Or it could be because the book brings up a really uncomfortable thought/attitude/belief you have about yourself that you are afraid to confront.

It’s hard to get from point A to B when you’re terrified of A. But sometimes you have to unlock one key thought to get another door to open. It’s likely you are protecting yourself from some kind of truth, pain, embarrassment or shame. You are stuck because a protection mechanism is keeping you “safe” and resistance is the outward manifestation of that. It is your job to find out, by listening to your inner dialogue, what you are afraid of. Is it about being vulnerable? Is it rejection? Failure? Success? Once you confront that fear, it will vanish and you will be able to write. Each time resistance comes up there’s a gift for you – the gift of freedom from some negative and wrong illusion you had about yourself.

Speaking Your Way to Success

April 3rd, 2012 by Bob Burnham

Speaking, becoming an author and putting on your own events are three of the most powerful, low-cost ways to draw people to you, to bring people into your programs, and to build your list. Hiding behind your computer won’t do it, having a human experience is priceless.

When speaking people meet you and form a bond with you. Another advantage is that you get immediate feedback from the audience – laughing, clapping, leaning forward in their seats and coming up to talk to you afterward all give you important signals. This means you can gauge the interest of certain products and programs before you spend time and money on them. And there are surprises because something you might say off the cuff gets a huge response and now you’ve got another product on your website making money for you while you sleep. Most test marketers envy these instant results.

The coordinator of a summit I spoke at told me sending e-mails resulted in two signups for his event, while live speaking garnered 30.  Although email and building your list can be one of the biggest assets in your business it just doesn’t have the same pull as speaking. Speaking is powerful because most people won’t do it. As an author, people listen to everything you say.

Even if you attended three networking events a week you would be amazed at what a difference it would make in your business.

As an author and speaker, the power increases exponentially. A book gives you celebrity, credibility and expert status, and published authors get booked readily into high-end speaking engagements and events.

Putting on your own events raises your profile the most because it establishes you as an expert in your particular community. This allows you to offer high-priced masterminds or intensive programs that run for months.

Events give you two or three days to really teach your methods and establish relationships with your participants. As people get to know you, they trust you to take them into your unique system in a deeper, fuller way. Your audience also gets to meet others they want to stay in community with.  It’s a bonding experience that often influences whether they sign up for your mastermind — because they want to be with their “tribe.”

As you can see, the willingness to get out there and speak opens a lot of doors – you’ll be invited onto other people’s stages, and your recognition factor will go through the roof. The possibilities, personally and professionally, that come from speaking can be life-changing. 

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