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. 

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.

As I tell my students in my workshops, classes, and my Expert Author Mastermind Programs, speaking is the number one way to get out there and make money from your book and the programs and packages you’ve created from your expertise. It’s low cost and highly effective because your audience gets to meet you in person. As you get out there and speak, keep in mind these 3 essential components to optimize your sales and have potential clients pursuing you: 

  1. Offer Forms. Always have Offer Forms ready to hand out to get your audience opted in to your program. Have your Offer Forms handed out closer to the end of your talk when you are ready to go through the Offer Form and explain exactly what you would like them to do. Make sure the Offer Form looks professional and asks for a phone number and email address so you can build your list. You can offer them a free strategy session with you so you can sign them into one of your programs or some other offer you are currently running. If you do offer a free strategy session be sure to follow up with your prospects promptly after event.
  2. Seeding. Seeding means sprinkling your talk with enticements for your services. These can be stories of successes you’ve had with other clients and customers who have taken your programs. Just by mentioning that a client made $7,000 in three days or conquered their fear of flying in one session, you are seeding the audience for success.

    First, you’re describing your program in a way that makes people want to have the same kind of transformation that your clients had. And you are also seeding the steps and benefits of your particular formula or system. Second, you may be able to sell a higher-ticket item by mentioning a success story you had with a one-day/one-on-one mentorship client, so they can hitch a ride on the fast track to success.

  3. Scarcity. By invoking scarcity, you create a desire in the client to take action. You can generate scarcity by limiting the amount of applicants in your next program. Time limiters create scarcity – your audience has until the end of the workshop to sign up. Price limiters are also effective – this price is good for today only, then it goes back to your regular price. 

Remember that you are the expert and the audience expects you to act with authority. It’s up to you to state your offer clearly and to tell your audience how to respond. By taking the speaker and leadership role, you can significantly increase your business and transform more lives.

Action Brings Synchronicities

January 31st, 2012 by Bob Burnham

The way that Expert Author Publishing has come to be a thriving company is nothing short of amazing. There were so many downloads and synchronicities that occurred to make this happen. I woke up at 2:00 in the morning with the title 101 Reasons Why You Must Write a Book: How to Make a Six Figure Income by Writing and Publishing Your Own Book in my brain. (I get my downloads from 2:00 to 4:00 in the morning.)

Once I started writing that book, I was on the road to a whole new career. Then I got a $997.00 CD set from Paul Hartunian about speaking and selling from the platform and one of the things that was really helpful was that he recommended Mike Round’s “Talk, Talk, Talk: Your Guide to Making Money Through the Rubber Band Circuit, The Rubber Chicken Circuit and Radio Talk Shows” a DVD set for $50 about getting yourself set up in business by teaching adult education classes. Teaching adult ed classes, of course, has been a backbone of my business, not to mention how many opportunities and books I have helped birth because I’m willing to speak in front of audiences and teach workshops and classes.

Back when I was thinking of the book Change One Belief I had the idea for a book written by one of my mentors, and sure enough, 8 months later she calls me about having me publish her book.

When you put your thoughts out there with a goal in mind, the synchronicities that happen are amazing. The important part, of course is that you take action on your guidance.  

I couldn’t have planned the things that are happening to me now better than they’re actually happening. When you look back on your life, you become aware of all these different synchronicities that all happen in order (and sometimes they might not be exactly as you planned). But if you’re patient and you have faith, you’ll see it was a blessing how it happened—it all happened perfectly. 

The title for the anthology I’m doing called Change One Belief was downloaded to me in the same way. I admit sometimes I don’t even write these cosmic messages down, but if it’s still there in the morning, that tells me it has to be done.  I admit it–I ignored Change One Belief, but it kept coming back to me 5 times! After the 5th time, I knew this was a book that had to be published.   

I couldn’t have written a better script than what the universe has written for me, but you must be aware of when you get downloads or your intuition is speaking to you — and this is so crucial that I’m repeating it – honor it by taking action, and you’ll witness miracles in your life.

We’re looking at a publication date of January 2012 for the Change One Belief anthology. There’s still time to get your story published in the book or if you know someone with a great story, go to www.changeonebelief.com for guidelines and submission instructions. This could be your piece of synchronicity right now, so go ahead and take action!  

This past month, I had the terrific opportunity of visiting a former student of mine at Coles Bookstore for her book signing. Alice Maryniuk published her long-awaited book Thinking For a Change: Transforming your life by transforming your thoughts early in 2010 and has already started a successful marketing campaign for it.

Alice is among a growing number of my students who have gone on to publish their books through my publishing branch, Profits Publishing. She had us format her manuscript while she outsourced her cover design. The end result was a beautiful book that is now in the hands of readers and is now working for her.

Alice was incredibly gracious to grant us a video interview during her book signing. Watch it and discover what she has learned about improving her own life by becoming a published author!

Publishing her own book has already done wonderful things for Alice—after only a month! As she explains in the video, our guidance and encouragement at Expert Author Publishing as both teachers and publishers helped her to believe that she really could finish her book and reap the rewards of doing so. Her business has improved along with her sense of accomplishment. Great things are happening for Alice, and we couldn’t be happier for her!

Now it’s time for you to finally experience all of the miraculous changes that becoming a published author can bring about in your own life! Imagine yourself in the video, signing your book at a local bookstore. We can’t wait for you to fill Alice’s shoes and become the next published author from our Profits Publishing branch! If Alice’s interview wasn’t motivation enough, I know that our workbook, “How to Write, Publish & Make Money With Your Book,” will point you in the right direction. Get the workbook now at http://www.expertauthorpublishing.com/write_publish_make_money.html and start changing your life for the better!

Writing A Book Is A Great Retirement Plan

June 25th, 2008 by Bob Burnham

One of the best things I like about coaching my students is how pumped up I get teaching the exciting opportunities we can all have by writing and publishing our own books.

Why do I get so pumped? Because every time I teach a call like the one we had this past Tuesday on continuity programs I get more excited hearing myself talk about all the great  opportunities we all have with our books.

Now I know many of you reading this article are no where near ready to retire yet and in fact one of the reasons I wrote my book with my coauthor Jeff McCallum is the fact that I never want to retire. So why the retirement talk?

Because in my last coaching call I gave many examples of how you can monetize your books information into having your customers paying you a monthly fee without having to do monthly work. So if you are getting money monthly for work you have done in the past isn’t that just like having a retirement income? You bet it is.

One student saw how easy it would be to get 100 people from her list to pay a monthly fee of $47.00 per month by setting up three, one hour support group tele calls for the information she has written about in her soon to be released book. Do the math! That’s $4,700.00 per month for three hours work.

What if she decides to set up four groups like this and maybe one is a little more expensive at $97.00 per month? Three groups bringing in $4,700.00 per month and the last one bringing in $9,700.00 per month makes a total of $23,800.00 per month and she would still only be working by telephone a total of 4 hours per week.

We talked about many of the possible ways of  having your customers opt in to a monthly continuity plan all relating to the information in your book including:

Newsletters
Membership sites
Coaching programs
Consulting
Certifications sites
Interview website

Actually when we started brainstorming the issue they realized it was endless and could be done with pretty well any niche or topic.

Does it take a little bit of set up work? Yes but with the right help even that is not a big issue. There is no better return on investment in anything else on this planet as writing & publishing your own book and that continues to make me jump out of bed each and every morning.
 

Hooray for the internet and all of the tools and resources that come along with it.  Writing and publishing a book has never been simpler.  Here are 10 great tools and resources that make writing and publishing easier than ever.

5 Top Writing and Publishing Tools:

Free Writing Software.
Did you know that you don’t need to purchase expensive word processing software to write a book?  It’s true.  There are now an abundance of really well developed open source software products, that means they’re free, available to writers.  My favorite two are Google Documents, available for free with any Google or gmail account.  It works very similarly to MS Word and you can save your document in any variety of forms including word doc. 

The other product that I really like is Open Office.  Like MS Office it offers spreadsheet, word processing, database software and much more.  So there you go, not having the right software is no longer an excuse to not write a book.

Meta Search Engines.
Each search engine has its strengths and benefits.  However there are now search engines available that combine the power of the big four, Google, Alta Vista, Yahoo, and MSN.  Now, with a quick keyword or two, you can have four times the results when you’re researching and your results will be more accurate.  Research time will be cut in half, assuming that you don’t get sidetracked with all of the cool information available online. 

My research trick, make notes when you write about what needs to be researched and research only the specific information that you need.  That way if you need to know how many minutes it takes the average stoplight to turn green, you can look up that specific information and not spend hours researching stoplights.

One Stop Shopping Sites.
Due to the number of people that have realized how lucrative information marketing can be, a wonderful number of services have popped up that make owning and operating an information marketing website easy.  These sites generally offer the following feature:
 Shopping cart software solutions
 Merchant accounts
 Website hosting
 Website design templates
 Autoresponders
 Newsletter subscription tools
 Affiliate marketing management tools
 Search Engine Optimization tools
 Fulfillment and distribution options.

Online Bookstores!
While it’s great to sell your book on your own website, the advantage of online bookstores like Amazon is that they’re commonly acceptable purchasing places for the general public.  Joe from down the street may not feel comfortable giving you his credit card number but he’ll gladly give it to the folks at Amazon.  You make a sale and cautious Joe gets his book.  Online bookstores are also a great tool to build a community of followers.  Amazon enables authors to create a community by posting information about the author, reviews, and even forums and chat rooms.

Expert Knowledge.
Information marketing is not without its experts and many of these experts have made themselves available to people that are interested in marketing and publishing their own books.  This means that expert knowledge is available to you in just about any form you prefer.  If you like one on one coaching, it’s out there.  If you prefer online classes, well those are available too.  Prefer an ebook or video tutorial on writing or publishing, it’s all available online.  The internet has opened up a whole new kind of classroom where you can learn about anything including how to write and publish a book.

Interested in self-publishing?  Take a moment to answer the following questions:

• Are you an expert in your field and want to use your published book as a marketing tool to enhance your career?

• Are you an author that is passionate about the content in your book and need 100% creative control?

• Do you want to make more money per book sold than you would working with a major publisher?

• Do you own the rights to republish public domain content?

• Do you, or your company, need to develop publications specifically for your current customers?  For example, manuals, training guides, etc…

If your answer to any of the above questions is yes, then you need to consider self-publishing.

Self-publishing is a viable, profitable, and respected means of getting your book into the hands of your customers. 

Here are three powerful reasons to becoming a self-published author, and why you should consider it for your book:

1. Self publishing enables you to publish any type of content. 

Whether you want to write an autobiography, a training manual, or your favorite vegetarian recipes the sky is the limit.  Traditional publishers will only accept books that have a very wide and mass market appeal, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t thousands of people looking for material just like yours.  Self-publishing can make it happen. 

2. Self-publishing gives you 100% creative control over your book. 

Often, traditional publishers don’t give authors final say on the cover, title, or even final edits of the copy.  For many authors, this simply isn’t acceptable and traditional publishing becomes an endless process of frustration.  Conversely, it is this complete control over the content that makes some authors nervous.  Not to worry, there are many experts that can guide a new author to how to create a bestselling cover, book layout, and even editing.  The important thing to remember is that as a self-published author, you have the final say.

3. Self-publishing is also a highly lucrative means of publishing. 

Not only do you make significantly more money per book than you will with a traditional publisher, you don’t have to pay your literary agent 15% of your earnings.  AND because you can get your book out to market much faster than traditional publishing, it can take up to two years to see your book on bookstore shelves, self-publishing means you can start making your millions much sooner.

Publishing and profiting from your own book is only limited by your imagination. Create a dream life from writing, self publishing and promoting your own book. It is easier than most people think.

Writing a book, regardless of the topic, genre, or content, will change your life. Following are three very important reasons you must write and publish you own book 

1. Writing a book will open up doors of opportunity that you never imagined.
 
I have a friend, who is a well-known brain and quantum physics expert with a PhD.  Only after she self-published her first book, did she say that her career really started to take off.   Not to mention that she made significantly more money simply due to the opportunities that opened up for her as an author.  She was amazed at what a difference publishing made in her life and that:  her title as an author trumped her PhD status.
It’s crazy, I know. She went to school for a total of 21 years at a cost of thousands of dollars and ended up achieving her financial goals only after she wrote and self-published her first book.

2. Your Self-Published book makes you the expert and gives you a substantial edge over your competition. 

Imagine that you just bought a new, and very rowdy, puppy and you need help training him.  Searching the local dog trainers, you find one who has written a book on how to train difficult dogs and you find another trainer with a similar resume but no book under his belt. 

Who do you turn to? 

Most people will hire the dog trainer that has written the book. 

This is the way that the world works.  Those professionals with the title of “Author” are perceived as the experts.  Your book will sell your knowledge, services or products, for you.  You’ll never have to make a cold call again.  Imagine saying to a client that is inquiring about your product or services, “Let me send you my book.” 

3. Your Self-Published book enables you, as an expert, to share your knowledge to the world. 

When you write and self publish your book, you have full control over the contents.  You are the creator and you can express your points in any way you like. This allows you the freedom to convey your thoughts through words and/or illustrations. 

As a writer, you have the ability to create words that paint a picture or spark the imagination of your readers in a way that no other tool can.  Words are powerful, as is knowledge, and you can use your book to express both.

Additionally, if your book is written with the purpose of offering a benefit or helping people solve a problem, then your self-published book and your knowledge are helping others.  It doesn’t get better than being able to make a great living helping others live better lives.