Build your empire from fiction too!

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How blind are those who can see!

For at least 20 years I’ve been sharing ideas with you about how to at least triple the income from the theme of your core book while you continue to build a profitable empire from it for life.

I wrote Empire-Building by Writing and Speaking about the concept and process. (It’s just out of print; I’ll publish the much updated version in early 2012.)

I blog about the ways to empire build once or twice a week and it’s what my current (free) newsletter is about!

My vision of empire-building has always had at its core a non-fiction niche book that was impossible not to buy, and from it the author expanded (spread is the inside term) into other, related information dissemination means, like more books, articles, blogs, reports, booklets, speeches, seminars, classes, consulting, videos, podcasts, and so on…

I still think that for most of us that’s the quickest way to information heaven, displaying and selling our expertise, pre-testing before publishing, and growing by meeting the needs of others.

Yet as I research for the new book I see lots of emperors and empresses building from general non-fiction (rather than niche) roots.

My biggest surprise is how novelists (and comic book folk) are doing precisely the same thing. From fiction! From “stuff made up, not real,” as an old mentor described it.

Let me share a super example I read this morning from EmCraven, at the blog ebookrevolution called “A Writer’s Money Isn’t Just in the Books.”

Emily talks about how well the comic book companies have it figured out. “They not only mass produce paperback copies of their stories but they have television shows, movies, yearly conventions in every major city in the world, … lunch boxes. They have toy figurines of the hero, the side kick, the villain, the villain’s hairless cat, and … the villain’s landlady.” Craven adds that “this…is marketing genius, realizing that the money is not in the paper bound book, but in the other entertainment opportunities we can provide the audience based on the story.”

She says that Indie publisher Richard Nash talks most eloquently on writers needing to expand their scope from the novel to further interactive opportunities like workshops, Q&A sessions, memorabilia, exclusive dinner parties, your own board game, etc.

The blog includes other examples of “creat(ing) a fever around … work by allowing it to move outside the written word.”

When I began publishing I was straight from academia, an instructor and a dean, and it never dawned on me that many of my readers would write fiction. Nor did I link the fact that Disney, who grew up in my old haunts in Illinois, is making zillions converting fiction into castles, crash-em cars, and t-shirts.

I guess I deserve to be bowled over by my blindness!

The process starts the same way: you need to pay attention to that first writing, why others will read and buy the words, and the vision, whether its non-fiction or fiction. But the “other world,” fiction to me, seems a whole lot brighter now that I see how cleverly its writers are building empires of their own! Who knew? The make-believers.

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