10 Professional Tips to Sell Your Own Books…

Here’s a great list of “to do’s” about how to sell your own books that was shared and discussed at the last (9/10/16) BAIPA (Bay Area Independent Publishers Association) meeting in Novato, CA. That is precisely what my clients (and publishing friends) want and need to know. Since you’re my friends too, let me share it with you–and invite you to share it with your friends as well. (The few notations in italics are mine to perhaps clarify the questions I had when I first read it.)

It is from IngramSpark, the huge distributor more known as Ingram or LSI through which most of us sell our books, mostly, to bookstores. It was shared at BAIPA by Jackie Thompson, a delightful soul full of fun, truth, and straightforward info and responses. From them, her, and me to you:

Before, during and after (l)earn what you can from industry data.
Leverage distribution opportunities, US and global.
Invest in professional editing, design and marketing, not inventory. (What good’s the inventory if your book is embarrassing to look at and worse to read?)
Use POD and digital to test demand for your book. (Not too many years ago you had to run 1,500+ copies just to see if a dozen unbribed souls would buy their own copy!)
Use POD to increase format choices (paperback, hardcover, large print).
Get to know your local librarian, learn from their collections. (You can do the same for niche books by studying the 10 newest books your nichees are reading.)
If you are publishing to children and YA (young adults) have the material rated for age, and add this to your metadata.
Use Social Media to build platform and market to your readers.
Own your ISBN. (Even if some of the open publishers don’t require it or will give you one of  their ISBNs, instead post your own in every format and edition you publish.)
Support your local bookseller and library. (Make it easier and a greater joy for them to later support you!)

Good stuff I wish I had read when Ben Franklin and I were setting type and telling old jokes about older yokes on the Olde Sod.

Best wishes,

Gordon Burgett

[ More how-to writing, publishing, and speaking stuff at www.gordonburgett.com/order3.htm. ]

A very new format for a seminar workbook…

In a now very long past—decades—I must have literally copied and carted 40,000 seminar workbooks (sometimes a half mile, too often up stairs). Most of those workbooks were 12-20 pages long! Too late to complain: that was the way it was done. But yesterday technology finally removed my shackles—and perhaps my blinders!

Some fact-setting now, then a detailed explanation copy of the new format that you may be interested in modifying and using. Explaining the 40,000: I have given more than 2,000 four-hour seminars, most as college/university extended ed offerings, almost all in California. They rarely had less than 20 participants, which meant 24 or so workbooks in case last minute registrants were waiting at the door. Ugh.

But yesterday a different request opened my eyes. I spoke to the NSNC (National Society of Newspaper Columnists) in L.A. about “Publishing for Profit” and, even though I myself had been a columnist several times, I had no way of knowing what other writing experiences the veteran audience had nor which of the dozen or so suggestions I would offer and expand upon they might wish to pursue.

Nor did I want to schlep any workbooks nor published books to sell BOR. (The airlines made that impossible anyway by charging for baggage—and rubbing in more salt by starving me en route!) But I did slip a copy of eight different books into my suitcase to display on a side table so they could see that they actually existed!

I know, I could have run copies off of the workbooks once I reached L.A. But I’m doubly convinced now, the day after, that the new format is many times better and smarter for the future, it gives the audience more options, and it reduces or eliminates the burdensome task of hauling products for sale. That’s why I’m sharing it now, while the fire burns, in case it would help you too. (If you have already discovered this “new” workbook process, congratulations! I’m sure you double agree! Why didn’t you tell me?)

The rationale: I knew that all of my attendees were writers, they used computers daily, understood how to find websites, blogs, and could figure out the free-book code. Therefore all I had to do was explain the media or means needed, where the items could be found, the links or addresses for each, and what the resource references referred to. I gave them the instructions needed in the first two paragraphs, where the program was going in the next two, and the broadest of explanations of what the four sections to be covered in the text that followed.

That took a minute or two to re-explain at the beginning of the presentation, but then I could focus on the most important ways columnists might earn more and live happier. When appropriate, I could direct them to one or several of the references and, in some cases, tell them the best subtitles to the critical step-by-step details. There must be 600+ printed pages in the three free books and 200+ in the other items. Thus, by knowing where the information is at hand, almost immediately, they can pick, select, or reject it as they wish—or go back later, if they change their minds.

The workbook: The two-sided page is the workbook. In this case the program was designed to show U.S. columnists how else they can share, market, and expand their written gems (now or later) into other lucrative venues or ventures. That is what I talked about. If they need the application guidance, the resources would then send them to the “how-to” support material.

Enough explanation. What follows is the “workbook” they received.

Workbook as delivered to the NSNC presentation:



I’m Gordon Burgett. It’s 2016, we’re all experienced writers, and the airlines won’t let me schlep boxes of handouts as baggage anymore, so I’m going to use the Internet to let you pick what specific information you think will be useful to you later. At that point, you can download what you want or need, if anything. The most important material is free, there’s no shipping or tax, and it’ll be in your hands almost immediately!

Thus you have no workbook or piles of paper to lumber through. Just sit back for the first hour and let me explain a sort of strategy and ways that should help you considerably increase your writing income, then I’ll answer any questions you have during the remaining 15 minutes. If you have more questions later, please email me at glburgett@aol.com.

My task is to help you fill your coin bags and increase your second-life options by doing more of what you already do very well—and make even more money (heavens!) by doing it.

I think the more-mullah quest starts with you strategizing at whatever point you are along your moneymaking-by-writing trail. I’ll address that.

The rest of our oral trek today roughly follows the other four sections on these pages. I’ve posted lots of backup resources here that you can download if/when you want or need them. The most important material is free—three full core books, three helper reports, four website articles, and 400+ blogs to pluck from. To download most of that information, use our order page at www.gordonburgett.com/order3.htm


Here’s how to download or see the resources: (1) find and separately order each free book on the order form—but before you submit each order write the coupon number [      ] in the coupon code box on that order form. Then submit the form, the price will drop to zero, and follow the download instructions that follow! (The freebies expire on 8/20/16.) Other items, unless noted, are from the order form and can be ordered separately or together at any time. They are also available from Amazon but if you want the three books free you must follow the instruction in (1). How to get the three free reports is explained below. See blog.gordonburgett.com for the blogs listed. Once there, find the SEARCH box, upper right corner under the Twitter logo. In that box enter either the topic you want to see more about (like query letters or niche) or the word I will give you. The website articles are from the direct website link location.


(I) WRITINGTravel Writer’s Guide (free ebook)

Explains how to sell 75%+ of your freelance writing (mostly newspaper and magazine articles), how to triple your income by topic-spoking, how to earn more with sidebars, and how to organize profit-packed copy-, quote-, and anecdote-gathering trips…

Related resources:

“4 Proven Ways to Sell 75% of Your Freelance Writing” Go to blog, enter 4 proven ways

“How to Sell 75% of Your Travel Writing” (2 cassette program), $20 + shipping

“25 Professional Query and Cover Letters” (ebook), $4.99

“Reprints, Rewrites, Reprints of Rewrites, and Resales” (ebook), $4.99

“The magic of topic spoking.” Go to blog, enter topic spoking


(II) PUBLISHINGNiche Publishing: Publish Profitably Every Time (free ebook)

A huge percentage of the risk-free, market-guaranteed book money is found here. We made $2 million from dentists and are now following the same path from K-12 school administrators, supers, principals, and school boards. That process and business plan is explained in this book. If you write and publish, almost all the niche profits are yours. If you find experts in the field, you direct/edit, they write, and you publish, most of the profits are still yours but the fame is theirs.

Related resources:

“12-Step Pre-Test for Niche Publications” (ebook), $4.99

“How to Test Your Niche Book before Writing or Publishing” (ebook), $9.99

“How to Get Niche Articles in Print 75% of the Time” (ebook), $2.99

(III) PUBLISHINGHow to Get Your Book Published in Minutes and Marketed Worldwide in Days (free ebook). If you’re not niching, use the “open press” revolution plus Create Space/Kindle [Amazon] and Lightning Source as your first or major paths to building your own empire. Publish here, then (perhaps) try the major publishers.


Related resources:

“Open Book Publishing: Almost a Miracle! (ebook), $3.10

“When Would I Always (or Never) Self-Publish My Book?” Go to blog, enter self-publish

“12 More Ways to Turn Your Book into Many More…” Go to blog, enter more ways

“Focus books and Selling a Book by its Parts” Go to the blog, enter focus

“Sample Focus Book: Rights and Responsibilities of School Principals” (ebook), $3.99

“Sample Focus Book: How to Create the Best Staff Possible” (ebook), $3.99


(IV) BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHEREmpire Building (O.P., no replacement book yet.) Ultimately, for big money, expand the perception of your expertise through related information dissemination means, like speaking, seminaring, giving workshops or retreats, audiobooks, classes, consulting, social media venues, radio-TV, guest performances, and so on. Or create/sell little empires along the way. Or align your writing, researching, interviewing, and publishing skills with others’ empires. Or do it all.


Related resources:

“How to Set Up and Market Your Own Seminar” (4-cassette seminar), $40+shipping

“Six Special Tools That Get Speakers Booked First” (ebook), $9.99


Lifelong Wealth by Being Indispensable

Finding Indispensable Article Topics

101 Niche Marketing Topics

Just subscribe to my newsletter (seldom sent) at http://www.gordonburgett.com/free-reports and all three reports are immediately downloaded. Nobody else ever sees your address. Then if you want to escape my elist, just email me to be removed. I’m not offended—I forget names instantaneously.

That’s it. If it helps, go to it.

Best wishes,

Gordon Burgett

Author of Self-Publishing Manual, Dan Poynter, has died…

The author of the best-selling Self-Publishing Manual, Dan Poynter, has died. We were “in the trenches” writing friends and I already miss him, in part because it was Dan’s turn to buy lunch. So will thousands more whose lives he touched and changed. He had been quite ill for a while, seemed to be improving, but, instead, Dan passed away a few days back.

Poynter wrote almost 100 books but he was best known for his Self-Publishing Manual, now in its 14th edition. Many of us exploring the hinterlands of “doing-it-ourselves” publishing, with our starter books (rarely sought, even more rarely bought), pounding away on clunky typewriters and wading in rubber cement, wandering through the last days of the past century, when up popped his how-to gift. The SPM was a light from heaven. It answered questions we didn’t even know we should ask. As Dan learned more, the book kept getting better and bigger. In short order his grateful fans, hat in hand, too often bruised by the titans from Gotham and other bookstore bulk buyers, turned his manual into a huge seller…

Dan was a close friend of mine for lots of decades. We’re a few weeks apart in age (he would never admit it), I lived about 20 miles away, and we seemed to wander into the same ersatz gatherings and adventures, befriending many of the same odd people, and we quietly joined the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA)—Dan helped birth it—and the National Speakers Association (NSA).

He was a tall, quiet fellow who gave freely of his knowledge. Many know that he was President of the Parachutists Assn as well. He joked that he married the thrill of descent (he was a life-long bachelor), and was faithful to the end.

In fact, rather than using his law training Dan set up and ran a loft in Oakland. His publishing career (and life) started when he couldn’t find a book about parachute knotting that his clientele needed, to get licensed. “I knew as much about publishing as some poor soul tapping rubber trees for a living,” he told me. So he contacted every company however involved with knotting and made copies of the diagrams and instructions they sent back, pulled them into a $40 three-ring instruction manual, wrote the conjunctive copy, then bought a dandy house near Goleta (Santa Barbara) from the profits. It overlooked the Pacific Ocean east of the UC Santa Barbara. From his front porch you could see the only American mainland target attacked by the Axis in World War II, an oil tank sighted by the misdirected Japanese Navy.

I first met him at a free lunch where Xerox was showing their brand new copiers to a bevy of hungry writers (becoming publishers). We passed on the street a couple of times but we didn’t really meet again until he tried to kill himself (inadvertently, he claims) by falling 100+ feet straight down and almost impaling himself on a volleyball net pole on East Beach. He had written (or was writing) a book about Parasailing (or was it Paragliding? He also wrote a pile of other weird books). There was a slack in the tow rope and he found himself stalled in midair! Alas, the pause was miraculously timed–a gaggle of bone doctors taking a break from a convention happened to be playing volleyball when he dropped in on them! He was nearly killed. A few days later, in the weakest voice hearable, he called and asked if I’d take his newest book to the ABA in Los Angeles the next week. I did (when I found out what the ABA was), and that started a long string of lunches, Gold Coast meetings (a sort-of branch of NSA), and so on…

Dan had a sense of humor, much of it hoarded internally. He didn’t have time (or much patience) for editing would-be books sent for his help by adoring fans. He threatened to farm them all off to me, and rarely he couldn’t help himself: I would get a DOA bundle (with a spine) in the mail with a note daring me to make sense and save the soul of the hapless scribe of the offending manuscript. The note usually mentioned that I was the only person who could get the author in print since the bundle was so much like my own books!

A final story. Dan gave weekend gatherings for book creators at his palace. The couple of times I spoke there he would hold up one of my early books and tell the attendees that it was certainly not how to design your own cover–and that he had bought a couple of copies of the book so he wouldn’t run out of such a pitiful display. I told him I was hunting for some hole in one of his books, the table of contents lost in the index, upside-down chapters, or something equally egregious for revenge. But I never found anything out of place–and now he’s left before me and the fun is gone.

Dan Poynter was a smart fellow and already is a much missed friend.

Gordon Burgett

8 ways where or why seminars are usually given (#3 of 15)

This is a very short blog because I will discuss in much greater depth the ways that we identify (and create and present) seminars in later sections of this 15-blog series, which itself is an updating of a workbook that accompanies my How to Set Up and Market Your Own Seminar CD series that will be available in a couple of months.


1. Self-sponsored
2. Self-sponsored, but aligned with other group or organization for mutual benefit
3. Academic
4. Recreational
5. Business

6. Professional Association
7. Trade Association
8. Business
a. in-house presentations
b. licensed/customized presentations

Seminars aren’t talks, which among professional speakers mean free presentations (or, sometimes, given for a very modest–really token–honorarium).

Therefore, since the frequent or professional semninar-giver must be paid, how that money is gathered is strongly related to the categories of sponsorship above. For example, a fee is generally charged the participants to attend an academic or school-sponsored seminar (like for Community Education), and a certain percentage of the fees collected often go to the speaker. But in a business program, where the business directly reaps the profits (or prestige), the business pays the speaker and the participants are invited to attend free. By extension, how the speaker is asked to speak to schools or for businesses is also very different.

Each kind of seminar is structured differently enough to have unique assemply halls, longer or shorter hours, ways to attract possible attendees, how BOR (back-of-the-room) products sales are handled (if at all), and different purposes. That’s why we label them and herd them into different corals.

I’ll continue in greater detail in blog #4 in about a week.

Best wishes,

Gordon Burgett

Communication Unlimited / P.O. Box 845 / Novato, CA 94947 / (800) 563-1454. For further information, see www.gordonburgett.com.

Seminar, workshop, breakout, or a conference? (#2 of 15)

I created a four-hour CD program a few years back called “How to Set Up and Market Your Own Seminar.” It was comprised of three audio CDs where I explained the concept and process, plus a downloadable guidebook (workbook) on the fourth CD, in Word, that divided the program into 15 sections.

As I update that workbook (and the audio CDs) it occurred to me that I’d never shared the workbook in blog form, in case there were other potential or active seminar-givers who might be interested or would benefit.

So here it is, section 2 of that workbook. (Section 1, the introduction, appeared on Feb. 22.) It’s a work in progress, one section a week.

(Credentials? I co-wrote a book called Speaking for Money (long out of print) with Mike Frank, the former President of the National Speakers Association, and, mostly after that, I gave 2000+ paid seminars.)


First, let me repeat a guideline from section #1 that I particularly like for achieving success in seminaring: “Sell hard-to-find but easy-to-apply information to participants who perceive that it will meet their needs.”

Here are four brief definitions of presentations that are often lumped together and called seminars. This might help clarify the terminology:

SEMINARS: “A group discussion” (Webster’s New World Dictionary); usually connotes a topic- or process-centered gathering that meets once or a limited number of times, to discuss or share information; a short, intensified course about a specific topic. They often last 2-4 hours.

WORKSHOPS: “A seminar or series of meetings for intensive study, work, discussion, etc.” Differs from a seminar in that it includes both physical and mental activity, such as teaching an art technique or skill, then making or changing an object by applying the technique or skill. Often implies a less formal atmosphere or hands-on teaching. Workshops are usually as long as a seminar, but sometimes last a full day.

CONFERENCES: “Formal meeting of a number of people for discussion or consultation.” Larger than a seminar or workshop, generally featuring many speakers (or seminars, workshops, and/or breakout sessions) gathered to share knowledge about one or a series of closely-related subjects. Many times they last a weekend.

BREAKOUT SESSIONS: Often at a conference there is a keynote speaker, a main speaker or two, and one or many group sessions in seminar or workshop format. Often an hour long to about three.


Another way of defining seminars is by how many sessions comprise the seminar.

A ONE-PART SEMINAR is given at one time, though there may be breaks or, rarely, it may be given in two sessions on successive days or a week apart. The distinctive feature is that the seminar promises a body of information or instruction (often the solution and implentation of a gnarly problem)–and that is what the participant receives.

Another classification, a TWO-PART SEMINAR, can be misleading. Think of a seminar about attending summer camp or buying houses with no money down. The first part of the seminar is usually an introductory (or “teaser”) session to explain (and sell) the product or service. The second part (almost never in seminar format) is the follow-up for those attendees who want more information or who want to register for or buy the product or service explained in the opening session. The second part may be a visit to the summer camp site or signing the contract for their children to join the camp. Or it may be a video (or several) plus a course that tells how one can purchase the houses with no money down. There is no second meeting (or group gathering). Sometimes; the attendee has bought items that are provided, or they have registered for a longer, many-session program, classes, or lessons.


A third definition might be based on how or where the seminar is offered.

PUBLIC SEMINARS: Open to the public. Often given at hotels, colleges, convention or conference sites.

IN-HOUSE PRESENTATIONS: Usually for businesses or institutions, the speaker gives their program at the sponsor’s site (or a site arranged for and paid by the company). Participants are usually from that company or from a group of cooperating companies.

Session #3 will be posted in about a week.

Best wishes,

Gordon Burgett

P.O. Box 845, Novato, CA 94947, (800) 563-1454 . For further information, see www.gordonburgett.com or info@gordonburgett.com.

“How to Set Up and Market Your Own Seminar,” blog #1 of 15

Somewhere about seminar 200 three attendees independently asked me if I could tell them how to set up their own seminar. I was flattered–and surprised that there was nothing in print at that time about the topic, though seminars bloomed in profusion nationwide, on week nights and weekends.

So I created a four-hour audio cassette program at about the 250th seminar called “How to Set Up and Market Your Own Seminar.” Three cassettes were me explaining the process orally. The fourth was the guidebook (workbook) divided into the sections you see below, in downloadable text should the person wish to read it as they listened.

While I was at it, I also co-wrote a book called Speaking for Money (long out of print) with Mike Frank, the former President of the National Speakers Association. In it I mostly wrote about seminarss. It seems that the process worked because I gave my 2000th paid seminar several years ago. (What did I talk about at the seminars? How to sell 75% of your freelance writing, travel writing, niche publishing, writing comedy greeting cards, how to self-publish, empire building, and lots of derivatives!)

I know. Who cares? And why am I using the public airwaves to brag about it?

It dawned on me a few weeks back, as I was packaging an order for the $50 program, that I had never shared the workbook publicly. So that’s what I’ll do in about 15 blogs this spring, probably one a week or so (with another blog about something else also about a week apart).

I will update the workbook’s contents as I go along, although I’m always surprised at how much the basic components remain about the same, as technology rushes by and there are many other ways to share the context than on audio cassettes or DVDs!

Why not start with a guideline, then an agenda, a roadmap of what you can except this spring?

One guideline for success in seminaring is:

“Sell hard-to-find but easy-to-apply information to participants who perceive that it will meet their need.”

And an agenda I will follow:

1. Introduction
2. Brief definition and overview of seminars and the potential income
3. Eight kinds of seminars; three that we will focus on here: public institutional seminars, private business/corporate seminars, and public self-sponsored seminars
4. How do you find a subject?
5. The guideline above and how that seems to help
6. Feasibility study: learn from others
7. Writing a description
8. Creating a title
9. Identifying a market most likely to pay to attend
10. Selecting the most appropriate sponsor–or doing it yourself
11. Income boosters, like B.O.R. sales
12. Workbooks
13. Booking, price, time, location, and promotion
14. What you do before your listeners arrive
15. What you do after they have left

If you’re still interested, I hope to “speak” with you next week. (You are invited to tell friends about it too.)

Best wishes,

Gordon Burgett

Excerpted, modified, and expanded from the workbook for Gordon Burgett’s “How to Set Up and Market Your Own Seminar” (audio CD version, 2009, with digital workbook and audio text summary). Produced by Communication Unlimited, P.O. Box 845, Novato, CA 94947. (800) 563-1454 or info@GordonBurgett.com/order3.htm.

Sample newspaper releases for a public seminar (#12 of 12)

Here are two typical newspaper releases I sent simultaneously to every newspaper within about 50 miles of the location, usually addressed to the city editor. They were sent about 2 1/2 weeks before the program. (I have altered some of the numbers.)

Item 1:


Communication Unlimited
P.O. Box XXX, Novato, CA 94947
Email gordon@gordonburgett.com
Web site www.gordonburgett.com
(800) XXX-1454

Release date: by Sept. 7

“How to Set Up and Market Your Own Seminar” will be given at the Sheraton Santa Barbara next Tuesday evening, Sept. 8, from 6-10 p.m. by Gordon Burgett, who presents 100+ seminars a year throughout California.

Gordon focuses on the key requirements for seminar success, marketing, pricing, scheduling, promotion, content, and follow-up. Program participants also receive a step-by-step, 26-page workbook. For specific registration information, call (800) XXX-1454.

“There’s still plenty of room for the beginner in the field,” says Burgett, a Novato writer and former university dean with 1,700+ articles and 43 books in print, “particularly if they can clearly present ‘how-to’ information that others need and want. In fact, it may be the only multibillion-dollar industry where the average man and woman can still get a firm, profitable toehold. Most just need to know how to get started.” Gordon has given 2,100+ paid public presentations.

– 30 –

I also included in the same envelope a short one-paragraph insertion for use in the daily or weekly activities section. Very often if Item 1 wasn’t used, Item 2 was—and many times both appeared.

Item 2: to use in the “Calendar of Coming Events” section:


“How to Set Up and Market Your Own Seminar,” by Gordon Burgett, Sheraton Santa Barbara, Sept. 8, 6-10 p.m. For specific registration information, call (800) XXX-1454.

Why did I use the name Harold Smith in the return address? A newspaper editor, and friend, told me early on if I sent the press releases in my name about my own programs they wouldn’t be used! So I invented a press agent, Harold Smith. The very rare times that someone from a publication called to speak to Harold Smith I just said, “Thank you…” and answered the questions. I guess Harold and I sound alike.


This 12-unit blog program is excerpted from “How to Set Up and Market Your Own Seminar,” an audio CD four-tape program with a digital workbook and an audio text summary. More details are here.

Best wishes,

Gordon Burgett (or is it Harold Smith?)

What if 95%—or 99%—of the income from your sold products never reaches you?

Kind of hard to survive publishing and selling bound books, ebooks, or CDs, for example, if at the very moment that they come into existence some other company legally makes them available to their buyers but none (or a few pennies) of that income comes your way. Talk about a disincentive!

Yet that’s the very scenario that Minda Zetlin, President of ASJA (American Society of Journalists and Authors) describes for the music world, and asks if that’s not on the horizon for writers (and publishers)…

In The ASJA Monthly of Sept. 12, 2012, Ms. Zetlin reminds us of iTunes and Amazon where you could buy a song for 99¢ and it was yours forever. Musicians selling directly through the service got 70¢ for each song bought.

Then services like Pandora and Rhapsody let you listen to the songs whenever you wanted, as long as you were connected to the Internet.

Now, Spotify charges $10 a month to move any song you like to your playlist and hear it as long as you pay the monthly. On the Internet, off of it, or in an album—and you needn’t be on the Internet either. A million songs, to hear on your iPhone, iPod, and computer. For example, if you heard a song from guitarist Cameron Mitchell last fall, he got .4 cents every time that song was downloaded!

How might that affect writers?

Beware of the subscription model, already done by Amazon Prime. “Sooner or later, Google or someone else will come along and negotiate a subscription-based deal with the big New York publishers. And authors will likely be out in the cold, collecting the text equivalent of four tenths of a cent per song, unless we do something about it,” says Zetlin, also columnist for the Inc. magazine website and author of several books.

It’s no different for the mega-publishing industry. “From what I’ve heard,” says continues, “the major publishers are trembling in their fancy Midtown offices, in fear of losing their relevance the same way the labels have.”

How does the “wee writer” not be swept away by the tide?

One way is to be attentive and vigilant about selling rights to subscription services: either that the rights are not to be sold to the subscriptionfolk or that ebook rights are to be sold only to venues that exist today, whether you handle your rights yourself or you have an agent or lawyer do it.

As for the big houses not protecting your rights or income, remind them that you don’t need them. “After all, when it comes to authorship and copyright, the owner of the book is you,” concludes the ASJA president.

(I’ll keep my eye on this and report back by blog or in my free monthly newsletter. I’ll also tell you if somedody else is looking to swipe your .4 cents!)

Best wishes,

Gordon Burgett

Getting at least triple use from one booklet…

Two completely disconnected things happened yesterday that reminded me that if I’m going to preach empire building I should do it (and share it) too!

I faithfully attend the monthly meetings of BAIPA (Bay Area Independent Publishers Assn) the second Saturday morning each month in downtown San Rafael, CA. It’s a great place to meet fellow writer/publishers, swap how-to’s, introduce ourselves, and enjoy a key speaker (like BookBaby’s Brian Felsen two months back).

So yesterday, out of the blue, I was asked to speak at the coming session on 8/11 about “niche marketing.” (I suspect the regularly scheduled speaker died or faded and I was convenient and safe since I’ve spoken publicly 2000+ times—and I published Niche Publishing: Publish Profitably Every Time.) But I’m flattered nevertheless. It’s a great chance to preach lovingly, again, to publishers and authors, so I said “You bet!”

That set me looking through the material I had on my computer that I could (inexpensively) share with the 80-so listeners. Which led me to a long-forgotten 12-page booklet I had prepped some years back to send to book printers for a double purpose: (1) to try to get myself booked to speak to them about using the topic “niche publishing” at one of their client gatherings, and (2) to suggest (and explain quickly how) they might produce handouts to give to the participants (that they would print, with additional pages telling of their printing services…)

So here I was yesterday with the need for a quick script (or outline) for the BAIPA gathering, a desire to give them a how-to handout, and a good little booklet that might help both ways.

But why stop there, if I’m going to slightly rewrite the booklet and eliminate the printer-related info anyway? Why not make the booklet into a how-to ebook I could sell through Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords (et. al.) for a whopping 99 cents?

Why bother for 35% of 99 cents sent sometime in the remote future? Because the contents tell about the exceptional niche-publishing process that eliminates almost all of the risk, is fast, and lets the doer test their market first. And it also lets me direct (and link) those interested to four other publications that I wrote about niche publishing that will help them at key steps along their new niching way: the mother book (mentioned above, the paperback $15, the ebook at $10); “How to Test Your Niche Publishing First” (a $20 audio CD and a $10 ebook); an e-report “How to Get Your Niche Article in Print 75% of the Time” for $5, and a $1 report (or free) called “101 Niche Marketing Topics.”

So why not release a 99-cent how-to booklet telling buyers how they can make six-figure returns, almost risk free, with a new marketing approach and some two-week pretesting?

So how does that link to the BAIPA seminar? Because rather than having to print out the information I want to share, page after page, collated and stapled, and so on, I will either just give them the link to my booklet file to download free or I will give them a code that they can use on my 1 Shopping Cart web order form so they can download it free (almost instantly) to their computer.

Instead of a full workbook, I will give each participant a two-sided handout, the front in color and coated, a left-over sales flyer for Niche Publishing, on the back a Staples b/w page with my talk’s outline and all of the links I will tell them about that Saturday (including one link with all of the same links on it so they can just let their finger digitally walk).

The idea of empire building is to take a core concept (like niche marketing) and use (probably sell) the created information about it the many ways that folks like to receive and use it. To get the most contact, copy, and legitimate helping promotion out of the least reprepping of the same basic information.

Like a seminar, handout, outline, and free booklet, plus links to six salable products that continue to stretch the available tools that the interested may want.

I could even create a new list of printers nearby and send out the original booklet I found hiding in my mystery file. Maybe a speech waiting to be given there too.

I hope this helps!

Best wishes,

Gordon Burgett

Emceeing: how to write a script that works!

If you’re comfortable with your topic and audience and you enjoy speaking in public, there are just a few bases you must touch to hear a volley of “great job’s” later on. If you’re not, you may have to tape your script to your glasses and vary nary a whit from its message.

Let’s assume you are writing the script. If they hand you the text ready-to-go, read it aloud several times in front of a knowledgeable agent of the sponsor, mostly so you get the names and words right. That’s probably the best time to make modest word or paragraph changes, with their full approval.

If you’re the writer (and probably speaker), you must know

* the date, starting hour, and expected length of your script;

* the purpose of the meeting, and any unique slant they expect you to take;

* what specifically you must mention (names, officers, events, performers, schedule, sponsor names and participation, future meetings, etc.);

* any taboos you must avoid, and

* what effect they want from your conclusion.

It varies little whether you are opening a session, coordinating a performance, or drawing group conclusions from the information conveyed (or yet to be heard),

For example, let me share how I wrote (and delivered yesterday) a script on the Fourth of July at the Marin County Fair, in California. The program was given in an open-sided performance tent and was seen by several hundred under or in sight of the overhead canvas. (Here is the actual script.)

In a second. let’s look at each of the five categories.


Before I forget, if you are interested in emceeing, here are three other, related blogs and four speaking products that you should find helpful. (All but one by Gordon Burgett, who has given 2000+ paid speaking/emceeing performances.)

* “Emceeing or show planning: What to remember when prepping a one-hour presentation” (posted 8/7/12)
* “Emceeing: a full script for a two-hour show” (posted 11/4/12)
* “Emceeing: the thinking behind writing the script for the 11/4 two-hour show script” (posted 12/27/12)

* A new $4.95 ebook including the above blogs plus more how-to information is at “Emceeing, Show Planning, and Script Writing,” plus an excellent booklet, “How to Be a Great Emcee” from SpeakerNetNews ($4.85) is buyable, full of current, applicable “emceeing” information.

* “Four Special Tools That Get Speakers Booked First!” (ebook, available through order form or from Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords)
* “How to Set Up and Market Your Own Seminar” (audio seminar with workbook, available through order form)


Here are the five categories:

* the date, starting hour, and expected length of your script

The Fourth of July, starting at 1 p.m. sharp, lasting 45 minutes (but not a second longer)

* the purpose of the meeting, and any unique slant they expect you to take

My role was to introduce the Marin Golden Gate Barbershop Chorus, some 20 fellows, and to provide coordination in the presentation (telling what songs would be sung, welcoming the audience, have some vocal interplay with the singers, focus on patriotism [on America’s birthday], to introduce two quartets that gave the chorus two short singing breaks, and to frequently inject humor when appropriate. There was one logistical extra: I also sang in the chorus, so we posted a music stand to the left and a bit in front of the rosters, with a separate microphone. That way I could drop back and slide into the end of the front row, or the reverse, before and after each introduction.

* what specifically you must mention (names, officers, events, performers, schedule, sponsor names and participation, future meetings, etc.)

Mostly, I had to honor the day, wishing the crowd a Happy Birthday, speak of uniquely interesting facts related to that date, and tie my jokes into patriotism. I introduced the director and gave the first names of all quartet singers. I also invited all men to join the chorus (and sing with us at the fair again next year!); I also told them where and when we practiced, and I directed their attention to the fact flyer on the table at ground level in front of the stage. But I flat-out forgot to include the date and time of our coming Fall Show in an auditorium that was in sight of our tent. (To prevent that, create a checklist of the musts, then check it again and again. Somewhere in the editing that mention fell out.)

* any taboos you must avoid

A holiday Barbershopping crowd doesn’t want to hear swearing, religion bad-mouthed, political parties or politicians offended, or any person or thing insulted. They expect me to bring greetings, order, and perhaps some mirth. Nor are they there to see or hear much of me, so my obligation is to do my job quickly and seamlessly.

* what effect do they want from your conclusion?

In fact, since the show ended with the choir and audience singing “The Star Spangled Banner,” I really had no oral conclusion at all. The important take-aways were a spirit of fun, patriotic pleasure having heard good music robustly sung, and a sort of all-American sense of pride from being at a fair enjoying something as harmonious and American in origin as Barbershopping.

You must bring some additional tools to the emceeing role as well: vigor, a sense of total involvement, lots of smiles, looking at and speaking directly to your audience, enough movement to assure that rigor mortis has yet to set in, and hitting the pronunciations of people, songs, places, or whatever right on. You must remember to put the punch line after the set-up, and to stand tall and speak out.

That’s a reminder check-list of what the boss or sponsor usually expect.

I hope this helps when it’s your turn!

Incidentally, dredging up and telling the five funniest patriotic jokes of all time (see the script) also helped.

Best wishes,

Gordon Burgett