Fab Friday Finds: How to Build an Author Empire

How to Build an Author Empire by Frances Caballo

This is my fourth installment of Fab Friday Finds. This week I share Gordon Burgett’s tips on how he build his author empire.


I recently attended a Bay Area Independent Publishers Association meeting, and the featured speaker was Gordon Burgett.

Gordon has enjoyed tremendous success in the publishing world, and I was eager to hear him talk about how authors can expand their books to build an author empire. (If you think this post is only useful for nonfiction writers, keep reading to the end.)

Gordon clearly knows what he’s talking about. To paraphrase his Amazon Author Central profile, he’s written “1700+ published articles and 46 books, plus 18 for and with others.” In addition, Gordon has “given 2000+ paid speeches, and probably almost as many free talks along the way.”

He’s a busy man. Here were his main points:

What’s an empire?
He began by defining the term empire. According to Gordon, an empire is based on your expertise that you establish first through your writing and then your speaking opportunities. Your books have the potential to establish you as an expert in your field.

Define your expertise.
In other words, define a problem and then solve it. You’ll also need to determine the beneficiaries, in other words, the demographic for which you are writing.

Give your core book a purpose.
It’s important to think of keywords when determining a title and subtitle and to secure the corresponding domain name as soon as possible. Consider blogging your book first by writing a series of blog posts and then pulling that information together in the form of a book.

Create derivative books.
Once you write your book, create a list of a dozen or more books related to the topic of your main book.

Market your book through various means.
Once your book is published, pursue opportunities to speak, consult, create booklets, produce videos, and, of course, use social media to continue to market your book. Gordon said he was amazed by the number of times a booklet, which he’d sell for $2, resulted in book sales. The booklets served as a marketing tool and as a stimulus for future sales.

Clearly, Gordon’s talk was best suited for nonfiction writers. He has enjoyed tremendous success prior to the advent of social media, so social media was a bit of a footnote in his talk.

Learn more from Gordon by visiting his blog.

11 Ways to Apply Gordon’s Tips to Fiction Authors

Fiction writers can also build empires. Here are my suggestions:

  1. Use social media to reach your demographic.
  2. Host contests.
  3. Pick up swag items at writer’s conferences you attend as well as swag items you purchase. Make sure that the T-shirts, cups, pens or bags your purchase are consistent with your branding.
  4. Look for speaking opportunities. You can look for these with book groups, bookstores and even business groups.
  5. Talk to high school creative writing classes.
  6. Speak to parents’ groups about the importance of literacy and encouraging kids to read and write.
  7. Look for opportunities to share your successes at writer’s conferences.
  8. Join a blogging team with your colleagues who write in your genre.
  9. Consider writing sequels and then selling the books in boxed sets.
  10. Sell T-shirts and mugs on your website that promote your brand. The printed messages can be the name of a best-selling book you wrote or a fun message about your genre.
  11. Look for stores other than bookstores where you can sell your books. Perhaps a lingerie store will sell one of your bestselling romance books. You never know until you ask.
Use social media to reach your demographic via CaballoFrancesClick To Tweet
Once you publish, look for speaking opportunities via @CaballoFrancesClick To Tweet

Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, continue to look for ways to grow your empire, inspire your readers, and further your brand on and off the Internet.

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Frances Caballo- Author of Avoid Social Media Time SuckAbout the Author: Frances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. You can receive a free copy of her book Twitter Just for Writers by signing up for her newsletter. Connect with Frances on FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterest, and Google+. Be sure to check out my Social Media for Authors Podcast.

Practical Tips for Marketing Your Books on the Social Web

Comments

  1. My heavens, Frances, what a nice comment and summary. You deserve a crown. I copied your 11 ways to apply my ideas to fiction writers–solid ideas, light in a field where I am particularly dim!

    • I am so glad you liked the post and my suggestions for fiction authors. By all means, share my ideas with the groups you talk to. I hope they prove helpful to others!

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