Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Simple Idea to Sell Books

I'm always looking for simple ideas which will help me sell more books. I find ideas in different books and articles. The foundation for most book sales are building relationships—whether in person or online. The author has to take a proactive stance to actively be on the lookout for different innovations and opportunities to sell their book.

Unfortunately many authors try and delegate this responsibility to others. Then when their book doesn't sell they blame anyone and everyone—except themselves. In Jack Canfield's The Success Principles, the first principle says, “Take 100% Responsibility for Your Life.” This principle also applies to authors who want to sell books.

Recently I read a fascinating article on John Kremer's site from David Koop called Book Marketing Makeover: Creative Marketing Nets Real Results. You can click the link and read the article but I want to point out several things that I learned from this article.

First, David Koop wrote about a topic where he has tremendous passion: beating cancer. It's a memoir called Cancer, It's a Good Thing I Got It! and a topic that many people want to know about his experience.

Also in the first paragraph, Koop reveals that he's tried many different marketing ideas for his book. It's important for every author to try different techniques. As you try these techniques, I encourage you to keep track of the results. When something works well, then do more of that particular technique. It is different for each book and each author. From my years in publishing, I know there is no magic bullet in the area of selling books. If there was such a magic bullet or consistent formula, then every publisher would use it every time. It does not exist.

Also Koop has created a business card then uses two cards when he pays a bill or pays with a meal in a restaurant. Also he gives the cards to everyone he meets when he travels. He is an evangelist for his book and telling everyone face to face about his book.

In addition, he carries his book so he is prepared to sell it if someone wants a copy.

As I read the article, I had a question, “What words are on his business card that get people to respond and order the book?” This information wasn't in his article. I went to Koop's website, wrote him a note and asked him to see the card.

In his shopping cart, Koop has created a coupon code. People love discounts and using coupons. The back of his card says, “Save 20% on book – enter coupon code “I met him.” The simple idea was brilliant and gets response.

To show you the card, I scanned the front and the back so

I can include it with this entry.

To sell more books:

*Be watching what other authors are doing

*Incorporate ideas that work into your own book marketing

I've got several different business cards but none of my cards include the coupon idea. It looks to me like a simple idea worth trying. If you do it and it works for you, let me know. I'd love to hear your comments and experiences.

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Use Speaking to Increase Your Book Sales

In many ways they seem opposite ends of the spectrum: writing and speaking. When they've tested writers and editors, the results have shown the bulk of these people are introverts. They aren't the life of the party. Instead they prefer to communicate with their keyboard or pen and paper.

Yet repeatedly I find the truth in what my friend Alex Mandossian teaches: the money in books is not in the book itself but it is in explaining the book.

One of the ways you give your book exposure and “explain” the book is through public speaking. As I've written in the past, someone has to hear about your product at least seven times before they decide to purchase it. A key part of this repeat exposure comes through speaking.

In the weeks ahead, I have a number of opportunities to speak and teach at different types of meetings. I maintain my speaking schedule at this link and continue to add new events.

Would you like to make 2012 a breakthrough year for your speaking?

I'm always looking for new resources to help you be more successful with selling your books and your writing. One of those areas could be speaking.

Last week, I learned about the Speaker Expert Teleseminar series which begins on Tuesday, January 31. If you hear the speakers during the live recording, then it is FREE but if you want to hear them on your own schedule then you can get the paid version to receive the recordings and the transcripts from the calls.

It looks like every Tuesday night for the next few weeks, the Speaker Expert Teleseminar series has a terrific line-up of teachers and topics.

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Build A Body of Work

I want to return to a basic of writing—any type of writing. Whatever you write, are you writing consistently? Are you continuing to work at building relationships with the gatekeepers (magazine editors, online editors, book editors, literary agents and other professional writers). I know it is basic but consistent writing and working at this business is critical. It rarely comes easy or quickly to any of us. In fact, we often fight the discipline and consistency of writing.

Occasionally someone will look at the volume of my own writing and exclaim, “How do you do it?” It’s just like eating an elephant, one bite at a time. As writers, we write one sentence then one page at a time. Over seven years ago, we moved to Arizona and I sorted through a lot of materials in this process and threw away unnecessary papers. I kept my magazine clips—and there are literally boxes of them. Some days I’m amazed that I’ve written over 60 books and the first one. When I Grow Up was published in 1992. In these years, I’ve been able to build a body of work. The concept of consistency and building a body of work may be new to you.

Years ago on the way to a writer’s conference, I chatted with a literary agent. I was just beginning my writing work and he encouraged me to continue building a body of work. It’s not a single book or a single magazine article but the sum of your work in publishing that eventually makes an impact. What are you doing to build a body of work? Are you writing consistently? Are you growing in your understanding of the publishing business? I confess that I learn new terms and new aspects constantly.

Some days I don’t feel like cranking out some words but I do it. As I’ve traveled the country and worked with different writers. I know some writers are inspirational writers. They only write when they feel the story in their fingers and put it on paper. Others are journeymen and professional writers. They pound the keys day in and day out—whether they feel like it or not. I fall into that latter category (most of the time). It’s helped my consistent writing.

As a young journalist training in news editorial, one summer, I interned on the Peru Tribune, a small town newspaper in Peru, Indiana. I’m fairly certain anyone I knew isn’t at the newspaper any longer. We had no computers and the typesetting was done with a Linotype machine in the back of the building. We had our story meetings at 7:30 a.m where the managing editor talked with the reporters about the stories to be written that day. In that short meeting we received our particular assigned stories, then hit it with the full knowledge of our 11 a.m. copy deadline. Our stories went quickly through the editor and appeared in the printed afternoon paper at 3 p.m. We had no time to sharpen our pencils or hem and haw about writer’s block. We had a deadline to meet—which we met day after day.

I’m committed to writing consistently. I want to keep my fingers on the keyboard and keep them moving to write articles, chapters for books and book proposals. I’m committed to building a body of work. It might not pay off immediately but in the long run, I know consistency counts.

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Make Your Best First Impression

You are enthused about your book idea and are eager to explain it to an editor or literary agent who can champion your cause and get your book published. It's been my privilege to listen to many authors pitch their book ideas at a writer's conference or in a written proposal or on the phone.

I've heard some great presentations where the author has practiced their words or refined their written words so it flows and is pointed at the perfect target. These writers are determined to make a good first impression with their idea and find someone to champion their cause. Whether they have verbalized it or not, they understand that they only get one chance to make a good first impression and they came prepared.

Also I've seen the writers who have blown their opportunity. They've stumbled with their oral presentation or the gem of their idea is over on page 10 or 20 (which will not be read by most agents because they quit after the second page). They've missed it and many of them are not even aware of what they have missed.

Over the years, I've been inside of some of the top New York literary agencies. While it may not seem like it to the novice writer, I can tell you that each of these publishing professionals are actively looking for the next bestseller. They want to find the idea which will burst on the scene and capture the imagination of the reading public. That deep-seated desire drives them to carefully listen to authors when they pitch their idea or to read hundreds of query letters and proposals.

Are you finding this agent who can champion your cause? Are you crafting the best possible book proposal to capture their attention? You will learn valuable information from going through the book proposal creation process—no matter what happens with your book idea. I can tell you the value of this process because I've written numerous book proposals. Not all of these proposals have been published but with each one, I learned some valuable skills in the creation and polishing process.

To help you in this process, I'm going to include several resources in this post. First my 12 lesson Write A Book Proposal course includes my latest teaching in this area. It is step-by-step teaching and on autoresponders so it comes automatically week after week.

Also I have a free teleseminar on proposal creation where I will be answering your questions on February 2nd. Right now you can download my free Ebook, Book Proposal Basics when you ask a question.

Finally last month I did an interview with Felice Gerwitz on her BlogTalk Radio program Information in a Nutshell. We spoke for about 30 minutes on book proposal creation. I edited through this program. You can right click and “save as” at this link. I encourage you to download the program to your computer and hear it. Or as another way to hear it, you can use this button:

First impressions are important when you pitch your book idea. Make sure you give yourself the best possible opportunity for success with an excellent proposal.

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Train Without Leaving Home

Travel can be a hassle. I know first hand since almost every month I am on the road traveling to a different event. Especially since September 11th, 2001, just getting through the airport is more complex—much less all the other elements in travel.

Despite the hassle, I'm still excited about the live events and how important they are for every writer. Over the years, I’ve written many times about the importance of a writer’s conference. There are many key insights, training and relationships that I’ve formed at these events. I have a number of events scheduled for 2012 as you can see at: http://terrylinks.com/sked I encourage you to check the link from time to time because I update it on a regular basis.

I also understand the importance of constant learning outside of conferences. In the next few weeks, I’ve created a couple of events. They require no travel and you can gain this important teaching in the comfort of your home listening to it on the telephone or on the Internet through the webcast. If at all possible, I encourage you to listen to them live. Pull out a tablet and write down the important ideas which you learn. It will be different for each person. I often find several key action items which come from each of these sections—whether I'm hosting them or attending them. I provide these resources as a key way you to grow in your skills as a writer.

January 24, 2012

Ask Rick Frishman FREE Teleseminar Of the many people I know in the publishing community, one of the key experts is Rick Frishman. Just follow this link and read his bio. The founder of Author 101 University, Rick is also a publisher.

I encourage you to ask Rick any question about why you should attend a writers conference or anything in the marketing and publicity area where he has specialized. Rick is the author of numerous books and if you register for this FREE event, then you will receive immediate access to Rick's Ebook, The Top 20 Tips for Aspiring Authors. This Ebook is loaded with valuable insights for every writer. Follow the link to register and get the details. Join Us For A Live 70-minute Teleseminar Tuesday, January 24, 2012 (8 p.m. EST/ 5 p.m. PST). If you can't attend during the live event, go ahead and register because everyone who registers will receive the replay information. Then you can download it to your computer or iPod and listen to it at your convenience.

February 2, 2012

Ask About Book Proposals FREE Teleseminar One of my passions is to teach people how to make the best possible pitch to an editor or literary agent. Over seven years ago, I wrote Book Proposals That Sell which continues to help people.

During this event, I will be answering your question about book proposal creation and marketing. When you register for this event you will receive a free copy of my Ebook, Book Proposal Basics. Follow the link to register and get the details. Join Us For A Live 70-Minute Teleseminar Thursday, February 2, 2012 (8 p.m. EST/5 p.m. PST). If you can't attend during the live event, go ahead and register because everyone who registers will receive the replay information. Then you can download it to your computer or iPod and listen to it at your convenience.

I will continue to bring these valuable training events to you on a regular basis. Each one provides valuable insights. I hope to speak with you soon.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What Is Your Postcard Strategy?

Editor’s Note: I’ve written about postcards and the importance of them for every author. I’m bringing you this excerpt to help you learn more about postcard marketing. There is much greater detail in the Postcard Marketing Handbook.

By Lina Penalosa

Allow me to save you a lot of heartache and disappointment by saying right now, don’t bother with postcard marketing if you only plan to do a single-step campaign. In fact, don’t bother with marketing at all.

I can’t tell you how many business professionals I’ve encountered who decide postcards, sales letters, TV commercials, coupons, advertisements or anything else you can think of doesn’t work in their market because they didn’t get the results they wanted after a single-step campaign.

And what’s worse is they draw these false conclusions AFTER repeated warnings from their consultants that:

• Single-step marketing rarely, if ever, works,
• You have to build relationships with your prospects before they’ll trust you enough to buy from you, and
• It often takes an average of 7 to 11 touches before a prospect can even REMEMBER seeing your message, much less do something about it

Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t expect to get decent results on your first postcard mailing. If you follow ALL of the advice in this book, you will. But I am saying if you’re thinking, “All I have to do to sell 1,000 widgets is send out A postcard,” you might want to rethink your marketing strategy.

Why? Because the more mailings you send a prospect and the more mediums you use to communicate your message, the more likely you are to enjoy a successful campaign.

Remember, POSTCARDS ARE NOT MIRACLE WORKERS. If all it took was one mailing to make all the people you desire buy or do what you wanted, there wouldn’t be much need for regular, consistent marketing much less multi-media marketing would there?

So, if you haven’t already, sit down and plan out your marketing strategy. Figure out how many different ways you can communicate with your audience and how many times you can afford to touch them over a given period of time.

Only then should you proceed with designing, writing and sending your postcard mailing.

Let me also say that if you are on a strict budget, postcards are an excellent low-cost option for multi-part mailings because of the low cost per thousand.

Reduce Your Production Time

How? By tweaking the message you already have then re-mailing. Yes, it’s important to touch your prospects multiple times and in multiple ways but that doesn’t mean you have to create a new message from scratch every single time.

On the contrary, once you find a message that works (through testing which we’ll discuss later), you’ll want to use it over and over again.

Now perhaps each piece will have a different headline, different proof points or feature a different benefit, but the USP and overall message should remain largely the same. After all, it is a series mailing and each piece should be related to the previous and subsequent ones.

Feature A Low-Cost Or No-Cost Offer

Second only to the single-mailing mistake, the worst mistake I see marketers make is trying to use a little-bitty postcard to move mountains. What do I mean? Simply that it’s not reasonable to expect a 3.5” x 5” or even a 6” x 9” postcard to sell expensive products and services. There just isn’t enough room on a postcard to persuade someone to fork over thousands or even hundreds of dollars for your product or service. That’s what long sales letters, teleseminars and other marketing mediums are used for.

Instead, your strategy should be to graduate your prospect to the next step in your sales funnel by getting them to call in, write in or fax in their request for a free or low-cost book, special report, teleseminar, CD or some other item with a high perceived value. Of course you can sell low-cost items quite effectively with postcards, but if that’s not your market, you’ll want to use the approach described above. Remember, the trick is to get your prospects in the habit of saying “yes” to you by making it easy, not by requiring an act of congress to pass a budget amendment. Got it?

About the Author: Lina Penalosa is a marketing consultant, expert copywriter and professional speaker. Her specialties include the art of the soft-sell, teaching others to write results-generating copy with integrity and purpose, and marketing to women.

Excerpted from the Postcard Marketing Handbook, How to Generate Leads, Sales, and Web Site Traffic With the Most Affordable Direct Mail Strategy on the Planet, used with permission. AddThis Social Bookmark Button

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Open A New Door for Your Writing

It's important to experiment as a writer with different types of writing. Why? Because until you try it, you never know where you will find your own area of expertise.

Maybe you love to write magazine articles for printed publications (which I recommend) or you are focused on a longer novel. Even in the middle of that type of writing, I recommend you take a little time and try other types of writing.

The experience of trying new things adds life and richness to your writing and communication. This commitment to growth and continual learning has always been a dynamic in my own writing life. It's why I continue to read how-to write books—even though I've published. Or I read online publications or Ebooks because I'm committed to trying new things.

As I've attended conferences, seminars, read books and teleseminar events, I've determined that I want to learn from experts or experienced people. The experienced people can cut your learning curve and show you how to avoid the pitfalls and discover even greater success with your writing.

It's one of the reasons I continue to write these entries in The Writing Life and bring you experienced resources. Almost five years ago, I met Ellen Violette at Mega Book Marketing University in Los Angeles. She was teaching one of her early live events yet I could see that Ellen knew her topic: Ebooks. Known at the Ebook Coach, Ellen has had her own success with Ebooks and taught many others about this area of writing.

To help you learn about Ebooks, Ellen has agreed to teach a free event on Wednesday about The 7 Biggest Mistakes that People Make Authoring an Ebook and How to Avoid Them.This one hour event is free and will be rich with content and ready-to-apply information. I encourage you to register for it.

As a part of the registration, you will receive a link to a study guide. Print the study guide and attend this training opportunity on Wednesday, January 18th at 4 p.m. PST/ 5 p.m. MST/ 6 p.m. CST/ 7 p.m. EST.

If you can't make the live event, go ahead and register because you will receive the exclusive link to the training which you can download to your computer or iPod—and still catch all of the information.

Ellen is a true expert in this topic of Ebooks. This training can open a new door for your writing. Hope to speak with you during this live event.

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Monday, January 16, 2012

5 Keys For Getting Word Of Mouth Traffic

By Jimmy D. Brown of iBusiness Owner

One of the most powerful, high-converting forms of traffic that you can generate is via word-of-mouth. Think about it for a

When you use traditional advertising, you’re basically tooting your own horn. People tend to be a bit on the skeptical side with regards to your products or services. They put their defensive walls up. They think, “Well of course he’d say that – he’s trying to sell me something!”

But now imagine that this same prospect receives your advertising message from a friend. Maybe the friend says, “Wow – you need to check out that new sports memorabilia store on 10th Avenue. You’ll LOVE it!”

Will this prospect check it out? You bet! And that’s because someone he knows and trusts made the recommendation.

You understand now why word of mouth marketing is so powerful – and why you’ll want to make sure you put it to work for your business, too. Here’s how:

1. Create something worth talking about. People won’t talk about your business if it’s not buzz worthy. So if it’s not naturally buzz worthy (i.e., worth talking about), then need to create something for people to talk about.


• A publicity stunt. Kick start the viral effect by sending out press releases, using social media to spread the word and advertising it.

• A contest. A big, exciting contest with awesome prizes tends to create a buzz. But if you create a contest that includes a referral com
ponent (e.g., “get an extra chance to win by telling your friends”), then your contest becomes even more buzz worthy.

• Something controversial or even offensive. Be careful with this one, as doing it the wrong way can alienate your prospects. But do it right, and you’ll draw then closer. For examples, just look at what partisan political commentators say on their radio shows and on their blogs.

• Something extremely unique, useful or entertaining. Here you can create a useful tool, report, video or other resource that your prospects are likely to pass around.

• An amazing deal. Create coupon codes to offer a “once in a lifetime” deal – then watch your prospects share these co
des with their friends!

2. Make it easy to share. In other words, don’t create hoops.

Example: If you’ve created a viral video, then put it on YouTube.com so that people can access it and share it easily.

3. Give an incentive to encourage sharing. If you create something share-worthy (like a humorous video), people will naturally share it. But if you give people an incentive to share it, you’ll get even better results.

Example: The online bank ING often runs a referr
al promotion. The person who gets the referral receives $25 if they open a new bank account. But the person who provides the referral also gets an incentive if his friend joins: Namely, he too gets $25 deposited into his account.

4. Provide a call to action. Whether you’re incentivizing your word of mouth campaign or not, you still need to provide a
call to action. This is where you specifically tell your prospects and customers to share your marketing message.


• “Tell your friends about our new line of products and you’ll receive 5% off your next purchase every time one of your referrals becomes a paying customer!”

• “Give your Facebook friends a laugh – click here now to share this video!”

5. Offer tools to make sharing easy. Finally, you can offer tools to make it easy for your customers and prospects to tell their friends. Examples of tools include:

• Business cards, flyers or paper coupons that people can distribute.
• Social bookmarking buttons.
• “Tell a friend” forms.
• Facebook and other social media widgets (so people can share with one click).

And there you have it: Five keys to unleashing the power of word-of-mouth marketing.

Of course this is just one way to expand your market reach. When you join the iBusiness Owner site today, you’ll discover plenty of other ways. Plus you’ll discover other ways to increase your market reach, get new customers and make more money. So visit http://www.ibusinessowner.com to
see what it’s all about – do it now, because you won’t be disappointed!

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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Why Do You Write?

By Cecil Murphey

Why do you want to write? What pushes or compels you to keep on writing even though you receive rejection after rejection?

Those are the two major questions I’ve often asked writers at the more than 250 conferences where I’ve spoken or taught continuing classes over the past thirty-five years.

The conferees’ responses vary, but the first ones usually begin with high-sounding tones—as if they want to please me, the teacher, or out of a desire to sound erudite. More than once someone has said, “I want to light the way for others to follow.”

Another said, “I see writing as a high and holy occupation because we’re committed to save the world from ignorance.”

That’s commendable—and maybe even true—but I knew those weren’t the deepest reasons.

“I write to make sense of the world,” one man insisted.

“Sounds profound,” I said. “Perhaps a little too profound for me.”

He added that he had so much chaos in his daily living that writing was one way he could make sense of his life. When I pushed him to explain further, he admitted he had read the statement in a book, liked it, and was satisfied with that as an answer.

A woman at a conference in Tennessee held up a laminated 3x5 card she kept in her purse. She said that the words, a quotation from Henry James, inspired her every time she read them. She later mailed me a copy:

To live in the world of creation—to get into it and stay in it—to frequent it and haunt it—to think intensely and fruitfully—to woo combinations and inspirations into being by a depth and continuity of attention and meditation—this is the only thing. I read the quotation many times before copying it here (with her permission). The only thing? That statement seems extreme, although I’m sure some people find the quotation inspirational. The words sound noble and probably inspire others, but they don’t do anything for me. Perhaps I’m too much of a pragmatist.

To get beyond such lofty language, about five years ago I started opening my lectures this way: “Why do you want to write? While you think about your answer, I’m going to give you several reasons I write. After that, I’ll listen to your responses.”

As soon as they focused their attention on me, I said, “I write because I’m so full of myself, I believe the world is waiting to read my brilliant thoughts.”

They laughed, a few nodded, and all seemed to know what I meant. I went on to explain that I also write because I’m driven to share my thoughts and insights on life.

“I’m a needy guy, and out of my need to feel appreciated, valued, and affirmed, I write,” I say. “That’s as simple and direct as I can put it. Our needs express who we are, what we lack, what we yearn for. All of us feel deficient in some ways.”

I make one additional statement that seems to give several conferees the freedom to speak. “Writing is one way to compensate for my feelings of inadequacy.”

The conferees relax. They no longer need to impress me with lofty statements. They’re ready to give me gut-level responses.

Sometimes, to push them to think deeper, I add, “I write to resolve issues and explore possibilities. At times, it’s a form of therapy. I’ve learned so much from my inward exploring, I’ve probably saved half-a-million dollars in therapist’s fees by being a writer.”

They usually laugh again.

Finally, before I allow them to respond, I write one sentence on the board or flip chart:

I write to find out who I am.

Then I wait.

The hands start waving, and they yell out the kind of things I like to hear. From my perspective, they finally speak from deep inside themselves. This is no longer an exam where they have to voice the right answer to please the teacher; they don’t have to sound noble, sophisticated, or even spiritual.

Occasionally someone will say, “I want to have a book to use as a way to open up a public-speaking career.”

That’s certainly a legitimate answer.

Most of them, however, have deeply personal reasons for writing. “I want to share what I know.”

“I have things to say to enrich others.”

“Writing broadens my life. The more I write and ponder,” one man said, “the more I understand human nature, God, and the world in which I live.”

“Writing satisfies my creative urge.”

“I just have to do it!” one woman yelled. “Many times I tell myself I’ll never write another word, but within a day or two I’m pounding the keyboard again.”

It’s interesting that “to make money” rarely appears on their list of reasons.

Why do you write?

About the Author: New York Times best-selling author and international speaker Cecil Murphey has written or co-written more than 120 books including the runaway bestseller 90 Minutes in Heaven with Don Piper.

Excerpted from Unleash the Writer Within by Cecil Murphey, OakTara © 2011 Used with Permission

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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Cast a Big Vision

Editor’s Note: This article is the fifth in the Content into Consistent Income Series. Here are the links to the other articles: Use Your Content in a New Way, How to Keep Them Coming Back, Set It and Forget It and Be More Than a One-Hit Wonder.

If you’ve followed the Content into Consistent Income Series, then you already know that there’s a truckload of profits waiting for you on the backend of your site. That is, you can make extra money by offering more products and even more expensive complimentary products to your members.

Now, one option is to be an affiliate for related products and services. The better option is to create these products yourself. That way, you keep 100% of your profits.

Here’s what I suggest: While you’re planning your first membership site, you should also simultaneously plan what complimentary products you’ll sell on the backend. And one way to make money on the backend is by creating a family of related sites and linking them together.

Let me give you an example from my friend and mentor Jimmy D. Brown. He runs the following two membership sites:

InfoProductPipeline.com – this site teaches to create an entire empire of information products that you can offer for $17, $47, $97, $997, $1,497 and even more.

Traffic-Fuel.com – This site teaches how to get completely free traffic to any website.

You can see why linking these sites together (cross-selling them on the backend) works. Any marketer needs to learn how to create content, so they join Contentnaire™.

Every marketers – even if they create their own products – will want to drive free traffic to those products so they will join Traffic-Fuel to learn how to get bigger paychecks.

Tip: The advantage of creating a family of sites goes beyond merely having something to sell on the backend. A family of sites also helps you develop your brand and grow your brand recognition. And that means more sales, more customers and more profits.

Now let me give you a few examples of how you can create a family of membership sites around a related niche (or even around a singular topic):

• Let’s suppose you run a health site on the topic of lowering one’s blood pressure. You might also create sites around similar problems, such as lowering cholesterol levels and leading a heart-healthy lifestyle.

• Maybe you run a training site that teaches people how to housetrain their new puppy and teach him basic manners (sit, stay, etc). You might create another site focused on getting rid of problem behaviors such as jumping, biting, digging and similar. Your third site might be for those who want to teach their dogs tricks. You might even create another sites centered around dog agility.

• You run a homeschooling site that focuses on delivering lesson plans and ideas for math. You can create a family of sites on other topics such as science, English and history. Or, you can offer homeschooling lessons by grade (e.g., 7th grade, 8th grade, 9th grade, etc).

When you’re building your first membership site, ask yourself: What ELSE do my customers want?

Do your market research to find out what other products they’re currently buying. Then create a family of sites around related topics. It’s the quick and easy way to tap into the backend profits… on autopilot!

Are you ready to get started? I wrote this series of articles to show you how to start your own membership site. I invite you to check out the details and start your own site through the Simple Membership System. You can have a big vision for your writing and it begins with one small action step.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Be More Than a “One-Hit Wonder”

Editor’s Note: This article is the fourth in the Content into Consistent Income Series. Here are the links to the other articles: Use Your Content in a New Way, How to Keep Them Coming Back and Set It and Forget It.

Many authors are focused on a single book idea. They craft a book proposal and pitch it over and over. Yet if you think about the publisher’s perspective, they are looking for authors with multiple book ideas or more than a “one-hit wonder.”

In this Content Into Consistent Income Series, I’ve been talking about the merits of a membership site. I’m going to use a personal example of how you can become more than a one-hit wonder with your topic.

About eight years ago as a frustrated acquisitions editor, I wrote Book Proposals That Sell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success. This book continues to help writers and has 100 Five Star reviews on Amazon. I sell the Ebook version. Yet I knew I could do more with this important topic to writers. At any moment, there are millions of proposals and manuscripts in circulation in the offices of publishers and literary agents. Unfortunately many of them are poorly crafted and have no understanding of the importance of the pitch. You have seconds to catch the interest—and it involves work and understanding the audience for your pitch (an editor or an agent).

I took my experience and some of the content in Book Proposals That Sell and repurposed it into a membership course called Write A Book Proposal. My book is different from the course because the book is a series of secrets or insights about proposals where the course is much more step-by-step creation of an excellent book proposal—yet each one is focused on the same topic.

Can you take your book or something that you regularly teach or speak about and repurpose your content into a membership course? The membership course can be a critical element in what some people call your backend and position you in the market as more than a "One-Hit Wonder."

When you first thought about opening a membership site, you probably spent at least a little time crunching the numbers.

Example: You did calculations like this: If you have 200 members each paying you $50 a month, that’s $10,000 per month. Or if you open multiple membership sites, charge $27, and get 500 members, that’s $13,500 per month. Or maybe your goal was 1000 members across one or more sites each paying $19 per month, which puts $19,000 in your pocket.

Chances are, however, you stopped calculating when you figured out that final front-end figure. But here’s the thing: That “final” figure only tells half the story. If you’re only taking into consideration your front end profits, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table.

You see, some of the easiest money you’ll ever make is by selling more products and even more expensive products to your existing customers on the backend.

Consider this: If you put up a good sales letter for your membership site, you may convert anywhere from 2% to 5% of your visitors. So if 100 people walk through your virtual door, two to five of them will become members.

Now let’s say you have 100 members paying you $20 per month (that’s $2000 per month). These 100 members are going to be open to your other offers, meaning you’ll likely convert in the double digits. So perhaps you offer these 1000 members a $50 ebook – you may find 20% (20 members) taking advantage of the offer, which puts an extra $1000 in your pocket.

With just one offer you boosted your income by 50%, simply by selling a product to your existing customers! Now imagine if you did this with 500 customers… 1000 customers… or more. You can see the possibilities!

Now in order to tap into these backend profits, you need to offer something that complements but does not compete with your membership site. One of the best ways to do this is to recommend related products from within each lesson. That is, you tell your members where to get more information on a topic that you’re not covering in depth.


• Let’s suppose your membership site teaches people how to create and market their own products. And let’s suppose you get to the topic of search engine marketing. You may go into depth on the topic of SEO, but refer your members to another product in order to learn more about PPC marketing.

• Your general “how to adopt a child” site might refer members to specific sites or products if they want to adopt children from specific countries, such as Guatemala or China.

• You might refer your dog obedience and training members to a “trick training” book (since you’re not covering that topic in the site).

• Your weight-loss site might refer people to an ebook that covers weight loss supplements, herbs and vitamins in depth.

Another way to make money on the backend is by recommending that your members buy a specific tool in order to complete a task.


• During the lesson on SEO (search engine optimization), you may recommend that your readers purchase a WordTracker.com subscription.

• You’re teaching people how to do build and profit from a mailing list. You recommend Aweber.com.

• You’re teaching people how to repaint a classic muscle car. You recommend a specific store (using your affiliate link) where people can pick up the sanding and painting supplies.

• Your golf site might point people towards buying a specific set of clubs.

There’s a fortune that lays hidden in the backend of your membership site.

You can tap into this fortune by regularly making related, complimentary offers to your existing members!

I’ve written this article to show you the potential for the Simple Membership System. Get yours today and begin building your backend so you are not a one-hit wonder. Finally watch for my final article in this Content into Consistent Income Series where I explain how to create a family of sites.

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Saturday, January 07, 2012

You Can Set It and Forget It

Editor’s Note: This article is the third in the Content into Consistent Income Series. Here are the links to the first article (Use Your Content in a New Way) and second one (How to Keep Them Coming Back).

Quick, what is it about a running a membership site that makes you NOT want to run one? If you’re like most marketers, the idea of being chained to your computer week after week delivering content is a major downside.

When you first got online, you probably had dreams of living the “Internet lifestyle.” You couldn’t wait to get away from the daily grind and job responsibilities. And yet if you run a membership site, it can feel like a job. You can’t see yourself running off to play on some exotic beach when you need to upload content at least once a week or more.

One alternative is to outsource this task. That is, you hire someone else to upload the content every week when you’re not available. But outsourcing comes with it’s own problems – namely, you need to have 100% trust your freelancer to upload the content on time.

So if you haven’t yet developed a relationship with a freelancer, you probably won’t feel comfortable leaving your business (and your customers’ satisfaction) in a stranger’s hands.

Now before you toss aside the idea of ever having a vacation while running a membership site, let me give you two game-changing words: Autoresponder delivery.

You see, with a traditional membership site (like a Private Label Rights (PLR) site), all members get the exact same content. So the person who just joined today is going to get the same content this month as the person who’s been a member for a year. Next month, everyone gets the same content again.

Obviously, this doesn’t make sense if you’re running a training site. That is, you want everyone to start with lesson #1 and get the lessons in order. So the person who joins today gets lesson #1. Meanwhile, the longtime member may be getting lesson #50.

The solution? A true “set it and forget it” model, which you can achieve by delivering all the content using an autoresponder.

Here’s how it works…

1. You create content for your entire course. So if you have a yearlong course with weekly lessons, you’d create 52 lessons. If you have a three month course with weekly lessons, you’d create 12 lessons.

2. Load your course into your autoresponder. Next, you need to get an autoresponder through a service like Aweber.com or GetResponse.com. Simply load up your messages into your autoresponder. Set the first lesson to go out immediately after the customer joins the course. Set each subsequent message to go out on a weekly basis.

3. Create a sales letter. Now create your sales letter and insert your order button (from a payment processor that accepts recurring billing, such as PayPal).

4. Drive traffic to your site. Here you can use all the usual methods of driving traffic, such as affiliate and joint venture partners, content marketing, pay per click marketing, social media marketing and similar.

5. Play golf (or whatever). Now the members roll in and your autoresponder takes care of the rest, leaving you free to do what you want!

Just imagine: You could set up multiple autoresponder-based, fixed-term membership sites. Just set one up, drive traffic and move on to setting up the next one. Rinse and repeat until you’re making as much money as you want! You can learn the full story on how to establish your own membership site with the Simple Membership System.

In my next article in this
Content into Consistent Income Series, I’m going to show you how to create a backend offer. Watch for it in a few days.

As you can tell, I believe there is huge potential for every reader through the Simple Membership System. It gives you the ability to set it up and forget it.

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Thursday, January 05, 2012

How to Keep Them Coming Back

In my first article in the Content into Consistent Income series, you’ll notice that I gave an example of a 12 week course. That was no accident.

You see, most people who think of “membership sites” think of content that’s delivered weekly or monthly… indefinitely. Members pay month after month and the owners deliver month after month.

This works fairly well if you’re running a PLR (Private Label Rights) membership site or something similar. Many of you will not even know what I’m talking about here so it’s not the type of site that writers and authors would create. The majority of you will want to create some sort of training site. Your members are going to drift away if you just give them tips and tricks indefinitely. And they might even bail out a couple months after joining, simply because there’s no end in sight.

So here’s what you do instead…

Create a fixed-term membership site. This is a site that runs for a specific period of time, such as three months, six months, twelve months… or any length of your choosing.

Tip: For best results, create a step-by-step series as described in Part 1 of this article.

Here’s why this works…

Imagine if your site went on indefinitely. Someone might join and after a couple months quit. That’s pretty normal. But if the course only stretches out for six months, psychologically the customers will feel better if they just remain a member for the entire six months. They want to see through to the end.

This is actually a Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) trick. Simply put, people don’t like unfinished business. That’s why they’ll even read books they don’t like or watch boring movies – once they’ve invested some time into the activity, they want to see it through to the end.

While just creating a fixed term site created this psychological commitment to your course, you can make the commitment even stronger by building anticipation for the upcoming lessons. That is, from the very first lesson you work on “selling” the other lessons. Like this:

  • Build anticipation for the whole course in lesson #1. Your first lesson should include an overview of all the lessons. But don’t just write it out like a table of contents. Instead, write it like bullet points to a sales letter.

Example: “In Lesson #3 you’ll discover a simple trick that will triple your conversion rate!” In other words, arouse curiosity whenever possible.

  • Build anticipation for the next lesson at the end of each lesson. At the end of each lesson you’ll want to include something like, “Stay tuned for next week’s lesson, where you’ll find out the secrets of creating cash-pulling headlines!”
  • Build anticipation for future lessons and bonuses periodically. Finally, from time to time you should remind members of upcoming lessons. For example, in lesson #5 you might remind members of a particularly valuable lesson or bonus that you’re offering in lesson #9. Again, write it like a sales letter bullet, where you arouse curiosity and put forth a benefit.

The biggest challenge in running a membership site is retaining members.

With a typical membership site, your members may only stick around for two or three months. But you can quickly and easily ensure that more of your members stay around for six months, twelve months or even longer by creating a fixed-term membership site!

I’ve got complete information about how you can launch your own membership course in my Simple Membership System. Check it out today and think about how you can use your own content for such a system.

Finally watch for my next article in this Content into Consistent Income series, I’m going to show you how you can set up your membership site and forget it.

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Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Use Your Content In a New Way

If you write on a regular basis (magazine articles, blog, or books), then you are constantly generating a steady stream of content. If you speak on a regular basis or teach on any subject, then you have a wealth of material.

This article is the first of several to give you some ideas how you can turn this material into a new source of consistent income. I’ve written in the past about repurposing your content but with your own membership site, you take remaking your content to a new level of potential. I’m suggesting you start your own membership site. In fact, I’ve developed a complete product to show you much more indepth than this short article. Here’s where you can learn about the Simple Membership System.

The first step is to select your niche and your topic.

Now think about this for a moment…

Your goal is to get members to happily pay you month after month for content. Obviously, that means you need to:

Over-deliver with quality content. You want your members to feel like they’re getting a steal for the price.

Give your members what they want. If you’re just starting your site, then look to the top-selling products in your niche to see what your target market is already paying for.

But here’s something else…

In order to get your members paying month after month, you need to be able to make them look forward to each upcoming lesson. And the best way to do that is by creating a membership site around a step-by-step process. That is, your lessons teach your members how to achieve a specific result.

You see, if you just provide tips and tricks for your members, there’s no sense of continuity. Your members don’t develop as strong of a psychological commitment to staying a member, because they won’t have a need to see the course through until the end.

Now imagine having numbered steps and lessons instead. When someone is receiving lesson 10 of a step-by-step process, they’ve made an investment of time and money into learning the process – so they are less likely to “bail” before they’ve received all the steps.

Let me give you a few examples of sites that teach a specific achievement or result using a step-by-step process:

• How to start an online business.
• How to write a sales letter.
• How to choose, train and raise a puppy.
• How to adopt a child.
• How to homeschool your child.

Now let me give you an example of what a 12-week online marketing course might look like:

Step 1: Choose a niche.
Step 2: Market research.
Step 3: Plan your sales funnel.
Step 4: Get a domain and hosting.
Step 5: Get an autoresponder.
Step 6: Write your autoresponder messages.
Step 7: Create a squeeze page.
Step 8: Product creation part 1 – research and outline.
Step 9: Product creation part 2 – create and polish.
Step 10: Create a sales letter.
Step 11: Drive traffic – free methods
Step 12: Drive traffic – paid methods.

Notice how each step builds on the previous step.

It starts with a member not even having an idea for a niche… and ends with the member driving traffic to a sales letter and making money.

In other words, if the member completes the steps as the course progresses, he or she should be able to enjoy a specific achievement or result by the end of the course.

Note: The above example is a 12-week course. Naturally, you could easily stretch this out to a year or more by creating more steps and more in-depth steps. You could go on indefinitely as long as you kept providing more advanced info as the course progressed.

One final tip…

To keep your customers happy, make sure that they are progressing and enjoying results right from the beginning.

Example: If you create a yearlong course, don’t stretch out the process for a year. Instead, give the step-by-step instructions your customers need to experience some type of results immediately (within a few weeks or month after joining) and then provide more in-depth instructions as the course progresses.

In short: Satisfy your customers’ needs for instant gratification while still providing the continuity that will keep them as a member. You’ll learn more about that in Part 2 of this series.

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Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Meet A Lover of Words

While many people recognize my years in the book publishing business, I spend years as a magazine editor and a journalist writing for different print publications.

I was an editor at a missionary publication called In Other Words which was the flagship publication for Wycliffe Bible Translators. In Other Words was a member of the Evangelical Press Association and because I was the editor of the magazine, the various staff members were active members of the EPA.

Often during these years I was able to attend the annual conventions of the Evangelical Press Association. These meetings were held in different locations in the U.S. and involved listening to keynote speakers who challenged us to be better editors and also attend workshops to improve our craft as editors.

As a part of these conventions, we got to visit with our fellow editors and exchange stories and experiences. I always looked forward to these gatherings with several hundred colleagues as almost like attending an annual reunion.

One of the regular attendees to these conventions is someone who is now a bestselling author Jerry B. Jenkins. At times a number of us would get together and play games like Scrabble. Late one night I learned first-hand about one of Jerry’s skills.

He is a lover of words and grew up in a family who loved solving puzzles. In fact, he is a world-class Scrabble player. I mean the type of player who knows the three letter words and the critical game-winning strategic thinking for Scrabble. To make things “fair” Jerry played against three of us. Three editors against Jerry didn’t seem like it was fair in some ways—except even three editors working as a team were whipped that night. Talk about a lesson in humility!

Over the years, I’ve had some terrific opportunities to interview Jerry for different magazine articles. I have cherished each opportunity because I learn so much more than I’m able to build into the magazine article which I eventually complete.

Now on January 5th, I again have an opportunity to ply Jerry with questions—except this time the majority of questions will come from you. Will you take advantage of this opportunity?

If you could ask Jerry B. Jenkins, the bestselling author who has sold over 70 million books—any question about writing or marketing for the Christian writer. What would be your question?

Take 30 seconds and think about it and type in your question along with your first name and primary email address. I hope it’s one of the questions that I will use when I interview Jerry.

Anyone can ask a question at: www.askjerryjenkins.com and register for the free live 70-minute telewebcast on Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 5 p.m. PST or 8 p.m. EST. Every registrant will receive a free 24-page Ebook, Pursuing Publication, an excerpt from Jenkins Writing for the Soul.

Don’t have time to listen during the workday? The event will be recorded and every registrant will receive access to the replay links which can be downloaded to a computer or iPod.

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