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Building the World’s Biggest Book Empire

(FeatureSource) When it comes to leveraging books into businesses, no author is better known or more respected than Mark Victor Hansen of “Chicken Soup for the Soul” and ”One Minute Millionaire” fame.

But even though more than 80 million books have already been sold under the “Chicken Soup” brand, the complete empire takes in far more territory—audio books, greeting cards, branded merchandise, board games, calendars, a television series, music CDs and even pet food.

Hansen—and a few savvy authors like him—have developed for writers and authors a message that’s clear: It’s not just a book anymore. It’s a business.

Big business.

In fact, with new technologies and super-sophisticated marketing strategies, even new authors can create a robust and far-reaching global empire.


“Start with a plan,” says Hansen. “Turning your expertise into a book and then into dozens of additional profit streams is surprisingly simple to do. But regrettably, few would-be authors launch their books with this empire model in mind.”

Consider the simple effort of turning your book into an audio-cassette program. Hansen protégé Cynthia Kersey, author of “Unstoppable,” created an eight-tape course in just one weekend—then went on to parlay that course into $500,000 worth of retail sales and a stint on the Home Shopping Network. She now conducts training and coaching programs for individuals who want to reach a specific business or personal goal.

Or consider author David Bach, expert behind the “New York Times” best seller “The Automatic Millionaire.” He turned his book into a six-week telephone seminar (teleseminar) series that helps consumers fix their finances. While Bach had written numerous other books over the years, the teleseminar series—and the premise that he could turn people into millionaires—landed him on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” within days of completing the series (and just in time for his book to be released in bookstores).

Super-savvy authors market their book via city-by-city promotional seminars, creating buzz and earning cash—as Hansen and Allen did with their “One Minute Millionaire” one-day workshops.

Regrettably, few if any authors even know about this business model—let alone the steps they need to start making money from these highly lucrative areas.

For readers who want to start early on the process, Hansen offers these tips:

1. Build a brand using free publicity. Hansen and his “Chicken Soup” co-author Jack Canfield used the power of the press release to promote the books everywhere. They soon parlayed that print exposure into a syndicated column seen in more than 150 newspapers worldwide. Licensed retail products soon followed.

2. Sell millions of books through special sales. All kinds of groups will buy books in volume, and become more open to additional opportunities including training programs and more, as a result.

3. Transform your expertise into high-priced training programs and other profit centers, including home-study courses, boot camps, subscription consulting, train-the-trainer programs and more.

4. Take your expertise to the Internet. Using e-newsletters, e-books, one-page Web sites that sell specific packaged materials and other e-marketing strategies, authors can almost instantly broadcast their name and expertise around the world.

5. Start speaking for mega profits. Even unknown authors can sell thousands of dollars’ worth of high-priced packages and programs from the platform, with the right sales techniques.

“Writing a great book that captures the market’s imagination is just 10 percent of the effort you need to make,” concludes Hansen. “Marketing and extending your brand is the other 90 percent.”

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