AuthorMBA: Conversations About Book Marketing, Publishing, Author Platforms, and Other Business Strategies for Authors (general)

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Joining me today is veteran CEO Jane Miller. Jane has a distinguished career as a President and CEO for major brands. She was Present of a $1 billion division of Frito-Lay at age 36. She was also the Present of Heinz in London. Most recently, Jane was the CEO and President of Rudi’s Organic Bakery, a private-equity backed company based in Boulder, CO. For almost the last twenty years, she has been the most senior woman at every company she worked for. Jane has taken that vast business experience and distilled it into her book, Sleep Your Way to The Top: And Other Myths About Business Success. In our conversation, Jane opens up about why she choose to write a book now, how this book fits into the next phase of her career, and what she’s learned about the publishing business as a first-time author. After the show, find us on Twitter @WinningEdits or #authormba with your questions and comments. Enjoy!

Direct download: 46_How_a_Big-League_CEO_Is_Launching_An_Author_Career_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00am EDT

The parallels between creating books and building businesses are strong and made stronger thanks to Samir Rath. Samir isn’t only a seasoned startup founder and angel investor—he’s also the author of No Startup Hipsters: Build Scalable Technology Companies. I was blown away by Samir’s pinpoint business thinking and how it applies in equal measure to forging a thriving, meaningful business as well as crafting a memorable, important book. In today’s chat, Samir and I talk about ideal reader identification, author platforms, marketing campaigns, funding models, expanded content funnels, and so much more. Get prepared to learn a lot. After the show, find us on Twitter @WinningEdits or #authormba with your questions and comments. Enjoy!

Direct download: 47_Lessons_in_Building_a_Sustainable_Book-Based_Business.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00am EDT

Joining me today is none other than Niki Papadopoulos, senior editor at Penguin Random House. I’m so honored to have Niki on the show to talk about life inside one of the world’s largest publishers. We explore her work as a front-line member assessing and acquiring books for the Portfolio, Sentinel, and Current imprints. We chat about why traditional publishers remain relevant in the industry despite a lot of criticism. And we delve into a lot of topics related to how vibrant author platforms are built, including what types of books and author characteristics elevate the probability of success. I couldn’t be more pleased to share this episode with you. Have your pen read; you’re going to want to take notes. After the show, find us on Twitter @WinningEdits or #authormba with your questions and comments. Enjoy!

Direct download: 45_Inside_the_Mind_of_a_Senior_Editor_at_Penguin_Random_House.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00am EDT

When a successful entrepreneur and startup advisor wants to distill his experience into a book to educate others, surely he is going to choose to write a non-fiction trade book, right? Not if your name is Eliot Peper. Instead of pursuing the conventional path toward yet another business book extolling advice, Eliot choose to contextualize his knowledge into a fiction story—Uncommon Stock. Eliot's book is defining a new category within the fiction genre—something of a thriller situated in the land of startups. Eliot joins the show to talk about why he made the decision to contextualize his advice in the fiction form, and how he's developing his career as a fiction author. And if you listen until the end, you’ll hear Eliot turn the tables and ask me a profound question about the business model of books. After the show, find us on Twitter @WinningEdits or #authormba with your questions and comments. Enjoy!

Direct download: 44_The_Business_Decision_Behind_a_Choosing_Fiction_Over_Non-Fiction_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00am EDT

Startup expert and author Jeremiah Gardner returns to talk about the aftermath of his success crowdfunding campaign for The Lean Brand. With over $23,000 raised directly through the campaign and via private investments, Jeremiah's book is on a trajectory toward success. What did he learn through his experience writing and crowdfunding his book? How did he avoid near disaster when his campaign momentum plummeted four days in? What is he doing now with this book to continue the positive energy with readers and fans? You'll find out in this in-depth conversation with Jeremiah, who—true to form—isn't bashful about sharing very personal insights on how the book writing experienced affected him and his business. After the show, find us on Twitter @WinningEdits or #authormba with your questions and comments. Enjoy!


Douglas Goldstein is the co-author of Rich as a King: How the Wisdom of Chess Can Make You a Grandmaster of Investing. Built around the application of strategic thinking and world-class decision-making, Doug’s book is a fantastic example of an interdisciplinary book positioned to create an impact on multiple levels. In our chat, Doug shares just why he and co-author Susan Polgar (a genuine chess grandmaster) had to write this book, and what function it plays in their respective careers. Doug also shares how the wisdom of chess is also profoundly valuable to today’s authors seeking robust careers. Oh, and Doug is a big fan of Author MBA, which is awesome! After the show, find us on Twitter @WinningEdits or #authormba with your questions and comments. Enjoy!


If you’re an author entrepreneur or work in the business of books, then you’ve probably learned that there is no magic formula for success. A no-name author can become an breakout bestseller. And a best-selling author can publish a dud. Often times, we trick ourselves into thinking that there IS a formula for success, and that any failures we experience somehow went against the gain. Tim Fargo proves that myth dead wrong. Tim is the author of the delight book, Alphabet Success. As Tim says, “to truly succeed you need to execute the basics.” In today’s conversation, Tim and I explore just how pernicious the ‘magic formula’ thinking is for enterprising authors—which, in part, influenced how he structured his book. Alternatively, Tim shares his insights on the types of behaviors and decisions that do increase the odds for success with a book or any entrepreneurial business. After the show, find us on Twitter @WinningEdits or #authormba with your questions and comments. Enjoy!

Direct download: 41_The_Magic_Formula_for_Book_Success_Isnt_What_You_Think_It_Is.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:41am EDT

Jason Gilmore is an accomplished programmer who has been writing tech books for years. He's landed traditional book deals as well as published and sold books via self-publishing channels. And as a good programmer, he studies the data—all kinds of data. As Jason shares in this episode, there's a lot to know and calculate when it comes to the business value of books. From testing book concepts before you even start writing the book to analyzing the "product-market" fit of a book idea for a particular niche, the numbers never lie. The business of books is largely a numbers game for all types of authors hoping to build a profitable and successful career. If you're a non-tech author, you have a great opportunity today to learn about the numbers-side of the business from Jason. And if you are a tech author, you'll enjoy learning from Jason's example—because he's doing very well publishing indeed. After the show, find us on Twitter @WinningEdits or #authormba with your questions and comments. Enjoy!

Direct download: 40_This_Tech_Author_Breaks_Down_the_ROI_Numbers_on_Book_Publishing.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:52pm EDT

Although the publishing industry is ripe for innovation, figuring out how to tear down the old norms and build a thriving publishing startup company is tricky business. Lots of entrepreneurs have tried and failed at progressive publishing companies. But not Dane McDonald, the founder and CEO of a profitable publishing startup called FG Press. FG Press is a modern publishing company that gives control to authors. They treat their authors as royalty, or in the business sense, as partners. What's so fascinating about Dane and his team is that they're all seasoned venture capitalists. If there's any group of folks that may have the inside edge of forging an alternative business model for publishing, it's the VCs. That's good news for them. It's good news for authors. And ultimately, it's good news for readers. To learn what Dane has discovered about the business of books and where he's leading his publishing business, plug into today's episode. It's a riveting, no holds barred conversation about what's working and what's not in the modern publishing age. After the show, find us on Twitter @WinningEdits or #authormba with your questions and comments. Enjoy!

Direct download: 39_What_a_Venture_Capitalist_is_Doing_to_Give_Power_Back_to_Authors.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:28am EDT

How do you handle the emotions when your dream of being traditionally published doesn't come true? And what do you do with the manuscript you've worked on tirelessly? Terry Starbucker is confronting those questions right now. A successful businessman and blogger, Terry invested many years and thousands of dollars writing and re-writing his book. Alas, no traditional houses are biting at his proposal. In this intimate chat, Terry tells me about how his initial book concept took shape, how that shape dramatically changed over time, and why—for better and worse—that change altered the course of everything. In that light, Terry talks about his new publishing hopes, his love of the book he ended up with, and the increasing value of writing as a business skill. If you have ever faced adversity in your writing career—and especially if you're facing adversity now—today's episode will prove that you're not alone and that beautiful options are available to you. After the show, find us on Twitter @WinningEdits or #authormba with your questions and comments. Enjoy!

Direct download: 38_Terry_Starbuckers_Journey_to_Overcome_Publishing_Disappointment.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:05pm EDT