How to Build YOUR Global Empire

Image converted using ifftoanyMy last post about Paradigm Shifts struck quite a chord. (if you haven’t read it yet, you can find it HERE)


Last week Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn was interviewing me for a session of the IndyReCon (sign up HERE it’s FREE!) and as often happens when I’m talking with very smart people who ask very smart questions, I had an epiphany.


While talking to Joanna I realized that I am no longer an indy author, not a traditional author, nor am I a hybrid author (I always hated that last, makes me feel like some genetically altered mutant).


The conversation writers should be having is not “indy VERSUS traditional” publishing. It’s not either/or, us versus them…and if you waste your energy arguing that, then you’re missing the greatest opportunity for writers since Gutenberg.


I mentioned this in a post last year when comments from a publishing executive got me riled up but as Joanna and I chatted yesterday I realized I actually run a multi-national business.


Yep, me. From my home. In my favorite rocking chair. Often in my PJs.


I am in fact, a Global Publishing Empire—and you are, too!


How? Strategic partnerships.


(remember that phrase, I’m convinced it will be the buzzword of 2013 publishing)


Let’s take a look at CJ Lyons, LLC, as an example of what your global publishing empire might look like…


Our global publishing empires will have a variety of divisions and partnerships:


1. Product Creation: whatever it takes to get the books written.
Strategic Partners:
*Family to buy free time to write
*critique partners who help me make each book the best possible
*developmental editors to ensure quality control


2. Product Assembly: whatever it takes to get the books from draft to final product.
Strategic Partners:
*copy editors
*formatters (or formatting software)
*cover artists


3. Product distribution: taking the final product from my computer into the hands of readers. There are several subdivisions here:

*Printing and distribution subcontractors:
~traditional publishing partners…by contracting with them for use of their editorial, design, printing presses, and distribution chains I can get my books into readers via a variety of venues

(who would have thought that the best way for authors to think of publishers is as their subcontractors?!? but think about it, it fits, doesn’t it? learn more HERE)

~print on demand venues such as Createspace, small press partnerships, etc.


*Audio subcontractors:
~traditional audiopublishers as subcontractors, taking care of finding the talent, managing the engineering and distribution

~ACX to arrange indy audio publishing via their subcontractors (voice talent, producers, engineers, etc)


*Foreign editions:
~traditional foreign press subcontractors as sold via my foreign rights agent

~translation services that do a work on demand contract and I retain the rights and self publish

~traditional US publishers who bought my foreign rights (although sadly most have done little with them)


4. Rights exploitation: as authors we own ALL the rights to our work until we decide to sell or license these rights to others…often this is the fine print in the 22 page contract a publisher tries to wow you with, so the main partnerships here include:

*US agent: to sell to US publishers

*foreign rights agent: to rep me at foreign book fairs and sell me into overseas traditional markets

*film/media agent: to field requests from producers (we’ve had tons, no money on the table yet, alas)

*literary attorney: to parse language of any contract that we’re concerned about


5. Accounting: ugh…so important, yet so…well, spreadsheets, shudder…find a good one and treat them like gold, is my best advice!


6. Product development: creating new products that will delight and excite my customers. The main partnership here is with my Beta testers: my early readers and reviewers culled from my Street Team


7. Marketing/Promotions/Advertising:
*Newsletter subscribers

*Facebook friends

*Street Team

*Publicist for specific projects such as the Buy a Book, Make a Difference press release

*Advertising specialist: this is new for me, but this year I’m working on ways to use advertising effectively—or at least measuring to see if it does actually work in reaching new readers. People who already know my name aren’t the ones I should be advertising to, it’s new-to-me readers, and that means going bigger and investing more, so I am partnering with a few creative firms that have expertise in this.


That last line is pretty important and the heart of your entire business strategy. It’s not about WHAT you know or WANT to know/do…it’s about finding the experts out there who WANT to do it FOR YOU.


Creative alliances, that’s what we’re talking about. Devising a strategy for YOUR career and then partnering with the right people to make your vision come true.


Sometimes it means paying these partners, sometimes they pay you (as in the case of traditional publishing contracts), sometimes there’s no money involved but rather social currency or bartering.


But if you surround yourself with talented people who know what they’re doing and share your vision, your Global Publishing Empire will build itself!


Go forth and conquer the world!

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  1. Kathy aka C. K. Crouch says:

    Great post CJ good advice for us beginners not yet in published waters. Kind of scary too. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi, Kathy! Everything about publishing is scary! For me the most frightening part is sharing my words with the world…if you can do that, then figuring out this business stuff isn’t scary, it’s just a necessary step to the end goal of getting our stories out there…
      Thanks for stopping by,

  2. Hi CJ!

    Another great post. Thanks!
    I love being a Global Publishing Empire. I like the sound of that. :-)

    Hugs and have a great day!!


  3. Awesome, interesting, and a little daunting. If I manage all these things, can I go on to world domination afterwards?



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