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3 Things I Learned From A Mafia Don

Australia doesn’t have many publicly acknowledged Mafia Don’s or families.

We fall a long way short of our American cousins. The Gotti’s, Gambino’s and the movie famous Corleone’s are familiar names to most punters.

In Australia our ‘bad’ families keep a quiet profile avoiding the limelight most of the time except if you are part of the Williams family (not very Italian sounding I know) who go on a shooting spree every now and then.

In Sydney the supreme title goes to the Ibrahim family. Their patriarch is John Ibrahim, owner of strip cubs in the once notorious Kings Cross. These days the Cross is becoming a trendy redevelopment area and the brothels are moving a few streets back.

But John is still the pin up boy of the ‘Sydney Mafia’. So much so he’s been invited by the Sydney Crime Writers Festival to present Australia’s highest crime literary wards at this year’s Ned Kelly Awards.

And this is where I got the chance to be up close but no personal with this crime enigma. Here’s what I learned from Mr. John Ibrahim.

  1. Building A Brand
    Brand – what people say about you when you’re not in the room. Brands can be good or bad.

    The Red Cross brand is the third most recognized brand in the world. It stands for helping people, thereby making it a good brand.

    Malaysian Airlines, once a great brand for Malaysia, is somewhat tainted since their two major airline crashes. They are trying to rebuild but their trust factor for being a safe airline is severely tarnished.

    And then there’s John Ibrahim. Hmmm pretty dark. But in some circles he’s thought of being a ‘lovable rogue’. For the most part John seems to only get in a rumble with fellow crims leaving us innocent people to go about our daily lives without fear.

    And John’s brand is mainly made up of innuendo as well. He is known to being the Teflon Don as well – nothing sticks to Johnny.

    So as an author a brand can bring you a lot of notoriety – I’m choosing the ‘Red Cross’ path.
  2. Family is important
    John has got plenty of family around him. His brothers are also famous in the underworld. Michael and Fadi were busted in 2017 for trying to import 136kg of cocaine into Australia.

    His son and girlfriend were also arrested. Their trial starts now with John by their side – but not ‘involved’.

    Like in all families there are good and bad members. John has shown me that we need to stand by all and that’s admiral.
  3. We need to have structure
    Like any good organisation or business, there must be structure so the entity keeps moving forward.

    Tasks need to be done. Plans must be implemented. Decisions must be thought of and carried out.

    A good Mafia organisation has the same structure as a corporate entity. A CEO, senior managers and a team of foot soldiers.

    John Ibrahim is the CEO.

    In my little group, I’m the CEO along with a virtual team of editors, cover designers, book formatters, SEO experts, Facebook ad managers and other marketing specialists.

    Structure is important even in my little organisation.

Author Branding: Can Short Reads Improve Your Branding?

Author branding is a full time business in the life of an author. Whether you are a traditionally published author or a self publishing indie author, you need to continuously market yourself to your reader market. Author branding can take on many different forms including having a professional website, an attractive Amazon author page and well engaging social media sites.

But today I wanted to look at an author’s main asset, their book, and decide if a single 50,000 word novel is better for author branding or whether five 10,000 word short reads covering the same story gives better exposure.

In simple terms the more covers you have in the market, the more exposure you have and the more links to your author branding

Let’s look at this question from the perspective of a reader. Going onto Amazon and discovering a new author  is something most readers like to do. Yes they have their favourites but most readers like to expand their reading sphere by having new authors join it.

If a reader was to look at an author’s Amazon page and see just one single novel, they may think that author is a ‘oncer’ – it’s his or her only work. Readers like to be involved with authors who have a few books. They like to be immersed in a story and to see it continue into more books. They fall in love with characters and want to follow that character on their journey.

Single books, rightly or wrongly, give the impression that this it – there is no more to the story. Short reads on the other hand painted a totally different picture.

Readers buy with their eyes

When a reader visits an author page that is displaying five book covers, it appears that the author is more established and has done more work. It is a visual thing, the facts may not sustain that, but readers buy with their eyes.

Here’s a quick summary video to give your reading eyes a rest

More covers create more links

An author of a single book will create a few links about that book from different review sites, bloggers or media posts and interviews.

Short reads can create a similar number of links but now an author’s exposure could be five fold in the case I’m outlining here.

What would you prefer – one book with say 10 links or five short reads covering the same overall topic but now attracting 50 links?

Book samples are great BUT free books are better

Everybody loves a freebie. Readers investigating a new author will take advantage of the book sample to gain an insight into an author’s work. It’s free and doesn’t require a reader to give up their email address in order to receive a free book, one downside to a free giveaway..

But I’ve found that serious readers are willing to give an author their email address in order to get a free book or novella. It allows a reader to get to know the author, sample his/her work and if they crave more, they can invest their reading dollars into more books. Try before you buy scenario.

Savvy authors not only giveaway a free book to their readers. They also provide author insights into their writing lives, run competitions and other bonus chapters to keep their readers engaged for as long as possible.

Free books can definitely improve author branding.

Whether you take the single novel or short reads approach, author branding is a 24/7 business. If you want more exposure, create more links, build a larger reader group and earn as you write, short reads in my opinion win hands down!

What do you think? Let me know by leaving a comment below