Frank McKinley: Tribe Builder

Can you imagine selling 10,000 books? How about 500? How about over 25,000 books!

 Frank McKinley has been a writer since he could pick up a pen. When the boys his age were playing war with toy soldiers and pellet guns, he was designing magazines made of construction paper and crayons. Inside were articles, pictures, even ads! Writing allowed him to sort through his feelings as a troubled teenager. In high school, his poems won first prize in the annual Fine Arts Festival. As a young man, his writing even helped him win his wife!

Frank McKinley wants  your writing read, shared and celebrated – by your tribe.

Now, Frank McKinley is the author of 4 bestselling books, selling over 30,000 copies! He did without a blog, an audience, or an email list. Today he leads two Facebook groups and spends his time helping writers engage readers, sell their ideas, and build their tribes. He is also the host of the Thriving Writers Show on YouTube. When he’s not working, he loves coffee and good conversation.


Can you imagine selling 10,000 books? How about 500?

In this interview Frank McKinley shares his story about his books and how he came to sell over 25,000 copies without a blog, an audience, or an email list!

Even though Frank has been writing all his life, he sort of fell into writing as a career during a job interview for a new position with his employer. During that interview he was asked to writing for the company’s internal communications. Then his employer told him he should write a book! So, of course he did!

“There’s a world of possibilities just on the other side of the publish button” Frank McKinley

With his first book “10 Steps to Effective Leadership: Strategies to Maximize Your Potential (Leadership Series)” his approach was just to get it done. His only marketing activity was telling his friends that he had published his first book. With his second book “How to Lead Unwilling Followers: Strategies to Overcome Resistance (Leadership Series Book 2)” he took a more conscious approach to both the writing and the marketing of the book.

What’s Unique About Frank McKinley’s Books?

Frank’s books are on the short side – weighing in at just 50-60 pages. These books are available on Amazon in Kindle format only. Clearly, he wrote his leadership series with the reader in mind: managers who don’t have a lot of time to learn the skills they require. In the description Frank promises “quick tips, without fluff, and actionable skills you can use right now.” Most importantly, he delivers on that promise!

I think this is an excellent approach to writing for a few reasons:

  1. It gets your writing out there without the pressure of assembling a comprehensive volume.
  2. Having a short, e-book version allows you to set a price that will not intimidate first-time readers.
  3. Short reads get you into the discipline of making every word count.
  4. You are able to produce more books faster (theoretically) so that you can give your readers choices for their first read and to keep them engaged with you longer.
  5. It sets you up for creating a larger print volume for your fans to have all your work in one lovely volume later.

Now that Frank has sold over 25,000 copies of his books, his mission is to assist other writers to do the same through his Thriving Writer’s platform on YouTube and on his Facebook Page. I was thrilled to have him share some of his top tips here on this show.

Think of Amazon like a Search Engine

  • Imagine that your cover is the front door to your book; make it attractive.
  • Write a great description starting with the headline (the promise)
  • Use lists to describe what people will learn from your book; give them a reason to want to read. Consider drafting this before you start writing the book as this can keep you on track.


  • In this digital age, you can get your work out there quickly (when self-publishing)
  • Self-publishing allows you to easily make adjustments to your book later on. Even if you have a print version!

Start Marketing As Soon As You Have Your Outline

  • Start building anticipation for your book as you write it.
  • Uses blog posts, guest posts, and leaking snippets to your followers
  • This has the fun side effect of keeping you accountable to finish!

The Value of Your Tribe

When you hear the word Tribe, it either lights you up or makes you cringe. Many writers seem to enjoy obscurity, but is that our best choice? Since Frank helps authors build their tribe I thought I’d ask him what his tribe does for him. A tribe provides moral and practical support, a sense of community and contribution. Who doesn’t want that?!!!

Listen to the full interview … and be sure to connect with Frank!

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