The writer/publisher – part 20

Don’t give up your day job

Life as a published author has a lot of unexpected benefits. People I don’t even know say, "Hey, you’re the guy that published a new book!"

Such is life in a small community. Everyone seems to read the local paper and my picture was clear enough to recognize.

People I do know say, "How’s the book doing?"

All of this is emotionally satisfying, but it does not, at this point, generate the volume of sales that will let me focus entirely on writing and book tours at this point.

As a result, I need to keep alternate sources of income alive, even though there is so much work to be done promoting my book that I could actually work full-time for the next few months. I find that I need to read and re-read Dan Poynter’s Self-Publishing Manual because there is so much I need to learn in this area.

The area I am focusing on at the present time is the development of a better positioning of this book so that I have the right messages for people who are currently working vs people who are not working, but would like to start their own company. I am picking up lots of valuable information by talking about the book with everyone I meet.

Here is how it usually happens:

I will ask someone where they work and listen quietly. Almost invariably, they will say the usual things for the first few minutes and then will bring up their current worries and upsets about work. I nod understandingly, but don’t volunteer much about myself until they ask, "Where do you work?"

"I’m a writer, and I’ve just released a new book about surviving situations like you describe,"

"What’s the name of the book?"

I tell them, and they laugh or I pull a fresh copy out of my shoulder bag and hand it to them. They read the cover and laugh, then turn it over. I find something to do and let them browse through the book until they want to ask questions.

Usually they want to share stories of work-related incidents that still bother them. I generally direct them to the chapter that discusses how to handle that. When it looks like they are slowing down, I tell them that they buy the book or they can get a free download of the e-book version from the internet.

At that point, they turn the book over and look at it again, hefting it in their hand. "How much is it?"

"$19.95 which includes free shipping"

"Can I buy this copy?"

"Sure! I’ll sign it for you. What’s your name?"

I write a personal message to them and sign it, then give them a book with my blogging business card. I explain that I am writing additional material every week that will go into the next edition. If they want the latest updates to the book, they can find them on my blog. Almost everyone likes that idea so it may give me more regular readers.

I always carry two books in my shoulder bag and keep a box in the car. I find that without really trying, I am selling several books a week. I even find coffee shop owners who offer to provide me with display space where a small stack of books can be displayed and sold by the staff.

I also give the book and a Danger Quicksand cup to anyone who is in a position to help me get additional book buyers. I usually discover this when the person volunteers the information after engaging me in a serious discussion of the book. Once they get the idea that it is useful for them, they want to help spread the word.

As you can see, this is a low-key approach to make friends for the book, one person at a time. It seems to be working.

I thank all of you who have reviewed the book and have mentioned it on your weblogs. Your friends are visiting my sites in ever-growing numbers. I look forward to reviewing your books when the time comes and returning the favor.

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