Posts Tagged ‘Richard Paul Evans’

Selling Your Book Can Be A Snap

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

I, Bill Ruesch, have a confession to make. Although I’ve been in and around printing for some 35 years, book publishing is comparably new to me. You see, I did something that most Americans (somewhere around 80% wish they would do) I wrote a book. Actually I wrote four, one non-fiction, two poetry, and a novel, but that is beside the point. My novel would be my break through book. It  is a children’s fantasy story set in the fictional 1950’s small Florida town of Burns. It’s called The Whistlin’ Salamander. The thing is, I didn’t know what to do next.

Does that seem odd to you? I don’t mean to imply that I don’t know how to get a book printed. I could do that in my sleep. What I didn’t know was how to get it published. So, I turned to the Internet and bought several books on the subject.  I found tons of information on the business from landing an agent, to wooing a publisher. Publishers, for the most part, I was advised, won’t even look at a manuscript that hasn’t been presented by an agent, so I tried, and tried, to find an agent.

I learned about query letters. I came up with what I believed was a dandy, and made sure it was letter perfect. Agents, I read, have zero tolerance for grammar or spelling errors. I found out that different agents required different numbers of pages to sample your manuscript, and that I had to scrupulously follow every instruction or risk immediate rejection. I was very certain that they would love my letter and the submitted pages would be hailed. In my daydreams agents competed to sign me. That was the fantasy. The reality–not so much. Not only didn’t anyone bite, they didn’t even nibble.

What next, I thought?

Aha! An old friend Karen Christoffersen, I recalled, had worked with Richard PaKarenCul Evans author of the best-selling Christmas Box. Maybe Karen could help me. I called Karen and she told me that they were working on a program to teach self-publishers everything they needed to know through a practical hands-on method. At the completion, authors would receive fifty copies of their bookstore-worthy book printed, designed, edited, and proofread. That sounded like a good idea, but I already knew how to get all of the production things done. What I needed to know was how to sell my book. The great-agent-chase convinced me that traditional publishing wasn’t ready for me yet.

Karen introduced me to Phil Davis PhilDavisthe owner of ZDocs a digital printing company specializing in short-run books. Phil, being the savvy entrepreneur that he is, had created a course to teach authors how to use the Internet to establish or increase credibility, and to sell books. He named the course T.A.P.The Author Platform. I told Phil about my quandary and he gracefully allowed me to study TAP with the proviso that I would report back to him anything I didn’t understand. Hey, I could do that. Through The Author Platform I learned the importance of creating a blog. Viola, that’s what you are reading now. I learned about social networking and you can find me on Facebook , Linkedin and Twitter, I found out that through social networking you can reach thousands of people with your sales message in less time than it takes for one person to walk into a bookstore, pickup your book, and look at the jacket.

I’ve been practicing the principles Phil teaches in TAP.  I now know that self-promotional activities are challenging. They take time, they take energy, and they require all of your creativity. How well does it work? In just a few months I’ve become connected with amazing people all over the world that I could never have met in 10 lifetimes otherwise. My network gets stronger everyday. The more I learn the more I realize there must be thousands of people in the same boat as I was, authors stuck  somewhere along the path between writing a book to successfully selling it. My need became the incentive to develop The Red Hen Association of Self-Publishing Authors. You can read the manifesto, which is just a fancy way of saying vision and purpose by clicking here.

I’ve heard sad stories of garages full of self-published books that don’t sell because the authors don’t know what to do once they have them. I would heartily recommend The Author Platform as an excellent way to begin. It costs a little money, but compared to the cost of just storing unsold books, it’s a pittance. Knowledge truly is powerful.

Are Self-Publishers Saps?

Friday, June 19th, 2009

I hope you have been reading my information on The Red Hen Association of Self-Publishing Authors. If not, you may want to stop here and click on the manifesto. Today’s publishing reality is that approximately 4% of manuscripts submitted to publishers ever become books. If you have written a book you need to face the truth. The odds of getting your book published through traditional methods are slim to none.

Recently a self-publishing author of my acquaintance inked a deal with a major publishing company for some very large bucks, maybe the largest in history for a new author. How did he do it? I’ll tell you.

  • He is very well connected. He was one of the founders of The Franklin planners. His expertise was in training. This work brought him face-to-face with the biggest names in success and motivational circles Og Mandino, and the family of Victor Frankel. He was also able to borrow credibility from the likes of Spencer Johnson author of Who Moved My Cheese and co-author of The One Minute Manager; John Assaraf author of The Answer; Teacher in the Secret; Stephen M.R. Covey author of  The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People; and Richard Paul Evans author of The Christmas Box.
  • He brilliantly, if I do say myself, chose me to expedite the printing of his book. We worked together and created a showpiece book that in the words of one NY publisher, “Would stand up against the best in the industry.” What value is there in handing a prospective publisher a completed, well-crafted book instead of a dog-eared manuscript? You tell me.
  • His friends introduced him to a successful agent who believed in the potential of the book, plus the author is a very personable man and excellent salesman. You won’t get far in any enterprise of worth if you can’t effectively self-promote. If you expect your writing to save you by itself, you are mistaken. b21bdf9aWhy was Mark Twain one of the best selling American authors of all time? Was it the quality of his writing alone? No, I don’t believe it. The flamboyance of the man helped his career immeasurably. Think of other examples. Best selling authors have always had a hook, even the poet Emily Dickinson had her spinster sheltered life to engage readers. emily-dickinsonThe back story is important. Find yours and promote it.
  • The agent held an auction. She didn’t beg the book from publisher to publisher hoping to find one. She put it up on the action block and invited publishers to compete for it, and compete they did.

To duplicate his success would be very difficult. You’d have to have the connections and the support of the best minds in your field, but does a self-publisher have to sell millions of books to make money? No. In fact, you don’t have to sell very many books at all to make money. If you can get a book published for let’s say $5, and you can sell it for $19.95, you have a profit of $14.95 per book. One thousand books could bring you $15,000, and five thousand books would net $74,750. To sell five thousand books you are looking at less than 100 per week. How hard could it be to sell 100 books a week? If you market it right, go to book signings, use social Internet sites, and promote it with purpose, 100 books should be a snap. How about 200 or 300? Think about it.

If you have a Facebook account you can join The Red Hen Association group to keep abreast of the progress. Red Hen is also on Twitter under redhenassoc. As soon as our website is launched and we have established an opt-in program I’ll be announcing it. Membership will be free. Saftey in numbers will be invaluable. Please hop on board, we need you.

How Ill is the Publishing Business?

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

I’m not just talking through my hat here. Yesterday I was asked by a librarian to tell her what was going on with book publishing. I am not currently a publisher, but she thought my print production experience would give her a deeper understanding. Also, I have contemplated self-publishing and have been reading everything I can get my hands on. One thing is very evident; everything that was true before, is not true today.

The traditional book publishing business has changed dramatically. In the past a publisher bought the rights to an author’s book, they edited the book, typeset the book, promoted the book, they printed the book, and they distributed the book. In return the author received a royalty. Today publishers demand that the author do most of the promotion. The author has to set up their own book signings and public relations tours. And the biggest surprise of all is that if an author is over fifty or deceased you can forget about it. In the past the quality of the literature reigned supreme. Not anymore. By today’s publishing standards Emily Dickinson’s poems would have never seen the light of day.

What’s going on with publishing? In my opinion it is focused on the almighty dollar and is losing its soul. Can you say greed?

It could be because the shear magnitude of manuscripts circulating is overwhelming. In fact, most traditional publishers will not accept a manuscript to read unless it comes to them first through a trusted literary agent. They’ve barricaded themselves in their towers and I believe, cutting off their noses to spite their faces. I know, I know, those are clichés and not a particularly good ones, but it makes my point. Traditional publishing has become a closed loop. If you are in the loop, you’ll get published, if not, good damn luck.

The tragedy is that the pressure is on the popular authors to keep knockin’ ’em out at a speed that keeps the cash registers ringing, but floods the public with marginal work. Writers are like chickens on an egg farm. No wonder everyone thinks they can be a writer. Much of the material that gets through the system and makes it to the bookshelves is not worth reading. I can’t believe that those authors are proud of their work. How could they be? Today’s system turns potentially good authors into hacks. Is that too strong? I’m sorry, but if anyone has laid down good money to buy a book, even if for just light entertainment, beach reading, and found it to be disappointing, like I have, then there is something really wrong with the system. Publishers, especially well-known publishing houses should guard their honor with their lives. If their stamp is on a book the public should be able to trust that it has real intrinsic value.

Vanity publishing is becoming king. What do I mean by that? Well, if an author really wanted her book published, but couldn’t find a publisher to take it on, they had it printed themselves. Usually it was for very limited distribution, family and friends mostly. Vanity publishing or self-publishing was looked down upon. It was cause for derision. If you had to resort to self-publishing you were considered to be a second rate author.

Today, since the publishers have pulled back into their shells, authors have no choice but to do all the work themselves. It’s like the old Golden Books story of The Little Red Hen.  After all of the work is done and the book is selling well, then, and only then will the publishers get interested.  I tell you it is the greed motive.

Richard Paul Evans wrote and promoted his little book called the Christmas Box Story. He was so successful in selling it that the publisher paid over $4 million dollars for the rights. He proved that his book was a viable piece of property and the publisher who now wanted in, paid dearly for it.  That’s where publishing is going. You self-publish, you self-promote, you keep a bigger slice of the pie, and if you get a good enough offer, you sell it, if you want to. Some publisher-authors may never want to get in that game at all.

Richard Paul Evans is an altruistic guy and has set up a company to help struggling self-publishers find success with their books. If you would like to know more about this, follow this link www.bookwisewritewise.com. Rick also has another site that will help people handle their money better and amass fortunes it is www.5lessons.com.

On my blog roll is a link to www.authorsonthenet.com. Authors on the Net is a website dedicated to sharing information with self-publishers to help them sell their books on the Internet. If you’ve written a book and need to get it edited, laid out, prepared for printing, and printed go to Bookwise. If you want to sell your book to millions of Internet users go to Authors on the Net. If you need your book printed, of course call me by all means.

The Easy Way To Reach Bill Ruesch
He's available to help you with any of your printing, or publishing needs. Please contact him if you need a book, marketing materials, or anything else printed. His thirty-five years of experience, and thousands of happy customers is your guarantee of satisfaction.

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© Bill Ruesch, Talking Through My Hat, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Bill Ruesch, Talking Through My Hat with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.