In the world of self-publishing, I’m always watching for stories I can share to help emphasize not only how much $$ we SAVE our clients . . . but also how much $$ we can help them MAKE.
You just never know when the Universe is listening and decides to provide you the answer (or, in this case, the story) you’ve been waiting for.
It all started last Friday when I took a leap of faith and found myself on an airplane to Atlanta for the Spirit of Women Conference. My mentor, Monica Shah, was speaking and several of her “mentees”, showed up, shared rooms and offered support by just being there. I was prepared to strengthen bonds, meet new people, attract new clients . . . and expand my sphere of influence.
Able to use my plethora of Southwest Airline “points”, I boarded the flight early and headed for the first available window seat I see. I’m joined by a woman, in my age range, who sits in the aisle seat, and we joked about the “luck” of the person who gets to sit between two “women of a certain age”. Shortly thereafter, we are joined by another woman (same age group) and our row is complete.
I’m not one of those airline “talkers”, and typically prefer to watch the clouds, and occasionally pull out my i-Phone and select an e-book to read. I offer an initial smile, say “hi”, and get back to my reading.
As the pilot announces we are preparing to land, I ask the woman next to me if she is from STL, and where she is headed. We talked about what she did for a living, and she, in turn, begins to ask me the same questions. LO AND BEHOLD. She and I had a phone conversation about 18 months ago regarding publishing her book, and she chose to go with an independent “textbook” publisher out of England. She proceeded to tell me what she has earned (or NOT earned) in royalties from the sale of over 1,000 books.
So, I get to my hotel, looked up her publisher online, and I did the math.
And I had one of my associates check MY math (she’s a CPA) . . .
FOR THE EXACT SAME BOOK, I’ve outlined two very different profit structures, below . . . The one on the left is the Independent Publisher she chose. The bullets on the right show her profit margin if she had let us mentor her through the self-publishing process. (ALSO, please note, I would never have advised her to price a 166-page black-and-white paperback book at $34.95 retail.)
In researching the textbook publisher, I did not have the details of her contract, so I used the publisher’s minimum fee for the example above. Not only did this author possibly PAY more-than-twice upfront than if she had let us help her, but she PROFITS less $$ with each sale of her books (ultimately taking her longer to recoup her investment).
MY LESSON LEARNED? I trusted my instinct, took a leap of faith, and got on that plane not knowing WHY I needed to go to Atlanta. In the three days since i’ve been back home, I’ve already had two sales conversations with people I met in Atlanta.
AND I heard a fantastic “buyer beware” story I can share with authors who may be considering working with an independent publisher, advising them to:
- Check references.
- Don’t sign a contract until you talk with a professional publishing consultant (like me – I’ve read many publishing contracts and can point out questions you need to be asking). I’m happy to read your contract and offer an opinion.
- Trust your instinct and follow your gut. If it sounds confusing, it probably is worth walking away.
Do what you must, but always feel free to give me a call to talk through your options. I’m happy to help you make an educated decision, even if you end up working with someone else (although I’d rather you work with us!).
In the 1991 movie, “LA Story”, Steve Martin plays a wacky weatherman who struggles to make sense of the strange world of Los Angeles in the early 1990’s with the help of a talking freeway billboard.
If only it were that easy to see the “signs”.
I’ve always wanted to believe those same signs could to talk to ME. When LIFE gets crazy on the macro level – whether I’m juggling several projects or simply frustrated with the discouraging political climate — it can easily affect my personal (micro level) perspective on life. I’m constantly looking for “signs” to help me navigate life and help me make those “next best step” decisions. And, yes, I’ll admit it . . . I’ve even looked at the highway signs, hoping they would magically send me the message I needed to see at that moment.
When someone recently asked me, “How do you stay ‘in the flow’?”, I answered, “I read. I listen to audio books. I listen to music. I listen to the silence. I watch sunsets. I watch for the full moon. I read license plates. I look for signs. I happen to believe the Universe drops ‘bread crumbs’ of clues – AKA: ‘signs’ for me to follow.”
I just need to be awake enough to notice,
mindful enough to make the connection, and
trusting enough to relax and move forward.
I got a sign!
We had another round of tumultuous storms last week in STL, with power outages affecting the internet, creating havoc in our otherwise typical work day. Thankfully we had electricity, but no internet or cable service to run the office. I could feel the sense of frustration mounting, as I had several proposals to send out via email. How was I supposed to meet my self-imposed sales goal for this month if I couldn’t follow up?! Debating with myself in my head about leaving to go find a coffee shop with internet vs. waiting it out, I walked by the cable box in the bedroom and saw this . . .
Hunt? Hunt for what?! Hunt for new clients?
Hunt for a coffee shop? Hunt for a solution?
As I walked back into the office, still contemplating the pros-and-cons of the local coffee shop, Jack announced he had found a temporary solution by setting up his cell phone as a “hot spot”. He showed me how to do the same, and we proceeded to “hop on-and-off” the internet through our data plan (carefully trying to not over-use it). I was able to send the emails I absolutely-positively needed to get out that morning (and I avoided the crowds at the coffee shop – YAY).
Now, in all fairness, Jack was probably already working on the solution BEFORE I saw the message from the cable box . . . but I still like to believe my electronics talk to me. Maybe it was simply trying to tell me that Jack was already “on the hunt”.
Sometimes we don’t even know what we are “hunting for” until we find ourselves amidst the HUNT.