Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Leave No Stone Unturned

If you’re looking for some inspiration and lessons on persistence, then you’ve come to the right place today. While I was reading Putting Your Passion Into Print, I found this inspirational story.  As you read it, notice the energy and effort Bob Nelson poured into the marketing.  First, you have to create a great product which meets a felt need—and Bob Nelson met this criteria and more.Putting-Your-Passion-cover

The Man Who Left No Stone Unturned

“There’s no better poster boy for the benefits of doing your research than Bob Nelson, author of, among other books, 1001 Ways to Reward Employees. To learn more about the book business, Bob went so far as to work as a shipping clerk in a bookstore. And that was just the tip of his research iceberg.

After figuring out how bookstores work, Bob researched publishers to suss out who would be best able to package, market, publicize and sell his book. He approached one that had never published a business book because he was impressed by their marketing prowess and their dedication to making every book successful. And once he signed an agreement with the publisher, he didn’t sit back and watch. For example, he drafted a 50-page memorandum on what he was planning to do to help make the book a success. He continued researching throughout the entire publishing process as to how he could augment the publisher’s efforts.

When 1001 Ways to Reward Employees came out, Bob traveled to more than 500 bookstores to see what makes people buy a book and what makes them pass it by. He also wanted to understand how and why bookstores order books and what he, as an author, could do to help influence their decision. In each city he visited, he did a follow-up postcard to all bookstore managers, informing them of the media he had done in their market, groups he had presented to, national promotions, and so on. Sound crazy? Then perhaps selling nearly a million and a half books will sound equally insane. That’s right. Bob sold way over a million copies of a business book about how to reward employees. Considering the incredibly small number of books that sell over a million copies, this is amazing. But, in Bob’s case, it’s not even that surprising.

When he hit the one-million-books-sold mark, his publisher threw a party for him. At that party, the president of the publishing company held up a thick file folder filled with information Bob had accumulated about his book in Indianapolis alone! For most publishers, Indianapolis is just a blip on the map, but Bob had done enough media and marketing in that one city to fill a folder larger than what most authors compile for an entire book!

Bob’s philosophy? “Leave no stone unturned.””

Excerpted from Putting Your Passion Into Print Copyright © 2005 by Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry
Used by permission of Workman Publishing Co., Inc., New York All Rights Reserved

Each of us are facing different challenges. As you look at what’s ahead for your writing life, are you leaving any stone unturned?

4 Comment:

At 7:36 PM, Blogger Camy Tang Left a note...

WOW, that's impressive. But can us small, introverted fries really do something like that to influence sales? And how to squeeze all that promotion into days filled with writing and diapers? I guess it's like what Gladwell says in THE TIPPING POINT--he urges people to come up with more creative ways to spread the word.

At 10:32 AM, Blogger Laura H Left a note...

I've just started reading blogs and was delighted when I came across yours. I am a very happy and sucessful independent who has found a wonderful niche market writing and selling a Young adult horse series. New markets are opening up continuously, but it takes a lot of "leg work". I spend much of my life talking to people: book store owners, riding coaches, teachers, librarians. As an author, one must market oneself whether you are your own publisher or a published author. Thanks for getting this message out there.

At 8:07 AM, Blogger Macromoments Left a note...

Terry, great coverage of Bob Nelson's book! His book is both fascinating and exhausting for those of us who may not be able to swing a 50-bookstore tour or write a 50-page memorandum. Time, expense...there are only so many hours in a day. I'd like to see a followup on how he keeps balance in his life, too. Now that would be fascinating.

As always, you've given us something to ponder. Thanks, Terry.

At 10:36 AM, Blogger Ken G Left a note...

This is very interesting Terry and I thank you for sharing it with us. This seems like an excellent direction to take but what about the material being written, does that have as much to do with book publishing?
Where I'm coming from is that I've been practicing my writing my joining different groups because that has helped me find ways to use my words so they are understandable to others. Does the actual material deserve the same amount of effort as the understanding the book publishing industry does?
I'm curious about that.


Post a Comment

That's the writing life...

Back to the home page...