Sunday, February 27, 2011

Money, Speaking, and Do-It-Yourself

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To read part one of my book writing & publishing journey go here.

A few things I heard before I wrote Totally Desperate Mom. A few things that have turned out to be true . . .

1. There is not a lot of money to be made being an author.
Most authors do not sell many books, which means they do not make much money or even recuperate costs spent self-publishing. Steve Piersanti, President of Berrett-Koehler Publishers, wrote a great article about book publishing. Check out 10 Awful Truths About Book Publishing.
Here is an excerpt from his article:
Average books sales are shockingly small, and falling fast.
Combine the explosion of books published with the declining total sales and you get shrinking sales of each new title. According to Nielsen BookScan – which tracks most bookstore, online, and other retail sales of books (including – only 282 million books were sold in 2009 in the U.S. in all adult nonfiction categories combined. (Publishers Weekly, January 11, 2010.) The average U.S. nonfiction book is now selling less than 250 copies per year and less than 3,000 copies over its lifetime.
(In seven months more than 1300 copies of Totally Desperate Mom have been sold. Half of them to my mom. Kidding, but she did buy 25.)
Amazon now allows authors to track their sales. I was shocked to discover when just a few copies of Totally Desperate Mom sell my Amazon Bestseller Ranking goes way up. It can go from 600,000 to 60,000 from just a few copies sold!!

That confirms that not a lot of people are selling books -- self-published or otherwise.

2. Speaking is the most effective way to market and sell your book.

Unless you have a national platform people will not know about you or your book. There have been a few bloggers who have written and successfully sold books. They had a large following of fans who were ready to buy. That is not the case for most people or most bloggers. Yes, I kicked it with Eazy-E and (literally) rubbed shoulders with Ronald Reagan, but that's not enough. And that was 300 years ago.

You gotta get out there and speak and you probably shouldn't suck at it.

As you think about marketing your book you have got to consider: Who is your target audience? Is there a forum where I can speak to that audience? How often will my management team (my husband and kids) allow me to speak? Am I comfortable speaking in front of people?

Before I wrote the book I was asked to speak at a few things at my own church and that led to more speaking gigs. Here is my speaking schedule for the first half of this year if you want to bring me a craft kit.

I would recommend taking a course from Decker Communications. Their awesome training team (including Ben Decker, my good friend since 4th grade and his powerhouse wife Kelly) will improve your messaging and your delivery.

3. With or without a publisher, you've got to do a lot of marketing/promoting yourself.
What's that saying about hiding things like bedbugs under mattresses? Again, unless you have a large following your book will not sell itself. No matter how good it is. While I do enjoying speaking to women's groups, Bible studies, MOPS . . . I don't like "promoting" my book. I don't like "promoting" myself or working to create a brand. But these are things I must do get the books into the hands of fellow desperate mamas with the hope that it will bless them!

I apologize if you get sick of hearing about the book on this blog, but at least I also offer up some awesome home-decorating tips, allow you to showcase your dirty minivans, and share with you stories about my arm nutrients.

I will end it here because I am tired, I have smelly cat on my lap, and my husband will be home from volleyball practice soon. If you have more questions you can email me or comment. Or if you want to help a mother out (including yourself!) you can order the book right now through me or through Amazon.

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Erika said...

i have written two books- the first one was self-published and has done really well (it's a niche non-fiction book). the second book was published by a publisher and has done well...but I haven't made as much money b/c it goes to the publisher first, then me (it's also non-fiction). so, my experience has been positive- i haven't done a lot of promotion, and i know both books would be ALOT more successful if I did, but I haven't wanted was important for me to write the books than anything else.

Also, when I looked into how much money I would make doing a book tour vs. how much it would cost to DO the tour, it just didn't even out- I would't come out ahead. But marketing online and blogging are good tools to get the word out there.

Bottom line for me is that you can make a lot more money doing other things- so I would never write just for the money. I write b/c it's what I love to do!

Annett/ Fit Moms Fit Kids Club said...

Thanks Wendy for you transparency I really appreciate that about you! As you know I'm on chapter 1 of my book (still LOL) and I want you to know that you have at least one reader (me) who is enjoying these posts. So many people have a "dream" of writing a book, and haven't done it yet for numerous reasons (or excuses) so this is encouraging and inspiring! Thanks a ton for allowing God to use you, to not make excuses, and being obedient to get things done despite your busy life. :)

TDM Wendy said...

Would love to hear more!
What are your book titiles?
Did you do POD or offset and if so how many copies did you order?
Can you share how many copies of each book have sold?
What kind of online marketing have you done?
Thanks for sharing.
Go girl. One chapter at a time.

Jennifer said...

If you haven't read Wendy's book yet, you need to! I was lucky enough to win a copy and it is great! Most of my "mom friends" have children much older than mine, so they are experiencing very different parenting issues. It was so nice to see someone put into writing so much of what I was experiencing. It is very much a "real" account of being a mom and wife, not a sugar coated version like so many others are. Thanks for the free copy, I treasure it. I would love to come see you speak, but CA is just a little too far from KS:)

Jessica Johnson said...

Ordering a few now! Been meaning to for a while... :) And if my purchase makes your Amazon rating go from 60,000 to 40,000 you need to include me in the acknowledgement section of your next one. Thanks. xxoo

TDM Wendy said...

Awww Jennifer... thanks for your kind words. Glad you enjoyed the book.
Jessica -
Thank you for your support. If you don't like the book... blame Jennifer (above) or Adrian :)

Bert Decker said...

Hey Wendy, that's a GOOD Amazon rating. Love your book. Love your plug. Wish I could hear you speak more. You forgot to mention the importance of humor - but then you don't have to mention it - you exude it.

TDM Wendy said...

Thanks Bert. I can't tell many times I have heard someone speak or preach and think, "Oh how I wish they would go get Deckered."