What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up? An Author or a Publisher?

April 2001
by Jan Nathan

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We get an average of 300 telephone calls a day at the PMA office (assuming we only work an 8-hour day, that’s one call every 1.6 minutes). People call for a variety of reasons, but primarily they want to tell us about their title and to ask for sage advice on marketing it.

Today, for example, I got a call from a gentleman who was handicapped (a broken neck, among other things). This caller told me that he couldn’t get around too much. He had written a book of poetry that was selling in numbers that would be considered good for any type of book. Still he wanted more. The caller wanted to know how we could get his book into every bookstore in the country. I told him we couldn’t really help with that, and suggested that he actually might not even want his book on all bookstore shelves. I suggested I assist him in setting some achievable goals.

When I queried the caller on why and how he was getting such good sales, he initially told me it was because his book was good. This may very well be the case, but upon further discussion, I discovered that the man had been featured on a local PBS TV station. He wrote this book while recovering from cancer. In effect, this poet had written his way into recovery and that was a source of inspiration for many people. The caller had made a lot of personal appearances in his area and was doing readings there. These efforts drove his sales. I asked him how many books had sold outside his region…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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