“A successful title is more about how the book impacts readers than how many copies I sell.”
Why did you become a book publisher? I'm a four-time Olympian in the sport of luge. Ever since 2002 I've been a professional speaker. When I got started speaking professionally, my mentor told me that unless I wrote a book no one would take me seriously. He said, "Writing a book will give you credibility. You'll be viewed as an authority on your subject because you wrote the book on it." I started writing books right away and he was right. My books have opened up doors that have led to lots of business. Now my daughter is writing books and my son is chomping on the bit.
What do you like best about publishing? I'm a hands-on guy. I like doing it myself. I like the control I have over the whole process.
What do you publish? Books on personal development based on the lessons I've learned on the road to four Olympics.
What is the most effective form of marketing for your press? I sell 95% of my books to groups that hire me to speak. About half of the time the pre-order books for the attendees and about half the time I sell them back of the room. My books have also been translated to many languages and those publishers sell them to groups around the world. I use my books to market my speaking services. I send books to my prospects to create credibility. Then I sell lots of books when they book me to speak. Most of my income comes from my speaking. The books are gravy. To date I've sold over 100,000 copies of my books.
How do you define a successful title? To me, a successful title is more about how the book impacts readers than how many copies I sell. I regularly receive emails from people around the world who have read my books and were inspired to pursue their dreams. To me, that's worth a million bucks because it lets me know my book is making a difference.
Tell us about one of your titles about which you are especially proud. "The Courage to Succeed" is my favorite. It's the story of what I had to do to get to the Olympics and how following those principles will help you realize your goals and dreams. The first 50 pages are about my story. The rest of the book is about how to use the success principles to create a better life. It's all about developing mental toughness to overcome life's challenges. People love this book. I get emails from readers all the time.
What has been your biggest challenge in achieving success? Getting myself known. You have to constantly market yourself. It's a never-ending process. Think about it - if McDonalds and Coke need to market to stay on top, imagine how much you and I need to market to get to the top.
What advice do you have for newcomers to book publishing? Find a mentor who has already done what you want to do. Be willing to outwork the competition. Success is simple but not easy.
How will you and your company be positioned in five years? I will be better known. I will be speaking even more often than I am now. My books will become more well known.
When you're not fully immersed in publishing, what do you do for fun? I live in Colorado Springs, I love doing stuff outdoors. Hiking, climbing mountains, snowboarding, mountain biking, sailing, flying airplanes, etc.
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