Posts Tagged ‘book’

Write a book – you’ve got to be kidding

June 24, 2010

I love writing in all its forms: blogs, articles, books, etc.  However, the statistics for choosing this as a career are dismal.  One in four Americans does not read one book per year.  Over 200,000 new books were published last year.  Average book sales for a Christian book put out by a major publisher are about 4,000 copies.  AuthorSolutions reports that sales of their self-published titles average about 150 copies each.  The average sales overall for a book published in America is about 500.  Yes, sales of eBooks is growing.  But if you think that technology is eliminating “real” books you’ll be interested to know that eBooks comprised about 4% of the overall dollars ($23.9 billion) in book sales in 2009.

Garrison Keillor recently commented on the sustainability of the publishing industry, in the Chicago Tribune:  “I think that book publishing is about to slide into the sea.  We live in a literate time, and our children are writing up a storm, often combining letters and numerals (UR2 1derful)…The future of publishing: 18 million authors in America, each with an average of 14 readers, eight of whom are blood relatives.  Average annual earnings:  $1.75.”

If you care about statistics and averages, the information above is enough to discourage and redirect anyone.  But what if writing is your passion?  Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol hit the #1 spot last year at 5,543,643 copies sold.   Sarah Palin’s Going Rogue sold 2,674,684 copies.  Obviously, there are still some amazing opportunities in writing books.  Have you identified why your book should be written?

I currently have six book projects in the works.  I can’t imagine doing anything else that I would enjoy as much – or that could bring me more success.  The bad news doesn’t discourage me but it does remind me that I must write with excellence – as success in any area requires.

No Money – Just Think

April 6, 2010

The most common complaint I hear today is “Dan, I’d do something on my own but I don’t have any money”  Fortunately, many of the best ideas do not require buildings, leases, employees, or inventory.  And many can be started with very little, if any, capital.

Here are some recent hits:  

  • A hunter got an option on 400 isolated acres, then sold 40 hunting licenses for $5000 each.  He then completed the purchase free and clear and pocketed approximately $50,000.
  • An artifacts dealer arranged an exhibit for some rare Dead Sea Scroll pieces.  He had 30,000 people come through a minimally promoted showing in a small town.  Now he is opening in a major city, anticipating 50,000 viewers at $19 each.  You do the math.
  • A computer guy discovered the internal battery on his Apple computer needed to be replaced – at about $125.  He researched and found a small tool at Sears for $3.00 and the batteries in bulk for $2.00 each.  With these and a one-page explanation he created a repair kit for this common problem.  In a sixty day period he sold 700 kits at $24.95.
  • An artist received a comment that her paintings were so peaceful.  This comment triggered a thought that people going to dentist’s offices needed a peaceful surrounding.  She has been immensely successful by going to dentist’s conventions – likely the only artist there – and selling her paintings to dentists.
  • A high school student went to garage sales with his mother to buy Disney items.  He then placed them on eBay, netting approximately $3000 monthly in anticipation of beginning college.  Kinda beats the $8/hr job at McDonalds.
  • Another client wanted to be in the antique business but had no money.  He leased a warehouse, dividing it into 72 spaces for an antique mall.  In a 60-day period he rented 70 spaces, collecting first and last month’s rent.  With this $7000 he completed the lease, did some minimal renovations, and opened for business.  His rent is $1500 and he is collecting $3500.  In addition, he has two spaces for his own merchandise and receives a 10% commission on everyone’s sales.
  • One of our 48 Days coaches wanted to write a book.*  He got eleven other coaches to submit a chapter.  Then he had them pay $3500 each to get 500 copies for themselves (a 50% discount off retail).  He printed the books showing himself as the lead author – put a clean $30,000 in his pocket and continues to have the contributing authors purchase books from him.

*If you want to know more about how to turn your writing into income join us for the next Write to the Bank event here at the Sanctuary. 

I’m completing my list of 48 ideas you can start with less than $2500 – and make $30-40,000 part time.  Just finishing up with pictures and links. If you want to be featured send me your success story to askdan@48Days.com.

What’s your idea?  Keep in mind, ideas alone don’t put any money in your pocket – you must ACT!!

We all have obstacles

January 7, 2010

In the new Thomas Nelson book, Obstacles Welcome, author and CEO of AT&T Mobility Ralph de la Vega tells of his rise from a Cuban orphan to his position of business success.  The business principles of have clear goals, work hard, and treat your people well are valid but not new.

The potential uniqueness of the book would have been in telling how that transition from leaving his family in Cuba at 10 years old to become a business leader occurred.  Unfortunately, for whatever reason, those details of his personal story are missing.

I’ve always been drawn to the Horatio Alger kinds of stories that reveal how a person rejected desperate circumstances to rise to greatness anyway.  Like the butterfly leaving the cocoon, challenging struggles often seem to release greatness in a way that a life of privilege never can.   

At this point in my life I am truly grateful for the times of having to rise at 5:30 AM to milk cows as a 5-yr-old boy.  Hey, I’m not asking for sympathy – rather, I suspect that environment increased my motivation to find work that was fulfilling, meaningful and profitable.  Be careful of always looking for the easy path — you may never push life into your butterfly wings.

“Find your strongest life” by Marcus Buckingham

October 5, 2009

In his newest book, “Find Your Strongest Life: What the Happiest and Most Successful Women Do Differently,” Marcus Buckingham continues his theme of helping people find their unique strengths.  While he does allow for a broad definition of “success” it still comes across clearly that a successful woman will be expected to be a great wife, mom and career climber. 

Chapter Nine —  Strive for Imbalance — is a great read for men as well as women – as it applies to work.  The author says to ignore balance and chose instead to find your “strong-moments” and find ways to spend more time in those.  “If you cannot find any strong-moments within a responsibility you’ve taken on, then diminish or relinquish this responsibility as quickly as you can.”  I agree with that position in the workplace, but find it difficult to recommend for a wife and mother. 

I suspect the subtitle – “What the happiest and most successful women do differently” will be offensive to a large group of women.  Buckingham’s research seems to indicate women with children are less happy, and that women become less happy as they become older. 

While there are useful exercises here for managing a busy life, this is not an encouraging book for women who have chosen to be homemakers or who are looking for fulfillment through spiritual growth and enrichment rather than in their careers.

Read a good vook lately?

October 5, 2009

No, that’s not a misspelling.  It’s just a description of a new combination of book and video.  How would you like to read one of your favorite books but find it interspersed with frequent video clips to help bring the story to life?  Obviously, it’s a natural integration and now technology has made it quite easy to do. 

My son Jared and I are writing a book on the differing generational approaches to work.  Do you think a traditional 240-page tradebook is the best format to reach the 25-35 yr-old audience?  What about a vook that provides the concepts of new work models, combined with video that shows his work with the women they are bringing out of poverty in Rwanda?  And rather than just a word description, how would you like to see a one-minute video of the lady carving two large faces on the sides of a tree in my yard; providing a real example of the non-traditional work options available today.  Rather than having a clunky book to lug around in your backpack you can pull the vook up on your computer screen or simply download it to your iPhone.  And instead of $24.95, how about paying $6.99 for regular download or $4.99 for the iPhone version?

And here’s another indication of change.  Knowing people’s increasingly short attention span, iMinds has launched a series of eight-minute audiobooks that offer compact overviews of general knowledge subjects ranging from a history of whale hunting to creationism.  For $0.99 you can choose the MindTrack that appeals to you. 

Dan & Jared #13

What is it in your world that needs a serious update?  What process or product are you still trying to use or sell that simply needs to be discarded?   Have you developed or at least imagined a newer, better way to serve the same purpose?  How could your work be done quicker and more efficiently? 

The U.S. automobile industry waited too long to make the necessary changes.  The music industry is reeling from the changes demanded by their consumers.  The publishing world is being torn apart by readers sharing digital content as opposed to buying a heavy, eco-negative book.  Universities are struggling to maintain fancy campuses as students prefer simple distance learning. 

Not all change is progress – but all progress requires change. 

Can’t even slow me down

January 2, 2008

On December 21st I received a certified letter from the publishing company of one of my previous books.  They informed me that a miscalculation had been made in my last royalty check and I needed to send them a correction check for $42,787.60 immediately.   On responding via email and phone I received messages that no one would be in the office until Jan 2nd.  No phone call, no “gee Dan we think we made a mistake,” just a certified letter demanding payment.

 Not exactly the way I would recommend doing business, but then again the publishing world is full of dinosaurs and business midgets.  But the point is this:  I could mope and be in gloom and despair right during Christmas, or I could choose a different response.  Actually, I shot a note to my attorney — and got an autoresponder from him as well that he would be back in the office on Jan 2nd.  Oh well –

So I spent the time during the holidays brainstorming with my sales manager about some new applications for our 48 Days Seminar that we now think will add $2 million to our revenue this next year.   That’s always been my response to financial challenges — just look at the opportunities to knock it out of the park in another area.

 Tomorrow we are leaving for Colorado for a week — I won’t be available to respond to this outrageous letter.  And trust me, it won’t in any way keep us from enjoying this time of fun with family. (Just to clarify, sales of that book title in question continue to be extremely strong – I probably have enough royalties due to compensate for their error — but being myopic thinkers they would rather balance their books quickly than to preserve what has been a very profitable relationship for them.)  Please, if you’re doing business of any kind, try to use some common sense in dealing with your customers.  The relationships you build with vendors, customers and neighbors will ultimately determine how successful you will be.


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