1stNews from 1stBooks, July 17, 2002
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
* Editor's Message
* Article: "How One Persistent Publisher Sold Hundreds of
Thousands of Books *Outside* of Bookstores"
* 1stBooks Success Profile: Helen Heinmiller Strikes a
* For Maryland-Area Readers
* Article: "Everything I Learned About Writing I Learned in
* 1stBooks News: Books at a Discount
* About 1stBooks Library
* About This Newsletter
Well...it sure is nice to know how carefully some of you
read this publication! We pulled a scheduled article from
the previous issue at the last minute, and we neglected to
change the Table of Contents. Quite a few of you wrote to
ask where it was. We plan to publish it in an upcoming
This issue's marketing article, generously supplied by Book
Marketing Update, focuses on special sales. You'll learn the
story of a real winner in that game. Think about what
special markets you can go after. You probably won't make
sales in the hundreds of thousands--but, it might encourage
you to think differently about potential markets. Hey--if
you can sell 500 or 1000 copies to a business that you
patronize or to a corporation that will brand you to new
audiences, that's a pretty powerful thing to do.
The writing craft article, a new twist on an old cliché, is
actually the first half of a longer piece; the second half
will run in August.
Please remember that for July and August, there is only one
issue per month. Our next issue will be published on August
21st, and after that, "we resume our regularly scheduled
programming" of twice-monthly.
HOW ONE PERSISTENT PUBLISHER SOLD HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF
BOOKS *OUTSIDE* OF BOOKSTORES
Reprinted with permission from Book Marketing Update,
Even though he'd sold tens of thousands of copies of his
book, "The Best Free Things in America," in bookstores, Bob
Kalian of Roblin Press recognized that he probably wouldn't
get rich on bookstore sales. Kalian wanted to sell hundreds
of thousands of books, so he sought other outlets: catalogs,
home-shopping networks and premium buyers.
That was a little over four years ago. Since then, Kalian's
original book and spin-offs have sold nearly 500,000 copies-
-OUTSIDE of bookstores. Here's how he did it.
Think like your customer.
Specialty buyers will only buy your book if it will help
them grow THEIR business. Will it help them retain clients,
find new subscribers, or sell it at a profit? What concrete
benefits will the buyer experience? Back up your claims with
sales figures, demographic information, and other facts.
Consider selling rights, not just books.
For deals with Boardroom, Inc. and Book-of-the-Month Club
(BOMC), Kalian sold reprint rights; the partner company
handles all printing and fulfillment. With BOMC, Kalian
receives a royalty (6% of retail price). With Boardroom,
Kalian again receives a 6% royalty--but you might not ever
know it was originally published by Roblin Press. Boardroom
repackaged his spin-off book, "The Best Free Things for
Seniors," as "The Bottom Line Book of Freebies"--with a new
cover and the author's name removed.
Offer package deals.
For QVC, he combined three books in one package and sold it
for $18.75, about 35% off the price of all three purchased
separately. The offer was so successful that Kalian was
asked back 16 times and sold about 90,000 copies of his
Make cosmetic changes to fit new markets.
Kalian wanted to sell his trade paperback books in
convenience stores and airport gift shops--but these stores'
book racks are sized for (smaller) mass-market paperbacks.
No problem! Kalian repackaged the trade paper version of
"The Best Free Things in America" as a mass-market
paperback, "The Little Book of Free Things." That simple
change helped him sell 40,000 books into those stores.
Write a new book specifically for a customer.
When he approach mail-order-clothing company Haband with his
book, "The Little Book of Free Things," Haband asked for a
book targeted directly at its customers--seniors. Kalian
pulled out information from the general book that was most
applicable to that market and published The Best Free Things
for Seniors. Haband bought 51,000 books. Another sale for
250,000 books came when Kalian created a customized version
of his very first book, "A Few Thousand of the Best Free
Things in America." A magazine was interested in a major
purchase but wanted a few changes. He sent the company the
book, they circled the items they wanted in their version
and sent it back. Kalian then had the customized version
printed and closed the sale.
Selling into special markets "involves work, awareness and
persistence," says Kalian. "In talking to people, the one
thing I find that keeps people from succeeding is that if
they send something out and don't hear back, or get a form
rejection, they forget about it. But it doesn't mean it's
not right for them. It simply means it's not right at this
point in time. In a few months it could be totally
different. Believe in what you're doing and don't get
discouraged because one person, or even a whole range of
people, have rejected it in one form or another."
This article originally appeared in John Kremer's Book
Marketing Update, a twice-monthly newsletter that covers
major media publicity opportunities for authors as well as
case histories of successful book promotion campaigns. For
subscription info, plus a transcript of John's recent
telephone seminar on "What Bestselling Authors Do
Differently," visit http://www.BookMarketingUpdate.com
1STBOOKS SUCCESS PROFILE: DO YOU HEAR "THE RUSTLING OF
Helen Heinmiller, author of the newly published "The
Rustling of Angels", wrote a sweet thank-you note to the
1stBooks staff. We won't reprint the praises she showered on
us, but we would like to share with you some of her
At her first signing at a gallery that had never done book
signings, she "Sold 76 copies and the owner kept 14 for
Her second signing was at "a local bookstore, which agreed
to stock the book one month before the scheduled book
signing, has sold out and reordered more books, all before
She secured several websites and even a "competing" author
as sales outlets. A bookstore owner even took her sell
sheets to hand out at the International New Age Trade show
in Denver, "along with a stellar recommendation to carry it
in their stores."
After just 6 weeks in print, "People are reporting to me
that they are running late for work in the morning because
they can't put it down. I have received repeat orders for as
many as 10 books for people to give to their friends and
Want to know more about Helen's book? Visit
ATTENTION 1STBOOKS AUTHORS IN MARYLAND!
I am looking for two authors to share a booth at the
BALTIMORE BOOK FAIR, September 27, 28 & 29. Any genre is
fine. I would also be willing to display your books if you
cannot attend, but I do need two people to help me staff the
booth. Email me at mailto:alleygata&aol.com for details! (DO
NOT respond to the newsletter staff--we will not forward or
answer replies to this notice.)
EVERYTHING I LEARNED ABOUT WRITING I LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN
by T. Jensen Lacey, mailto:tcjl&hotmail.com
It's true: everything you need to know about the basics of
writing as both an art and a profession is right there in
your kindergarten rules. As a freelance journalist of over
600 articles and photos, a ghostwriter and editor, and
author of four published books, I keep coming back to the
grassroots of what makes or breaks success as a writer. Here
are some of the rules my kindergarten teacher taught me
(with thanks to Robert Fulghum):
STAY TOGETHER. As a kindergartner, you learned about
security in being with your classmates. For the writer, that
means staying connected to other writers (even if they're
not in your genre), editors, and publishers. While you may
not have time or money to attend writers' conferences, you
can stay connected with the publishing world via the
Internet. There are also writers' groups and workshops
available, many for free, in even the smallest town. And if
one doesn't exist where you are--start one yourself. Having
a support network will help you stay inspired and on track.
BE POLITE. Saying "please," and "thank you" is every bit as
important in the writing profession as it was when you were
in the playground as a kindergartner. Whether you're dealing
with an administrative assistant or the editor-in-chief,
politeness is the mark of the professional. I make a point
to write thank-you notes to publishers
who have even rejected my work, especially if they've
included comments I've found helpful. Sometimes that has
resulted in later publication--because editors remember
writers who are polite. It's a simple and oft-overlooked
aspect of your profession.
HAVE A GOOD ATTITUDE. Writing is a journey, and a sure way
to get to a dead end is to be demanding or unappreciative
toward people who want to help you--and who sometimes may
tell you things you don't want to hear. Early on, I came to
realize that editors want to discover new talent. They don't
want to reject work. Seeing your relationship as a team
effort will help your attitude and result in improved
relationships. I don't remember who first said this, but
there's a quote that goes something like, "You can easily
judge someone's character by how they treat those who can do
nothing for them." Treat everyone you come across with
politeness and a pleasant voice and you will be remembered.
STOP, LOOK AND LISTEN. Before you submit something, stop!
Put the piece or manuscript down for a couple of days, then
look it over again. You may be surprised at errors that you
didn't see before. Then read the piece aloud, listen to the
flow and cadence of the words. If any areas sound sluggish
or make your writing lose focus, rewrite them.
EVERYONE LOVES THE SOUND OF HIS OR HER OWN NAME. Remember in
kindergarten, how you were so proud of having your name on a
badge? Or maybe on your own desk? Remember how much you
loved it when the teacher called roll and said your name?
Well, that love remains with all of us, and editors are no
different. Remember editors' names; pronounce and spell them
correctly. Once I called an editor and when I mispronounced
the editor's name to her assistant, the assistant (kindly)
informed me of the correct pronunciation. When I spoke with
the editor, she was so pleased that I pronounced her name
right the first time (to her), I wound up getting a very
nice assignment updating one of their guidebooks (not to
mention a couple of nice-sized checks).
(This article will continue in the next issue)
Freelance journalist Theresa Lacey has written over 600
articles for newspapers and magazines. She enjoys attending
book signings, giving writers' workshops and speaking
engagements. GROWING SEASON, published by 1stBooks, is her
fourth book. Her website is http://www.tjensenlacey.com, and
her 1stBooks page is http://www.1stbooks.com/bookview/9357.
1STBOOKS NEWS: BOOKS AT A DISCOUNT
Do you do speeches, seminars, and author events? Buy your
"sell in the back of the room" copies at a BIG discount; the
more you buy, the less you pay per book. Order your copies
in quantity, and pay less. Discounts range from 42% to 68%!
This, of course, means more money directly in your pocket
because your selling price is the same while the cost of
your product is lower.
To get a free, no obligation quote for your book (for
1stBooks authors only whose books are for sale, please),
send an email to:
ABOUT 1STBOOKS LIBRARY
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