I am a wise woman. It is not because I have all the answers that I consider myself wise. It is because I prefer learning from others than making all my own mistakes. I developed my philosophy from an accountant I knew when I opened my first business. She said, “People will tell you that everything you do for your business is tax deductible. They are right. It is tax deductible but it is deductible from YOUR PROFITS.” She was a wise woman and I have conducted several successful businesses with those words echoing in my brain.
Because of her words, when it comes to my writing/publishing/promotion business I am a cheapskate and very proud of it. She is the reason I am out flogging six personal adventure travel books and making money at it…perhaps not a fortune but certainly paying all the expenses with enough money left over for the printing and binding of the next book. Remember it is with the backlog of your books where you make your money, not the newest or latest edition. I never do a book signing, lecture or reading that I don’t have all my books with me.
- I never send out books to unknown reviewers for promotion or for blurbs. I have enough writer friends who read my books who are delighted to accommodate me with a sentence or two and they are thrilled to see their name on the back cover of my book. I, of course, do the same for them.
- I never advertise. Advertising expenses alone will kill any small business getting started. In its place I have developed a killer press release that I send to the newspapers, magazines, radio and television programs. It starts with ìDid you ever wish you could run away from home? (a grabber) It ends with the events I’m doing in the local area, i.e. signings, lectures or readings.î I have also developed my own letterhead strictly for the press release. It has gained me lots of attention. With a Publishing Program in your computer this process is easy.
- I don’t give away free bookmarks. With my first book, Restless from the Start, now out of print and replaced by Free Spirit – Born to Wander, I found that producing and giving away bookmarks with my books was a waste of time and money. I don’t remember ever making an addition sale from a bookmark since the bookmark had the name of the bookstore on it rather than my own. It took time to create five bookmarks on one card. The card stock was expensive and going back to the store to cut them was time consuming. I now make beaded bookmarks since I love beading in addition to writing and lecturing. My bookmarks sell for $10.00 each or 2 for $15.00. It is a little sideline to the main business and definitely brings over the curious. I sometimes sit outside and work on the beading.
- I DO give away business cards. They are worth their weight in gold. I purchase the business card stock at Sam’s Club for $5.65 per thousand and I purchase at least three boxes at a time. Does it get any cheaper than that? All my personal information is on the front of the card and the books appear with the with the 800 number to my distributor on the back of the card. Thanks to Microsoft Publisher in my computer I put a different picture on every ten cards. They are fun. They are easy. They are quick and best of all…they are cheap. I usually spend at least half a day producing them because I make four or five hundred at a time.
These are just a few of the things I do to keep the expenses down and, since I’m still in business ten years later, I know they work.
Joei Carlton Hossack is the author of (1) Restless from the Start, (2) Everyone’s Dream Everyone’s Nightmare, (3) Kiss This Florida, I’m Outta Here, (4) A Million Miles from Home, (5) Alaska Bound and Gagged and, and (6) Free Spirit – Born to Wander. Joei is an entertaining and inspirational speaker specializing in world travel. She conducts workshops on Writing/Publishing and Promotion. Her books are available from http://www.aBooks.com or by calling 1-800-472-0438.