When I wrote A Guerrilla Manual for Adult College Students, I never imagined that I would actually make much money on the deal. I wrote it mostly because I thought a few prospective adult college students might get some benefit from all of the years of mistakes I made when I went to college as an adult.
The publisher of the first edition – a very nice guy in Canada – tried hard to market the book, but just wasn’t targeting the right audience. When it came time to do the 2nd Ed., I decided I could probably do a better job of marketing. So I hooked up with Angela and Booklocker.com. Smartest decision I ever made.
And while I didn’t think I’d make much money on the book, I certainly never thought that people would be putting me on airplanes to talk about the subject of the book. But that’s exactly what’s happened in the last year and a half.
I did my part of the marketing by doing some direct mail to community college bookstores in the U.S. And I put up a website to promote the book. And those two things worked pretty well. I made my investment back pretty quickly.
But about a year into this project, the phone started to ring. People in administrative positions in colleges – not students – started to buy the book. And they liked what they saw, to the point where they started inviting me to speak about adult college students, which I was certainly happy to do. And did. And I made money at it.
And people started to use the book as an incentive to get prospective adult students in to colleges to talk with them about returning to school. And I started selling books in quantity.
Two points need mentioning. First, the book and speaking appearances at colleges feed off each other. One drives the other. Your book might have similar possibilities. You might have to look for them, but they are probably there.
And second, if you ever need anyone to negotiate a deal to sell hundreds of books to a single buyer – as I just did with a couple of colleges – ask Angela to handle it for you. You won’t make as much money as if you did it all yourself but you will still make a nice little profit – I just rang up more than $1500 in royalties in only a couple of weeks with nearly no effort on my part. And you won’t be spending your valuable time trying to learn the ins and outs of negotiating book deals while your writing time suffers.
You probably won’t make the NY Times bestseller list with your book. But if you pay attention to all of the excellent materials on the Booklocker site and hustle a little, you can probably make your book – and yourself – a success. And don’t hesitate to ask the Booklocker folks for a little help here and there. They are friendly, cooperative – and very sharp.
Mike Doolin, thrown out of high school at 17, went to night school for 15 years to earn his Bachelor’s degree, and he was working a full time job and raising a family when he did. At 56 he returned for his Master’s, also as a part-time student. You can read more about Mike’s success and his book here: http://www.adultstudents.com/.