…and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
Or…when it comes to writing books:
“If you write a book and no one reads it does it still make an impact (and is it still worth writing)?”
We all have a story to tell…whether it’s fiction or non-fiction…and as I have said in the past, “Books are still a perfect product.”
But there is no guarantee that just because you write a book anyone will actually read it.
I remember sitting in a creative meeting one day in the early 1990’s talking about a book called The Book of Inside Information (which we called “BII”).
Those of you who are new to my online family might not know that I helped build and grow a wonderful direct marketing company and publisher called Boardroom Inc. for almost 35 years.
Our flagship newsletter, Bottom Line/Personal, was the largest circulation consumer newsletter in America at one time reaching over 1 million paid subscribers at its height.
We also created many large books that were “greatest hits” from our newsletters and none sold more copies than The Book of Inside Information.
Over its lifespan, “BII” sold over 3 million 500+ page hard cover books, all through direct mail.
All were sold at $30 to $40, and they were never discounted in retail or on Amazon (except when someone wanted to sell a copy that didn’t sell very well at their garage sale).
So we were sitting in a creative meeting after this huge success ready to re-launch a new edition of the book and someone suggested that we create a headline (or a large burst on the cover/envelope) for the promotion that said something like:
“Over 3 million copies sold!”
However, while that might work for a mass market book, I didn’t think it was congruent to this particular book.
After all, if the information is so “inside” (i.e. secrets), and 3 million other people have the information at their disposal already, how ‘inside’ can it really be?
So I came up with an alternative headline, a bit tongue and cheek, and one that we did not use (but we had a good laugh):
“Over 3 million copies sold…but only about a dozen have actually been READ!”
There are so many reasons to write a book and they are different for every author or every company writing or publishing one.
And in our world of direct response marketing and entrepreneurship, making a lot of money is rarely the main reason to write and publish a book.
Some yearn for a New York Times bestseller (which also might have nothing to do with making money, only spending it—I know people who spent millions to get their book to #1); some just want a vehicle to express themselves fully; many want to create a lasting legacy; others want to use the book as a lead magnet or list builder; and there is a large group who just want a more impressive “business card.”
And in the case of “BII”, we worked under the premise that even if you sell more books than anyone in a category you still might want to hide that fact from public view.
That’s one you probably never heard before.
But whatever the reason, it’s your reason…and knowing what it is before you embark on such a project is critical.
There were many times during the writing of my new book Overdeliver I wondered whether it would be “worth it”…and the one thing that kept me going was knowing that some people would read it and apply its principles.
A simple goal.
And to make sure that would happen I created an irresistible resource page. No need to leave anything to chance.
Still no guarantee this will work but the tree is now falling.
P.S. Not too long ago, after publishing my first book, The Advertising Solution, I was approached by Entrepreneur Magazine to be part of an article with 7 other entrepreneurs (including my good friends JJ Virgin, Mike Koenigs and Cameron Herold…and even one of my mentors, Dan Sullivan).
I was honored to participate and I want to share the piece with you today.
As you will read here, all 8 of us had different reasons to write a book, all valid, and all part of a bigger (and personal) mission for each of us.
Have you written a book or want to write a book?
I’m interested in your reasons for writing one as I have now published my second book, Overdeliver…and I have a game plan…but that is always subject to change if you have a better idea. 🙂