The following report was written by Aron Trauring in response to a post on the PMA discussion list by Jerry Jenkins
(http://www.bookpublishing.com), where Jenkins listed the ten shortcomings
of small publishers. This report is reprinted by permission of the author.
If you would like to submit a personal report on any aspect of writing, publishing, or marketing a book, please
send your request to JohnKremer@bookmarket.com. We would be happy
to reproduce other real-life stories or commentary from authors and publishers.
Mom and pop grocery stores sure better be more business-like and business-savvy than Safeway or they will fast be
crushed by them. If you are independently wealthy or have some other source of income and have time to support yourself and
your book publishing hobby, then perhaps you are correct. But if you are an entrepeneur who sees book publishing as a source
of livelihood, then Jerry's 10 commandments should be pasted on your stomach (not your forehead — your stomach — so you can
constantly look down and read 'em).
As an add on or commentary to Jerry's list, here's my take on what it takes to make a business successful. I've learned
these by looking at the successful people I meet, talk to, read about and listen to. I always try to learn from and emulate them.
1. Your business has to be a passion. When you wake up in the morning the first thing you think about is, “How do
I advance my business today?” When you go to bed at night the last thing you think about is, “What do I do to advance my
business tomorrow?” You should be dreaming about your business, too!
2. You have to be a consumate marketer: constantly selling and promoting yourself and your business everyday
and everyway. Not in an obnoxious way. But as that great cookbook lady Joanna Lund said, “Use a velvet hammer.”
3. Persistence. As John Kremer says, your customers need you. If they say no once, you just haven't done a good
enough job yet explaining to them why — or the time isn't yet ripe. But never give up!!! We just won a very important
contract for our business. It took us two years to get there, but we never let up.
4. Being there. Showing up. If you're not there, it ain't gonna happen. Going to trade shows is one way of being
there. In a sales seminar I went to once, the speaker said how he was constantly amazed how many salesman give their pitch
and then never ask for the business!!! Asking for the business is a variation on being there.
Even if you do all these things and all the things on Jerry's list, you may not succeed. But if you don't then you will
never succeed. And by success I don't just mean financial success. Even if you want to promote some idea or some value,
throwing it out into the wind just won't make it happen. All the founders of great religious movements, for example, followed
these laws of success. Think about it!
Lighten up. Business should be fun. If it's your passion it will be a lot of fun. I had an amazingly great time at PMA
University and BEA. But you better take your business seriously too! If you treat your book or business as a joke or something
to be taken lightly, so will everyone else.
— Aron Trauring, MAXIMA New Media. Check out http://www.maxnm.com for new freebies and contests.
Jerry's Commandments: A Summary
In his post to the PMA discussion list after the 1997 BookExpo America, Jerrold Jenkins detailed the ten reasons why small
publishers fail. Here is a summary of those reasons:
1. They put all their eggs into the trade sales basket, and ignore the opportunities of other markets (corporate, Internet, etc.).
2. They publish too many books. Most publishers are too eager to publish more titles and forget about marketing the ones they already have.
3. They're lazy. For example, they don't bother to establish personal relationships with the people that matter
most—magazine editors, newspaper editors, etc.
4. They're undercapitalized and run out of money.
5. The book is designed poorly.
6. They fail to explore new markets.
7. They don't think networking is important. My own belief is a trip to BookExpo pays for the trip expenses ten-fold.
8. They fail to educate themselves.
9. They don't stay on top of changes in the industry.
10. They think of publishing as a hobby and not a real job.
— Jerrold Jenkins is the president of the Jenkins Group (http://www.bookpublishing.com)
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