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What's Your Biggest Challenge with Your Book?

I'd be interested to learn what authors/publishers on this network think their biggest challenges are with their book. I wonder if there's any common, pervasive challenge we all face.

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I love your wit, John! Yes, Johnny can act and has tons of girls goo gooing over him now, but I'm sure he didn't think that would ever happen after his first film "Nightmare on Elm Street". And the critics didn't think much of Jumpstreet either.

Who would have known a guy that sold pens over the phone, who had no formal high school or college education would do so well-- you know? Really does give no names like us hope.
Ah, but Johnny can act. That's the secret ingredient. When I go out into the public eye, my image is of a short, pudgy old guy with a thin shrill voice. I don't draw crowds; I get walked over by them.

When I express some provocative concept, people have a look of fear in their eyes. If Johnny Depp said the same words, their eyes would glaze over and deep sighs would ensue.

So you question your ability to wow crowds when your physically present, but you're obviously gifted at coming across great with your words (like in these forums). A lot of people don't need to be pressing themselves to get on TV and radio. In fact, I had two TV appearances on two of the largest Atlanta TV stations (Fox 5 and Good Day Atlanta). Both went well. When I reviewed them, I was pleased at how I came across. The interviewers held up my book and recommended it. An image of my book come up on the screen. I think it was as good as I could do and as good as they could do to present my book.

But I got no sales at all. I actually think that, in general, viewers view, listeners listen, and readers read. I know that best-sellers have come from getting on Oprah, but I know some who've gotten nationally televised attention and sold very little. I spend the bulk of my time communicating in print.
That's like the old saw: If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound? Well duh, yes it does, but if know ones is around to notice, who cares. Marketing PR is of the same ilk.

It is amazing to me. I can sell over the phone but not in person. I wonder what people see in me in person that they don’t when they just hear my voice or read my words. I have to believe it is the physical image. I somehow convey mistrust or fear.

Of course, writing is golden, because you can edit and rewrite. You have time to craft. Speaking impromptu has the danger of saying something stupid and that may the tripwire for me. I love to chat and ramble. Somewhere in all that, I probably offend just to get a rise.
I held a Hypnotist occupational license for many years and my most thrilling event was being a special feature at a company dinner of about 250 people for a large brewery. Everything went perfect, my stage demonstrations very ethical and wowing and the most exiting thing of the entire night was when I finished and returned to my table, a young lady rushed up to me and told me while she was being hypnotized on stage with eight other volunteers, her boyfriend had gone into a trance near the back of the audience. This does happen and even though she was very uncomfortable because he would not wake up for her, I merely went back while the entire banquet area got quiet and sat in a hushed silence to watch what happened. Naturally, he responded immediately to me and even he couldn't believe he had been blessed with total, safe and wonderful relaxation. Beside working out of an office, I had other connections with a medical doctor and law enforcement in our city and taught my programs in the area recreation center. Dr M
I saw a hypnotist for the first time at a family get-together a year ago. It was amazing. Have you tied anything like this into your book sales? I know that the Eragon author got his book going by doing school talks, dressed up in his medieval armor.

Although I've never done magic tricks, I've thought it would be neat to do financial talks in schools (probably elementary level?) using simple magic tricks. You know, like how easily a quarter can disappear (overspending), but how you can find money to save and invest in the strangest places (behind your ear, etc.). Much more fun than a boring "How to Handle Your Finances" talk.
My job in the school system was to orient students toward the college or career of their choice. One of my categories was in finding speakers for the school. Finances when presented properly and on the right age level can be very interesting. My own youngest daughter has had a savings account most of her life and an IRA since the earliest day possible, she began working at age 14 as did each of my other children and as I have said before, all are very successful with college educations that they paid for themselves without borrowing one single dollar. Finances should be stressed more in our schools and I don't think the early grades are too soon. Our society has come to believe that it is necessary to have a credit card and a useful credit score to survive and that is not true. I have never had either nor have some of my children. I was taught by my parents very early, if you can't pay cash, it isn't your right to buy. I owned ten houses at one time and never qualified for any, there are honest ways to make a living with cash. It's a long story, but my way won't work for people who are not disciplined. I have been into the stock market for over forty years and not once did I buy on margin.

But, back to your thoughts. I believe finances should be taught in school, I did hypnosis demonstrations for grade school, high school, colleges, businesses, legal secretaries and attorneys, doctors, and various other civic organizations. I have never tried hypnosis in selling as it might be considered unethical, however, good advertising comes very close.
Here would be a very interesting subject for you to talk to on finance. He is one of my life long students and after twenty years, he still comes for updates once a year. I got him his first two or three jobs.

If you need an introduction to Bruce, I can arrange it. He will bend over backwards to help my friends, plus he lives in a real nice house in Florida on the water and a place where you would love to visit.
I have just skimmed along, but should you want to pursue any areas that I have touched upon, my email is and I will be only too happy to help.
By the way, my youngest daughter is mentioned in David Bach's workbook as a fourteen year old who is on track to make a million dollars early in life. Check it out.

I know, everyone tells me the same thing, I talk too much.
Dr M
No, you don't talk too much. Great content, great ideas. I'll look at the link above. Very interested.
Wow Steve, you bring up a good point about marketing! Some people swear that TV and radio is the way to go, but I guess that form of marketing can also be a hit or miss. This is good to know. While it might be upsetting when it happens, you still have to have the "keep on keeping on" attitude. Of course, it helps to love what you do to LOL!

Doing a publicity campaign with no visible results is discouraging at first, particularly when I thought something would be a big deal, but looking back, I doubt that any of my efforts have been a total bust. I bought the rights ($45 each) to those news segments and put them up on youtube, pointing back to my press page. Now, if a media person wants to see if I can handle TV, they can see it from the press site.

For about the first 6 months on my present book, books only sold when I did some publicity (got a review, sold some to a CPA to give as graduation gifts, etc.). None of these efforts were huge sellers. A very positive article in the Oakland (California) Tribune was the biggest, but might have only sold about 17 copies total.

Yet, because of little, daily stuff, now there are links to my book from lots of places and more people have seen the book in various venues. After that initial 6 months, books started selling on Amazon without me having to do anything. It's like word of mouth started taking over. Perhaps it reached a tipping point? By September they were selling about 1 per day on Amazon, by November 2 per day and December/January three per day. February back to 2 per day.

My take on this is that little things add up. Even little things that seemingly have no impact at all. Do something every day to get the word out there - like an e-mail to a popular blog host to see if they want to review it. Maybe only one out of 20 end up reviewing it, but hey, sending out one request per day would mean that I'd be getting one review every month. Not bad. And once those links back to my Amazon page are on the blogs, they stay there and people may find them in a search years later. Like the link below!

J. Steve Miller
President, Legacy Educational Resources
Author of Enjoy Your Money! How to Make It, Save It, Invest It and Give It
"The money book for people who hate money books."
I had left a post on this thread asking for one simple thing. ONE thing! I asked that Superman travel backwards around the planet so that I could gain two extra hours a day for writing and marketing time. And what do I hear....our days may have been SHORTENED by the Chile earthquake.

Now that's a challenge! :)
I hadn't heard that. Alas.


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