I'm inspired

by | Feb 19, 2007 | Book Marketing Basics

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I don’t know about you but very few things seem to inspire me these days. If we’re not getting caught up in some sort of political scandal we’re being mesmerized by another celebrity misstep. It seems that we live in somewhat jaded world, doesn’t it? But that’s usually when it happens, you know that piece of inspiration you go searching for suddenly pops onto your doorstep. Often when you least expect it. Take, for example, a book event I just did with Jeff and Maria Edwards. I’ve known them for a few years, they came to a Learning Annex event I did in San Diego a while back, sat in the front row and took copious notes. Then they called me for a consult, I spent an hour with them while they took even more notes and asked dozens of questions. I didn’t hear from them for a while and figured that they’d run out of steam. I couldn’t be more wrong. They were building a full-charged campaign, piece by piece, day by day. They hadn’t given up, not at all but were instead moving forward in a steady, strong pace and when I saw them again, I was blown away. Now, some three odd years later Jeff’s book: Torpedo has won five awards and been optioned for a movie. Jeff swears it’s because of the time they spent with me. This is only very partially true. The fact is you could move in with me and spend hours asking me for marketing advice but if you a) don’t implement it and b) don’t have a good book – I could introduce you to Oprah and it wouldn’t make a bit of difference. When Jeff tells you it’s all my doing that they’re successful don’t believe him, he wrote a damn good book and has never stopped marketing it for a day in the three years since it’s been published.

So there I am at this signing and I’m watching them, this dedicated husband & wife team and suddenly I’m inspired. I mean they’ve got jobs and kids and responsibilities just like everyone else, and yet they’re doing their thing but moreover, they’re also helping other authors do their thing too. Their mission, aside from selling Jeff’s book, is to teach and inspire others to do the same. “It’s not about just promoting myself,” Jeff said humbly, “it’s about promoting other writers too.” Which is why they invite authors into their signings, authors who might not be able to get an event on their own. Maria is dedicated to doing events with her husband, they set up as soon as the bookstore is open and work the entire day 10-6. Amazing. A few years ago I got a call from an author complaining because the store wanted her to sit for three hours instead of two. I mean whatever would she do for three hours in a bookstore? Gee, how ’bout sell a book? Now there’s a concept.

I guess my point is first to say that while some days I grapple for inspiration, the dedication of these two people really does inspire those who know them and second, this is a lesson every author needs to learn. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Market consistently and often, don’t expect miracle in 30 days, 90 days, or even a year. Eric Kampmann of Midpoint Trade Books calls it the long runway and truly it is. It’s a long take-off and that’s a good thing, it gives you the time you need to prepare to soar.


  1. Maria Edwards


    You are really something! Thank you for your kind words. I am glad you enjoyed the book event and cannot wait for March’s to roll around.

    Should passers by stop and listen to us chatting it would play like a comedy I think. Jeff and I were so nervous having you sign with us. We kept thinking – “here’s this expert marketing person. She’ll probably think this is so cheesy or even worse – there’s not enough foot traffic for her and she’ll be so disappointed.” The whole time you were saying how you were so impressed with us – doing the things you taught us two and half years ago!

    I guess that goes to show we should take what we do and say to heart. You never know just who is listening. It reminds me of a saying that floats around our e-mail a couple times every year… “To the world you might just be one person, but to one person, you might just be the world.” I could use about three of me these days to fully implement more of the things you shared at the Learning Annex seminar. I still have those pages of notes – and turn back to them whenever I think I’m getting stagnant. I just sent out my update on the TORPEDO’s progress – this one is the first I couldn’t do simply in the body of the e-mail. I actually had so much to share that I created a word doc. That’s a big thing for me and I’m sure our reader’s sat back and said “WOW!” afterwards – or at least I hope they did.

    For any of your readers who live in the San Diego area, I’d like to invite them to come by the B&N on Friars (right off the 163 at Hazard Center) on Saturday, March 10th to enjoy one of your talks. Penny will be there at 10:30 that morning and speak for about 20 minutes. After a brief Q&A, she’ll be joining Jeff at the front of the store to sign her books. I’ll be there with my notepad (already packed), anxious to learn another new marketing trick! MARK YOUR CALENDARS!! Oh and don’t forget to introduce yourselves. Penny, Jeff and I love to meet new authors, fans too!

    Again, thanks Penny!

    Maria Edwards


  2. Jeff Edwards

    Okay, it’s certainly true that Maria and I work hard at marketing the book, but Penny is the one who taught us to think like marketers. The fun part is figuring out how to do it on a shoestring. It can be done. You just have to get creative.

    We did another signing the day after our event with Penny, and we had to go home early because we sold out of books. It doesn’t always happen that way, but it’s happening more often with time.

    Thanks, Penny! We may not quite owe all of it to you, but you put us on the right road. We wouldn’t be where we are if you hadn’t helped us.


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