The Authorprenuer

authorprenuerSeveral hands were in the air and the students were eager to ask questions. I was teaching a class on publishing and book marketing at Rosemont College. This particular evening I was the guest speaker and was revealing one of the little known secrets of the book publishing business – how few books actually sell. Statistically, the average nonfiction book will only sell 250 copies in its first year and no more than 3000 in its lifetime. For new authors looking to impact the world with their words, these can seem like daunting odds. Will anyone actually read what they have toiled for years to write?

It is certainly true that we live in a time when it has never been easier to get a book published. Many of the requisite tools are available on line. Getting the book made available on, especially as an e-book is a matter of effort and following instructions. Each year hundreds of thousands of books are being written and published and yet so few actually make it into people’s hands or ever get read. There is now startling new information on the number of “free” e-books that are downloaded and never read. It seems like the old truism that people value what they pay for is still true.

This reality is informing a new generation of authors who are part writer, part entrepreneur. They recognize that writing a good book is only the first half of the book selling equation. The other part involves networking, relationship building, creating a brand and spending lots of time working on that dreaded word – a platform. It really is true that those take the time to do this well can experience the joy of seeing their books reach audiences they never dreamed about. Every once in a while, all of this hard work and a little bit of serendipity will combine to create that perfect storm that publishers love – the hot new book that is getting a lot of buzz.

Last year, I met one of these new “authorprenuers” (yes I just made that word up-or at least I thought I had until I Googled it). Matt Mitchell is affectionately known in our offices as “the gossip guy” and he has done an amazing job of writing a great book and developing a significant platform. He is one of those rare people who can write a highly accessible book and find a way to connect deeply with his audience. Last year, his book Resisting Gossip, took off like a rocket and became our best-selling new book of the past year. It was recognized by several key bloggers (that regularly review books) as one of the most important new books of 2013.

Not satisfied to have simply written a great new book, Matt spent a good part of this past year working on a companion study guide called, Resisting Gossip Together. As he was working on it, he hit upon an idea that we got really excited about. He wanted to create a series of teaching videos that could be used alongside this new resource. There was only one catch – they had to be made available for FREE on the internet. After thinking about it for a few moments, we agreed that this might just be the best idea we had heard in a long time. As Matt describes them – “They are our gift to the world”. Check out the trailer for this video series

Matt’s teaching videos are available now on line for FREE. The new study guide, Resisting Gossip Together and the DVD with his teaching videos on them will be available for purchase on Tuesday, October 7th.

It is one of my greatest joys to work alongside a new generation of writers who work just as hard at making their books interesting to buy as they do in writing the book in the first place. Many of our new books have book trailers created by our in house team or the authors themselves. These video trailers tell a compelling story that words alone could never do. One of these exciting new authors is Ryan Lokkesmoe and his vital new book, Blurry releases this Tuesday. Check out his exceptional video book trailer.


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