This blog introduces you to my special brand of BIKE. I show you how to find your Best self, access your Inner strength, tune in to your Killer instincts, and use your Expressive voice. It's inspiring, spiritual, quirky, and it's all in your head. It's about ATTITUDE, not exercise, though that might be a side benefit.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Lessons from a productive week

I said last Monday,

" you move forward in the week ahead, think about what it means to be your Best self. Are you going to slow things down, drive more carefully, remember to think responsibly toward others, and be thankful for the goodness you already have in your life? That is my plan. That is my motivation for this week."

And this is what happened:

This project is one I'm working on with two other guidebook authors. The idea came to us at a book event, I believe, more than six months ago, shortly after we first met. And now it's done; we sent it out on Wednesday. Now, we wait for the willing publisher to grab it up and offer us a contract. The three of us really want to do this project and are hopeful it will sell.

I am clearly in book mode lately, as I came up with two more book ideas that I pitched to my publisher. He's in China at the moment, so it'll be a few weeks before I see a response, but I think the ideas are good. I realize the book industry is in a flux right now, but I think these kinds of books are still a draw. I cannot imagine a day where I walk into a visitor center only to discover there are no books available about the area. That will be a very sad day for me, as my shelves are filled with books I buy at visitor centers across the country and beyond. I still like books, in print, and I still read them.

A misunderstanding left an editor with whom I'm working without important detail she needed for the story I turned in last week. She hadn't told me she needed this detail when I received the assignment, and after checking prior issues of the publication, I even e-mailed her to be sure. We got our inquiries crossed, because, for some reason, there was a misunderstanding. I didn't turn the information in because I thought she didn't want it. Turns out, she did need it and notified me about this at 3 p.m., Friday. Of course, I thought I wouldn't be able to get to it till Monday. Luckily, I finished something else quickly and managed to gather the information she needed and get it to her before 5:30 p.m., just in time for me to get ready for my son-in-law's surprise birthday party and not be late for that. She got what she needed. I felt like I saved the day. And everyone had a great time at the party.

But they weren't my books. As part of the same trio of authors mentioned above, I am the main contact for any leads that might come to us, should someone want to work with our alter egos, the Arizona Authors & Adventurers. Lo, and behold! Someone did. I received our first lead last week from a woman who was planning a conference here in Phoenix in October. She was looking for a Phoenix-themed travel guide to send out to her 90 members as part of their marketing campaign for the conference. I understood she needed a response right away, as she wanted to purchase the books the following week. She had a two-week time frame and a budget to maintain. I saw it as an opportunity, of course, to possibly sell my books.

So I did what I do and responded right away. She e-mailed me back. She wanted to know the names of the books and to see a color photo of the covers. I faxed her the postcard our publisher created for us--it has all three of our books on it, and two others. By then it was Thursday evening. On Monday, I followed up, asking her if any of these books might work. She hadn't received my fax, but she had received my e-mail. She asked for me to try it again, or to send a PDF. I didn't have a PDF but did retry the fax, and sent her a link to our Web site, as well as links to each of our books via the publishing house Web site.

Affirmative. She wanted one of the books and told me exactly what she needed to make the decision.

I next contacted my publisher to let him know what was going on and if they could help. There were several e-mails back and forth. When I got an answer with all the pertinent details, I sent them to the contact. The publisher also volunteered to overnight a copy of each of the books to her office in Virgina.

Two days later, she'd made her decision. She bought one of our books--90 copies--but it wasn't mine.

I won't lie and tell you I wasn't disappointed. I had hoped like heck she'd buy 90 copies of mine, and I know the other author would have loved the same. All of our books were available at her budget price and could be shipped out in time. But, I knew going in what this woman wanted (a Phoenix-based book) and only one of ours is that. Each of us authors were aware of this, as I was copying everyone on all the important e-mails (both to update them, and to educate them on one way to handle any future inquiries like this).

Still, it felt great to be able to make this happen, to help the woman get what she wanted, to help my fellow author sell 90 copies of her books, and to not get overwhelmed by the rush and details. The whole experience provided a few lessons from which you might benefit:

_When it's necessary, multi-task. I was in the middle of several other projects, at the end of a pitching contest with other writers, and dealing with the finalization and deadline to get that book proposal out. But I still managed to make things happen with this inquiry. Follow-up was key.

_Follow-up is key. I stayed focused on the goal: to help this woman get the 90 books she wanted for her members. By doing that, I was able to follow up with specific questions and be persistent without being annoying.

_Provide what the customer wants. Though I wanted to, I didn't try to sell her what she didn't want. I showed her what was available, solicited help as needed, and made sure her needs were met. That's what made her happy and helped her make the purchase.

_When working as a team, work together--even if it means one of you won't get something tangible out of it. If you can make something happen, and you know you can, why wouldn't you try? It's the karma that will pay off in the end. And, in actuality, I did get something out of this transaction. I owed this author for which I sold 90 books some money for a dinner meeting; she said I'm paid up now. Nice!

_You can accomplish the impossible. Before last week, I couldn't say I'd sold 90 books in one single day. Now I can, and that's pretty darn cool.

_Win-win situations mean just that. Everyone wins. The client got her books and gets to make her marketing vision happen. The author, who is in royalty stage with her book (now in it's 3rd year) earns a little extra cash. And my publisher is very happy with me and willing to help further our promotional work over here. In other words, he's going to help us out more. So, we'll all sell more books in the end. Despite how much I wanted to say, "Please, buy MY book!" I didn't do that. If I had, we might have lost the sale altogether. No one would have won. In this case, we all won.

The final lesson for you: Find the motivation to do good and good things will happen. That's karma. That's good business. And it's certainly about being your Best self.

Next week, we'll focus on Inner strength. I have a few goals I need to work on in that area. How about you?


Caroline Clemmons said...

You are certainly a nice person to be so fair. What a temptation you resisted. A lesser person would have pretended yours was the only one available. I'm sure some angel just put a big gold star and check mark by your name for that.

Caroline Clemmons said...

Good advice, Jackie.

BIKE LADY said...

Thanks, Caroline. I'm in an informal business relationship with these woman. We all need to trust each other. I couldn't have done it any other way. But I am human; there will always be temptations, right? And who wouldn't want to sell 90 of his or her own books?! But I knew my book wasn't what she was looking for. But we had it what she was looking for, and that's what was important. :-)

MaineTravelMaven said...

Way to go, Jackie! Seems it would be worth contacting CVBs and DMOs about upcoming conferences and marketing to the planners.

BIKE LADY said...

Hilary, thanks. This particular lead did come from the GPCVB. I have a list to work from now and will be working with my publisher to contact those folks. Do you ever do this with yours? 90 books in a single day is a really great sale! My publisher was very pleased. I would have been more pleased had it been my book! LOL.

MickeyG said...

Cool blog, Jackie! I have my fingers crossed for the new book deal. Sounds like a winner -- what's better than one expert? Ta da: THREE!

BIKE LADY said...

Thanks, MG. What are you on by now--four books out? How are sales?