Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Applying small business lessons to writing.

It's amazing how many of the lessons I've learned in my 33 years in business can be applied to writing.

For one thing, I'm usually planning for big changes at the store months and sometimes years in advance.  I slowly move that direction, get everything prepared ahead of time, and then when the time is right, I make the big move.  I have it all it all thought out -- what to carry, how to price it, where to place it.

Telling people ahead of time is useless.  Accomplishing it is the only thing that matters.

In fact, telling people in advance just dissipates the effect.  Promising at a certain date and then not delivering destroys your credibility.  Underpromise and overdeliver.

I'll usually test the waters a little, again without saying or promising anything.  So, to me, DEATH OF AN IMMORTAL is my test book -- making all my little mistakes with a single book.  (Timing and presentation -- it's been a learning experience...)

It's also true that most major changes I make seem to have little impact at first.  It takes a long time for people to notice and respond.  Often, regular or old customers never do notice.

Was talking to a friend who is a reader and he mentioned a couple of titles of books he was wanting to get.  He normally buys comics from me.

"I have both of those books in stock."

"I never think of your store for books..." he says.


What happens is that I move on -- I find new customers. 

My store has always been about content.  I don't spend a lot of time on promotions -- indeed, I often feel promotions are counter-productive.

Being at a location where people can walk in the door and then having the item they are looking for -- or an item they didn't even know they were looking for -- that's pretty much my business plan.  Planning with layout and selection is my marketing.  

Anyway, I'm going to apply these techniques to my writing and producing of books, and hope that I eventually get a similar response. 

But first I need to plan it all out in advance.  Have the product ready.  What to carry, how to price it, where to put it.

Have something worthwhile from the beginning.

No comments: