Friday, August 22, 2014

A good summer.

The store is having a good summer.  Nice.  Downtown is booming, my product mix is clicking, and Cameron and Matt are doing a great job.

So it got me to thinking about what it took to make the store successful.

I don't advertise, or promote, in any way.  If a newspaper wants to come interview me, I'm down with that.

I see three things that have worked at the store.

1.) Size and diversity of product.  I just kept trying out product lines until I had a mix that produced enough sales to be self-sustaining.  This changes all the time, and is always in flux.

2.) Longevity and consistency.  I'm always open, I've been in the same location for 30 years, I institute policies and stick to them.

3.) A busy street.  Ironically, for half of the time I've been downtown, that wasn't true.  But at least I was smart enough to see when downtown was recovering and to change my product mix to reflect that.


I can do the first two things myself.

1.)  I can write books, bunches of them, try to make them as consistently good as I can, try diversity.  Create the content until I find the right mix.

2.) I can keep on writing.  Just be steady and persistent.

It's #3 that will be the problem.  Always is.  Kind of luck that I established my store on a street that became busy. 

So what is the publishing equivalent of a busy street?

Well, Amazon, obviously.  And Barnes and Noble, and Apple, and Kobo and all the rest.  But that's like saying you're located in New York -- it doesn't say what part of New York you're in. 

That's the tough part.  How do you maneuver yourself to 5th Avenue?

For now, I'm concentrating on the first two elements of success, and looking for opportunities on #3.

Most people's answer to #3 is to promote, but for me that probably isn't the answer.  One thing I learned in my store is that you build on your strengths, not expend efforts on your weaknesses.  I'm pretty opportunistic -- when I see opportunities, I try to take advantage of them.  What I don't seem to be good at is creating those opportunities from whole cloth.

Well, it's still early.  I'll be hitting the two year mark on September 1, of a five year plan, that I can see easily extending to a ten year plan. 

I'll just keep writing, and trying to get better, and producing books.

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