Sunday, April 08, 2012

Book Publishers: Don't Belittle Your Book Authors' Ideas

Guest post by Don Hendon

On May 5, 2010, I wrote to Milburn Calhoun, and suggested repositioning 365 Powerful Ways to Influence. I did this based on the advice of Mack Hanan, the well-known marketing consultant who wrote an excellent testimonial for my book.

365 Powerful Ways to InfluenceHanan thought my book should be retitled and sold as a reference book for salespeople and sales managers, using direct marketing and social marketing methods. It would not be sold through stores because big-box chains were reluctant to buy Pelican books based on their discount policy. The repositioned book would be similar to Physicians Desk Reference. The new title would be Salesman’s Desk Reference Book.

I did a market analysis, using the 2010 Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, and sent it to Calhoun.

My analysis showed there is a market of 11.5 million people in the U.S., including 2,816,100 sales managers, marketing managers, advertising and promotion managers, public relations managers, and supervisors of retail sales workers as well as 8,633,300 sales reps, including:
Sales reps working for manufacturers and wholesalers
Sales engineers
Insurance agents
Advertising agents
Real estate brokers
Securities, commodities, and financial services agents
Travel agents
Retail sales reps
Counter and retail clerks
Demonstrators and product promoters
Milburn Calhoun’s 14-word response, sent the same day: You failed to count 2,000,000 desk clerks, 50,000 personal trainers, and 200,000 pool attendants.

I thought it was rude and sarcastic. What do you think? I welcome your comments. Please contact me at

John's response: No book publisher should slam one of their book authors in this way. It's okay to disagree. It's okay to amend. It's okay to explain how their analysis is superficial or insufficient (if that is what you think). But it is not okay to treat their suggestions lightly.

Book authors are your lifeblood. Treat them well and they will help you sell more books.
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