Hedley Rees shares his thoughts on the biggest issue facing authors
[The following post was written by Hedley Rees, an author with over 35 years of experience in the industry. Click here to read more, including his Take Note and Promote interview]
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Occasionally I’m asked about the biggest issue I faced in writing my book. As I think back now, writing the book turned out to be the easy part; by far, the most difficult piece was getting people interested in buying the book.
Soon after publication, I realized the book was not exactly flying off the shelves. Global monthly sales were barely reaching double figures. So I conferred with two established authors in my network (both with 45 books to their name) and their message was unanimous – I had to get the word out there for myself. Publishers have too much going on to focus on individual authors, especially new and unknown ones.
I started to think about what they had said. True, I was unknown (even the people who knew me well, they didn’t know my competence as an author worthy of risking a significant investment in my product). As I pondered other possible issues, I realized my subject area (supply chain management) was in its infancy in pharmaceuticals and life sciences (my target market). Hence, the book was never even considered by prospective purchasers. That meant not only did I have to grow the market for the contents of my book, I had to raise awareness levels of the subject matter in an entire industry sector.
I’ve been climbing these particular mountains ever since. Now some two years plus into the ascent, I have learned a lot. In terms of getting over the first peak, I have leaned heavily on getting reviews from respected experts. This entailed a significant amount of work through my contact network and continual following up by email. I have inventoried all the reviews into a pdf which I can attach to LinkedIn status updates, twitter and emails. In the end, the effort was certainly worth it.
As for the second obstruction, it is still a work in progress. I have been fortunate in one sense. As I have been preaching the importance of supply chain management in pharmaceuticals, the issues in the pharma supply chain have gained prominence even up to congressional level and through to the President of the United States himself. Maybe I should send a copy to the White House!
August 2, 2013