Finding a New Distributor for My Book

Well, after realizing that if I “pressed go” with Amazon KDP as a distributor for my book, I would need to get a new ISBN, and would require an additional new ISBN for Ingram Spark as a distributor to “brick and mortar” bookstores, I thought — “Wow, I am in over my head”! So I just stopped. I didn’t know what to do, so I did nothing. I realized that Amazon still has about 50 copies of my book, so they could fulfill the occasional order. There didn’t seem to be any urgency to act. However, I certainly couldn’t do anything to promote my book, since there were only a limited number of copies available for distribution.

Luckily, and serendipitously, my friend Judy connected me with a woman by the name of Barbara Boldt. Barbara is writing a book and working with “book coach”, Susan Steele. I met with Susan about my interest in creating a financial wellness workshop from the content in my book. In that conversation, I spoke with Susan about my “distributor issues”. Susan connected me with Samantha Leonard. Samantha works in the U.K. Amazingly, she specializes in working with people just like me — self-published authors who worked with small distributors which subsequently went out of business!! I had a wonderful “ZOOM” meeting with “Sam”, and became convinced that she was very, very knowledgeable. I have signed up with her and she will be working with me to create a second edition of my book, under my own imprint, secure the required ISBN’s, and establish the paperback and electronic listings on Amazon and Ingram. I’m thrilled I will be working with Sam and I look forward to the next phase of promoting and selling my book.

Book Distributor went Chapter 11. Now what?

My home town book publisher and distributor, Thomson-Shore, has gone into re-organization, and has cut out a lot of the services they had been providing. Leaving me to find a new book distributor. I determined to move to Amazon KDP for book and e-book distribution to Amazon customers (meaning Amazon will print the books rather than ordering them from another company), and to Ingram Spark for distribution to brick and mortar stores. Signing up with Amazon KDP has been more complex than I anticipated but I’m almost there. Then will tackle the move to Ingram Spark.

Every step of the way, this has been such a learning process — the writing, publishing and distribution of the book. It’s what I appreciate, really. The learning and growing. Since my husband died, I’ve been figuring out what’s next. I feel like I still don’t know “what’s next”, but am creating it as I move forward. Building the bridge as I cross it. It’s funny — when you are a kid, you know what’s next. When you’re a young adult and when you are starting a family, you have an idea of what’s next. But this is new territory. When you’ve raised your kids, had a career or two, and then have been widowed, the path is not so clear. What are the tasks that remain to be accomplished? Sure, you need to provide for yourself and be there to help your kids, friends and community. But are there life tasks to accomplish? What are they? Remaining a contributing member of society is one, I think. Does it have more to do with “being” than with the “doing” which was so critical to every other stage in life?

Back to the book — I presented to a group at the end of April and it went great. Once the new book distribution is set up, I plan to approach a local radio station or two about being interviewed. See how I like that!

Howard Hannah Realty workshop

I met Leanne Wade at an event sponsored by WXW Women’s Exchange Washtenaw, in Ann Arbor, MI. Leanne is a realtor at Howard Hanna. She was interested in the financial wellness work I do, and the two of us cooked up an idea for me to present to a group of her clients. The talk took place on April 7th at the Howard Hanna office in Ann Arbor. Cindy Reach, a local attorney who specializes in real estate law joined Leanne in hosting the event. The event was successful - people seemed interested and engaged in conversation with me and each other. I sold a few books, and I was asked to speak to another group - a sorority - this summer. In addition, I did my first “solo run” operating Powerpoint, and I gained a lot of confidence. I was appreciative for this gig if only for that benefit. I did a lot of re-working of my powerpoint presentation for this event and I feel well-positioned for my next presentation in late April!

The Three Things You Need to Know to Win the Money Game

I have scheduled three “Money Game” speaking gigs. One coming up soon in Arizona where my daughter and family live. Another two in April (Financial Literacy Month) at groups in Ann Arbor - my synagogue and at an event hosted by a realtor and mortgage lender team. I’m thrilled that this is moving forward. And I have the impetus (deadline) now to create a brief workbook people can use during my talk (which will be very interactive). I will see whether I enjoy doing this as much as I think I will enjoy it. The focus of the talks will be what you need to know to win with money. In short, you need to have Financial Goals, you need to have Tools to see where you are now and use in service to achieving your Goals, and you need to be able to maintain a Mindset that keeps you progressing in service to your Goals. I look forward to seeing what I learn from these speaking gigs and to improving my presentation accordingly. And then to securing the next set of gigs. Let’s see where this goes…

Creating and Fulfilling on Intention

2019, I am thinking, will be another “transitional” year for me. I am beginning to transition the management of my business NorthCoast Banners (my day job) to my son-in-law, and taking the next steps in creating what’s next for my Money MIndfulness business. Money Mindfulness is the business that published my book. It’s also the business under which I have provided personal finance consulting. As I transition NorthCoast Banners to my son-in-law, I am building an “off-ramp” for myself — creating meaningful activity related to The Money Game. I shared with my NorthCoast staff that I would like to spend Wednesdays primarily focused on Money Mindfulness and they were incredibly supportive. Having made this commitment to people other than myself is important. It helps me to actually do what I have said I will do. I spent my first Wednesday sending emails to folks who I knew had bought my book, asking them to write reviews on Amazon. Over the past few weeks, that took me from 15 reviews to 27 reviews! I’m very happy about that progress! I’m shooting for a minimum of 40 reviews. The second Wednesday, I wrote a title and description for a personal finance workshop I’m aiming to present to several groups this spring. Today is the third Wednesday!

Book to Engagement

Book to engagement. That’s a phrase an author friend used to describe what’s next for me. That phrase, as simple as it is, was very helpful. And it rang true: I am seeking ways to forward the content of my book by connecting with people, publications, programs. Still, there are many ways to do this — by sharing content with blogs and e-zines, by contacting local media, by speaking at local organizations. Several weeks of swirling ideas and lack of direction. But ultimately, as a result of chatting with lots of people about my interest in presenting “salons” and workshops, speaking opportunities have emerged. I usually do best moving from actual to theoretical rather then the opposite. A few actual presentations under my belt will help me to fine-tune my presentations and better focus the messages I most wish to convey. I have a date set for one mini-workshop (April 28), and am working on scheduling another. To be continued…

Completion of one Phase. Beginning of another.

I stopped at a local Ann Arbor independently owned bookstore a few days ago — Bookbound. My intention was to talk with the owner about hosting an event at which I could talk about my book. She saw the book and said, “We carry that book!”. And then she took me to see it on the shelf. It was so cool to see a bookstore carrying my book! She said that several people had come in to special-order it. So they decided to keep it in stock. So exciting!!! That felt good. It also feels good that I’m declaring my “launch season” complete. What do I want to do next? What can I do with my book and its contents that would bring me joy? Connecting with people brings me the most joy. So I think that I will focus my energy on creating an interactive personal finance workshop.

It's Fun to Sell Books

My friend hosted a small book signing event for me. Mostly women in their 60’s and 70’s attended. Their finances, as far as I know, are in good shape. Nevertheless, these folks were fascinated by the conversation about how we can take charge of our finances and the profound difference that this can make in our lives. A community banker also attended, and helped make the conversation interesting. He asked me whether I think that there is any debt that is a “good debt”. I said that I thought mortgage debt could be a good debt, as could educational loan debt. But even with these, it’s important that we have a plan, have financial goals, and make sure that the amount of mortgage debt or school debt is not so large that it cripples us in advancing our other financial and life goals. So — I sold 5 books that night. And sold another 5 books at a couple of other events during the week — a meeting of the non-profit board on which I serve, and at a holiday party! At a friend’s suggestion, I’ve started to carry a few books and a square reader with me wherever I go!!!

Goals and Tools make winning the money game possible!

Last month, an old friend came to visit me. It was a long time since we’d been together and it was great to have the opportunity to reconnect. In the course of our visit, I began to understand that my friend was in the same boat that David and I had been in 2008 — just as we had not, she didn’t understand what it looked like to win the “money game”. So, little by little, I shared a few ideas to see how she would respond. She loved it! By the end of the weekend, we had put together her monthly budget and she had articulated her primary financial goals. Since our visit, she has met with a realtor to look at how best to prepare her house to sell, she has created a game plan for selling the house and moving into a rental property. She updates her monthly budget every few days so she knows how much is left to spend that month in each of her spending categories. And she has made informed decisions on how she is (and isn’t) going to spend her money. For the first time ever she is the boss of her money. My friend now knows where she is headed financially — because she has her goals. She is in control of her money — because she has her budget. The quality of her life has changed. This is the kind of impact I love to have on people.

Entrepreneurship

In addition to my focus on promoting The Money Game and sharing with people our journey paying down debt and building savings, I’m also doing some work helping small business owners/entrepreneurs. I have a small business client who I consult with — primarily around relationship development and sales communications. I also reached out to the Entrepreneurship Center at our local community college. Through them, I was connected with the Business Education program at WCC and was invited to speak at their “Business Pro’s on Campus” day. I spoke to two accounting classes and one marketing class. The focus of my brief remarks was: the skills of an entrepreneur vs the skills of a manager — and why both are critical to small business success. I also spoke about a couple of structures — a monthly review of financial metrics, a bi-weekly staff meeting, and building a team of strong outside experts — which I believe are critical to small business success. Lots to do this week — write my article for The Credit Professional magazine, and type up a first draft outline for Money: The Long and the Short of It workshop.

Writing and Speaking

At the starting point of two new directions. Will be crafting a 500 word article for The Credit Professional magazine about what it took for us to get ourselves out of debt. Nice opportunity to promote the book, as well as provide value for readers. Also meeting in a few weeks with a rep from a local organization that provides employee training programs. I’m looking at creating a workshop called something like “Money: The Long and the Short of It” helping people to set short-term and long-term financial goals and a plan to achieve them.

What's Next

Thinking about what my next steps should be. Definitely looking forward to a book-signing event at the home of a friend on December 3rd. Will begin this week inviting people to that event. And would like to move forward on the next, and probably final, event of my “launch season” - at a local independently-owned bookstore. Hoping in the next few weeks to stop by my top choice bookstore for that event. After that my next areas of focus will be 1) Making requests of folks I know bought the book to write reviews on Amazon, 2) Writing 500-word content pieces to promote to Personal Finance magazines and blogs, 3) Begin development of a personal finance workshop — meet with key influencers to scope out the project, and create a content outline. Lots to keep me busy. Nothing is urgent. All is exciting and engaging.

Another Speaking Gig: Financial Counselor Training

I had a great time speaking at the Ann Arbor Credit Professionals monthly meeting last week. It was a small but lively group. Lots of interest and excitement, and I sold nine books! My friend Kathryn who is my contact to this group, asked me to speak again next week as part of a Financial Counselor Certification training day she is delivering. Sixty people are expected — my largest group to date! I may have an opportunity to sell books — Kathryn is looking into that. Other potential speaking opportunities are emerging. More on that later…..

Amazon reviews and Next Steps

A friend and book marketing/promotion mentor told me you should have at least 50 reviews on Amazon. And the best reviews are the “Verified Purchaser” reviews. As of today, I have three verified purchaser reviews, and one other review. Four in all. Last week, I dreamed I had five reviews, only to wake up and discover I had only the same three I’d had for weeks (I picked up my latest one a couple days ago). Ugh — that was weird to dream about Amazon reviews. I think the trick is to make requests of people - one at a time - to write a review. That’s what has worked so far. Especially right after they have finished reading the book. Next steps: I am presenting a “lunch and learn” this Tuesday to the Ann Arbor Credit Professionals monthly meeting. And will hold a book signing event at the home of a friend in early December. My final “book launch” goal is to hold an event at a local independent bookstore. I’m thinking of Bookbound on Plymouth Road in Ann Arbor.

First Speaking Gig!

A couple days ago - on September 26th - I was one of six local authors to speak at Local Writers LIVE, an event hosted by the Ann Arbor District Library. Each author had 5 minutes to speak. I used my time to chat briefly about the “money mess” we were in, and how our journey of fixing our money mess led me to write my book. I used the remainder of my time to read an excerpt from Chapter Seven, titled “Eye of the Storm”. After all the authors spoke, we each were available to answer questions and sell copies of our books. I sold ten books!! These are the first books I have personally sold, and it was so exciting!!!

Ups and Downs

Such an interesting experience — the launching of a book! My pre-launch listing on Amazon was perfect. Then, on the launch date itself, the Amazon listing got messed up — suddenly the book was no longer available through Amazon and only available through third-party sellers at crazy prices. It took over two weeks to straighten it out, but now -thank goodness - the listing shows Amazon Prime again, with the normal price. Still ironing out a few things, but we are back on a good track. The book is selling - I don’t know yet how many. I’m looking forward to getting my first monthly report through Thomson-Shore which is representing my book to Amazon and the other wholesalers. I also just posted on Facebook about an upcoming event at the Ann Arbor Library - Local Writers LIVE - in which I will be participating on September 26th. I will be speaking and selling/signing the book!!!

Launch Date of my book!

Hi there.  Today is the official launch date of my book.  I'm thrilled about that!  What a road I traveled to get here!  Unfortunately, to my (hopefully temporary) dismay, Amazon is listing the book as available only via third party sellers.  Ugh.  And for higher $ than the list price of the book!  Double ugh!  And no Amazon Prime!  Triple ugh!!  Hopefully this will all be fixed soon - today if I'm lucky.  Still - I'm excited that the launch date is here.