Sunday, March 29, 2009

Reputation Marketing

I bound my first book Friday night. I used the cardboard from a cereal box for a cover. I cut the pages using a scissors (won't happen again). In my effort to write a book about roped solo climbing I've researched stuff like ISBNs, printing, cover options, book binding at home, selling, amazon, google books, marketing, print on demand, and website development. 

The not as encouraging news:
  • I have quite a bit more work to do on my book before I can sell it confident that I won't be responsible for killing anyone. Both words and illustrations.
  • I will need some major proof reading and editing before I publish.
The good news:
  • It is possible to make money (although not much) starting with no money in my spare time. I found this great ebook about it: Zero Dollars, a Little Talent and Thirty Days. 
  •  It is possible to print one paperback book at a time professionally for less than six dollars a book. For a hundred books the price drops to under 4 dollars per book. This is from lulu.com. I also checked out CafePress but they would charge just under ten dollars per book  for the same service. So not as much profit for me and I would have to charge more than ten dollars in order to make any money. (My goal audience is probably only 300-500 people).
  • Lulu give away ISBNs free if you are willing to name them as the publisher. For $99 you can buy the ISBN and list yourself as the publisher. I'm undecided which way I will go. I would like to be my own publisher but saving $99 would be great.
  • Practically no domains dealing with rope soloing are taken and you can buy them for $5-$10. 
  • I found this great site Do It Yourself Bookbinding. For penny pinchers it shows how to bind books using very cheap materials. While I found this interesting I do not think that I could literally produce 500 of these for the same amount of effort that Lulu does. Maybe I'll save that for a hardcover copy or two...
Why did I title this "Reputation Marketing" you might ask? I feel that my career will be built upon what I have done and what I do, not who I am. I am in the unique position of having experience rope soloing and there is no book out there about how to do it. People have all sorts of questions on rockclimbing.com, gorp.com, tradgirl.com, et cetera... If I can write a book that can save some one twenty hours of time fooling around with gear setups then it's well worth their ten dollars. Even if I only make one dollar on each book and sell three hundred books and waste the entire profit on 3/4 of a really nice tent I now have a reputation as the guy who wrote the book on rope solo climbing. So when I start a company and sell mountaineering gear people will hopefully say, "this guy knows what he's doing, he wrote the book on roped solo climbing."

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