I met one of my favorite English teachers during my freshman year. He was a dashing young man, with a delightfully twisted sense of humor – and an absolute disinterest in keeping the noise down in his classroom. Only one thing kept the class from becoming a free-for-all. Our textbook. Each entry level English class had to study from the same painfully comprehensive textbook. To ignore it meant you would fail the class. But to read a couple chapters in a row would leave you a drooling wreck. The subject matter was so incredably dense I heard of students dropping classes because they didn’t want to have to deal with it.
But my teacher had a solution. Trashy reality TV. No, really. He recommended watching our favorite trashy, brainless reality TV show and reading as much of the assigned chapter as we could during each commercial breaks. One would act as a palate cleanser for another, and using them both together we could actually comprehend the info that would aid us the rest of our academic careers.
There are some who say college is an expensive babysitting service and that the students don’t retain the lessons they learn there in the long term. But I would have never gotten through the introduction of How to Make Real Money Selling Books without using that advice.
Non-fiction writing is, by definition, usually dry and precise. Especially when it is instructional. And the author, Brian Jud, is not a writer by trade. Which is why the first few pages of this book are as dry as a saltine cracker. When regular readers pick up this kind of a guide, they usually skip such parts. Those of us doing reviews for the books are not so lucky.
However, thankfully, How to Make Real Money Selling Books doesn’t stay dry and tasteless for long. Once you struggle past that dry outer layer of business lingo (I actually cringed at the use of the word ‘paradigm’), you quickly realize you are in a remarkably complex guide that is invaluable to any writer.
Jud knows about literary marketing. He has decades of experience under his belt and leads a consulting firm that exclusively deals with marketing books. And he uses all those years of experience to show you how to sell your book in ways you may have never thought of before.
And that doesn’t mean he gives you the new tried-and-true method to find an agent and assume everything will be OK. There’s no ‘one day boys and girls, your publishing house will come and you’ll all live happily ever after’ fairy tale here. And it’s not just a list of some basic tips to help you build a professional website or throw together a business plan.
This book is a staggering in-depth analysis of all the smaller markets, submarkets, and untapped niches that often go overlooked. It will show you how to work a reading tour, stock a booth at a convention, and wheel and deal in any negotiation. It will show you how to test market before you attempt a riskier investment choice and how to determine which one of your risks will pay off before you put serious captial into them.
And the resources. The resources! The twenty page resource guide alone is a fantastic source of leads, hints, and inspiration. I can’t even count the number of times I said, “Wow!” or “That’s IT!” or “why don’t more people try that?” while reading this book. The further I went into this book the more I kept asking why weren’t more people talking about it. Even if the prose was dry, the sheer bulk of useful and inspiring knowledge in this book is simply overwhelming.
If you are dreaming about publishing a novel – or lying in the aftermath of a bad publishing experience – this should be required reading. Hell, they should have it on book lists for English majors from their sophomore years forward. The dry nature of the text can put some people off, but instructions to a rocket ship aren’t supposed to be a page-turner. Check out the table of contents, find the chapter that deals with the questions you’ve been asking yourself and start from there. You’ll be astonished, grateful, and ready to recommend this book to a friend by the time you’re done.
Leigh is a fearless writer who never met a genre, subject, or format she didn’t like. She has written professionally for the past six years and enjoys biking, exploring odd corners of Northeast Ohio, and discovering those good books she hasn’t read yet.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Square One Publishers. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.