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Sunday, December 15, 2019

Does Your Book Have A Readership?

Front Cover

Twenty -five years ago my first book was published:  The Florida Homeowner, Condo and Co-Op Association Handbook:  The Rights, Responsibilities and Resources of Board Members and Residents. It wasn’t a book I thought that I would write, but it’s an example of how to think about yourself as a writer of useful, commercial books.

After I relocated to South Florida on my 25th birthday, from Brooklyn, New York, I rented for a year and then saw an opportunity to buy my first house. It was a home that was going to go into foreclosure because a divorcing couple fell behind on payments. I was to become the home’s second owner, paying less than what the couple had paid for it five years earlier. It was 1993, Florida. For $93,000, I had a practically new, three-bedroom home overlooking a manmade lake, just 15-minutes from downtown Ft. Lauderdale and beautiful, sunny beaches.

The single-family home was part of a development. Almost all housing in Southern Florida was part of an association – homeowner, condo, or co-op, which meant there were rules to what you could do to our property from what size dog you could own, to whether you could post a flag, or paint your house a certain shade of yellow.  But the associations keep things nice and give you a sense of community, helping to preserve property values, keep you safer, and maintain a certain look. Unfortunately, the tug of Big Brother can often bump heads with property owners and fights or lawsuits break out.

As a young first-time owner, I thought the resident-elected board was incompetent, dictatorial, and misguided.  I sparked an election to overthrow the entire board.  

It worked “Shit, now what?” was my thought.

I ended up running for the homeowner association board, sweeping in all new members. We won but had no clue what to do. There was a management company that was paid by the association and answered to the board. We were just ordinary individuals with diverse backgrounds, but we were asked to review matters of finance, law, ethics, and social significance. We were not trained in this. I couldn’t find even a book to act as a guiding resource. So I wrote one!

I found myself researching an issue and reporting back to the board, writing up a short memo on my findings. I realized I could put together a whole book of what we didn’t know – but needed to. It’s a good example of writing books that fill a void and serve a need.

In one year it sold 5,000 copies, mainly in one state, Florida.  My publisher actually wanted me to write a national edition or other localized ones.  But these books require a lot of work and understanding of the law, which varies state to state.  They also would need a revision every few years, as the laws would change over time. But this one edition was a worthwhile venture.

Books get published every day because they:

·         Fill a need.
·         Are commercial.
·         Have a big enough readership potential.
·         Are marketable.

Writers write what they know – and what interests them.  That’s fine. But when you also write about a topic that has a void – and you can sell books on it – you should go for it!  

I did -- and I loved every minute of it.


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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2019. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.

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