A unique blog dedicated to covering the worlds of book publishing and the news media, revealing creative ideas, practical strategies, interesting stories, and provocative opinions. Free speech, literacy, and great books are also discussed. Along the way, discover savvy but entertaining insights on book marketing, public relations, branding, and advertising from a veteran of two decades in the industry of book publishing publicity and marketing.
Sunday, December 15, 2019
Does Your Book Have A Readership?
-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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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:
a big enough readership potential.
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.