“You see, I bought the place a long time ago. No mortgage. I live upstairs and rent out to a tenant.”
This is Tony’s response to my question regarding how he has been holding up
during corona. His place was shut for three months during the peek of New
Tony has been cutting hair for 64 years, the last 62 as the owner of a barbershop in Larchmont, a quiet Westchester town just 30 minutes from Manhattan. He is 87.
Tony has three partners in crime. The quartet of older gentlemen have been cutting hair together for decades. It is a loyal, respectful friendship at work that is far less common in today’s gig economy and disposable worker era.
Tony’s brand is his marketing. He gives a decent cut at a fair price with some friendly conversation. No advertising. No discounts. No coupons. Word-of-mouth is his game.
So what can authors peddling books learn from this humble but successful entrepreneur?
*Treat people fairly.
*Take an interest in others.
*Work hard and get others to help you.
*Deliver on your promise.
Sure, running a barbershop is not exactly the same as an author hawking a book, but there is something to be learned from Tony’s approach. He seems proud, but not egotistical. He has passion for what he does but he doesn’t try to sell you something. He performs a service anyone else can offer, but he keeps you coming back because he comes off as a regular guy, a family man who supports his community, a person of character who seems to hold a genuine interest and curiosity for his customers.
Authors may think they are in the industry of words, and that their product is information, ideas, and stories, but they are simply in the business of people. Just as Tony’s barbershop has plenty of competition, authors have lots of competitors. What sets you apart is your brand, not your book. It is you and your background story, the way you talk to others, and your ability to find a two-way connection with readers.
Think about it. Try to market yourself more than your book. If you need some inspiration, stop by Tony’s and have him take a little off the top. He will trim away what you no longer need, positioning your hair, and maybe you, to grow a bit.
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Brian Feinblum, the founder of BookMarketingBuzzBlog, can be reached at email@example.com. His insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are the product of his genius. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2020. 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.