Don’t Bother Writing Books—It’s Not Worth It, Unless You’re Already a Celebrity: Part 2 of 4

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donald pogi_19In Part 1, I said it’s probably not worth your while to write a book if you’re only doing it it to make a lot of money. I mentioned several authors, including yet-to-be published Jason Segel, the well-known actor, retired baseball player Cal Ripken Jr, a lot of comic book artists, and the President and the Vice President of the United States. In Part 2, Here in Part 2, I’ll mention Charles Dickens, Steve Forbes, and an author you’ve probably never heard of, named Peter Schiff.

Before I get to these 3 guys, let me talk about Cal Ripken Jr again. He gets between $50,000 and $75,000 per appearance. He usually says a few words, then signs autographs.  $50-75,000 is good money, and he makes many appearances each year. But how much money do you think he gets from book royalites? He’s the author of at least 10 books, all probably ghost-written. Some of them include Get in the Game (2008) , The Only Way I Know (1998),My Story (1999), Count Me In (1995), and Parenting Young Athletes the Ripken Way (2007). And he’s even listed as a co-author of a negotiating book (my area of expertise), The Power of Nice (2001). His 2008 book was ranked 287,626 on Amazon. He probably signs a lot of these books at his personal appearances. Good extra money or chicken feed? Before you answer, remember that Vice President Joe Biden’s 2007 book was ranked 783,751 on Amazon, and he got less than $201 royalties from it in 2013. So Cal Ripken’s royalties—and book sales—are chicken feed, compared to the $50-75,000 he gets just for showing up and allowing his groupies to bask in his glorious presence.

So here’s the important thing: Most people who go to see Ripkin only do so because they want his autograph on a book. They weren’t in the ballpark to get him to sign a baseball, so an autographed book is the most these sports groupies can hope for.

How many people do you think will come to see you just to get your autograph on your book? How many celebrity groupies do you have? How many do you think you will have in the future? Be realistic!

A long, long time ago, though, becoming an author brought you celebrity status automatically. We had to read books by famous 19th century and 20th century authors when we were in grade school and high school. As a result, many of you readers probably wanted to become famous authors like Charles Dickens. All of you remember him. He’s the author of A Christmas Carol. And his A Tale of Two Cities is the best-selling novel of all time! This British author lived in the 1800s. Lots of celebrity groupies all over the world came to see him read passages from his books—and to get his autograph. In his later years, he spent a lot more time making tour of the UK, Australia, the US, and several European nations than in writing fiction. Today, retail sales of his books in the UK alone is around $6 million a year. And BBC adaptations of his books bring in big bucks. Unfortunately, his heirs don’t receive any money because his books are now in the public domain.

Is there anybody like Charles Dickens today? Sure! Rock stars! They release their music in various formats, people buy their stuff, and they make money. But do they stay home? No. They make personal appearance tours. On the road most of the time. That’s where the bigmoney is—both in music and in writing!

Now let’s suppose you’re already a big name. Should you be the star of the event and be theonly speaker, or should you be just one of many speakers? The Moneyshow at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas (May 12-15, 2014) had 101 speakers on the program. The most famous person was Steve Forbes. Many of the speakers had booths to sell their investment services and to sell their books. One of them was Peter Schiff, the head of Euro Pacific Capital Inc, an investment firm in New York City. I talked to him in person at his booth on May 13, the day after his talk.

I’ll tell you more about my encounter with Schiff in Part 3. It will be a big, big eye-opener, I promise!

Dr. Donald Wayne Hendon is a consultant, speaker, trainer, and author of 14 books, including The Way of the Warrior in Business, Guerrilla Deal-Making (with Jay Conrad Levinson) and 365 Powerful Ways to Influence. Jay Levinson recently passed away. He specifically chose Don to be his final co-author—the person most qualified to  carry the torch of guerrilla marketing into the 21st century. Deal-Making contains the 100 most powerful tactics from 365 Powerful Ways—along with 400 winning countermeasures. There are 121 aggressive tactics, 92 defensive ones, 24 cooperative ones, and 16 submissive ones to get what you want from other people. Plus 81 dirty tricks to watch out for and 31 tactics to prepare you for your interaction with them. Download Chapter 1, free of charge, at www.DonaldHendon.com. Play Don’s free online Negotiation Poker game by going to GuerrillaDon.com. Apps will soon be available.

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