Have you ever written a book review?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Author Addresses United States Marine Corps

Retired Gunnery Sgt. Nicholas A Popaditch, author of Once a Marine (Savas Beatie, October 1, 2008), spoke recently to the Marines and sailors of 1st Tank Battalion in the battalion’s classroom at Twentynine Palms, California (filmed for C-SPAN BOOK TV).

Read an article about his talk, Retired Tank Commander Popaditch Gives Motivating Leadership Talk. Popaditch, a Silver Star recipient for actions displayed during a battle for Fallujah, Iraq in April 2004 while attached to 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, spoke about such Marine Corps values as honor, courage, and commitment, as well as training and leadership.

When talking about these topics, Popadtich turned to personal experience and advice that had been handed down to him over the years by senior Marines.

Popaditch is increasingly being asked to deliver his address to businesses--an NCO's drill instructor's camp (Gunny was a former drill instructor also) for mid-level management. He is well prepared to do so. Read the article and see if you can spot all the parallels with running a successful enterprise.

Catch him on the radio, on TV, or at a bookstore near you. Read his book. You will not be disappointed. I guarantee it.

To see a full picture of Gunny speaking, click here.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Real Thanksgiving (or, "The One Not Taught in Schools")

"Shoot! If you can keep everything you make, of course you're going to work harder. Everybody knows that."

A great article on the real Thanksgiving. Somehow, this made it into the Los Angeles Times. Will miracles never cease?

Happy Turkey Day to one and all.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What Authors Will be Happy When Royalty Statements Come out in Early 2009?

The answer is the same even when the economy is good: hard working authors who never stop and never give up. This is especially true this year.

Our national bookstore chains are suffering (Borders is in deep financial trouble and is ordering new books in smaller quantities, which makes them less widely available nationwide), Barnes and Noble's business is down, and returns across the board are way up.

We have spent the past eighteen months aggressively opening new markets (specialty, corporate, and others outlets outside the normal bookstore trade channels), and our authors whose books are attractive in those venues will see the difference. Some of our books, however, are not suitable for strong specialty sales, and that means the primary revenue stream from those books is through the book trade. The returns, once fully calculated, will stagger some.

I can't wait to get the call from Author X about this. The conversation will go something like this:

"I just got my royalty statement. I only made $59.26 all of last year?"


"That's impossible! What kind of business are you running?"

I explain the numbers, the trade returns, and so forth, and then ask. "How many radio interviews did you do last year?"

"Ah, well, I have been busy. I can't just drop everything like some can."

"How many tours did you lead? How many speaking engagements did you schedule? Bottom line: How many of your own books did you help promote and sell?"

"Well, I don't have time . . ."

"That's fine," I interupt. Of course it is true that some authors are better situated to promote their own books. "There is no rule that you must work harder. But the realities of the business we are in dictates the result for authors who will not, or who can not, go the extra mile week after week. I don't control that. The rules of the free market, however, do."

So are some authors having a banner year? Yes. Who? Those authors who are actively blogging about their book, continually finding ways to sell them, scheduling and leading tours of battlefields, etc. We have many authors booking events weekly (or even more often) in local rotaries, Elks Clubs, VFWs, colleges, high schools, libraries, and even churches. Every group, large and small, welcomes speakers who have suitable talks for their members (and a creative author can always come up with an angle to address any group).

Many of our authors also work close with our marketing director to set up special events and radio interviews. Why is this good for the everyone? Because the author gets to sell his own books and keep a big chunk of the money, the buyers get personally inscribed copies, and we move inventory. It is a win-win-win situation.

There is another benefit. Showing the flag anywhere results in more sell-through in the chains, on Amazon, and direct sales here at the office, which means returns are fewer in number. Why? Because people who don't have their checkbook when an author speaks go home, go online, and buy a copy. Or drive to their local bookstore. Or log onto our site and purchase a copy.

With returns, steep discounting requirements, and a population being steadily dumbed down and turned off to history (and books in general), everyone is getting squeezed. The dirty secret is that the author is at the bottom of the food chain in this equation. Those writers who rely upon the book trade for the large bulk of their sales have a shovel in their hands are and digging themselves an oblong-shaped hole.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Veterans Day

To all our wonderful vets everywhere, dead and alive. I salute you. I have always honored what you do so. And I cannot begin to thank you enough. And I support you AND the mission you are sent on wherever it is. Always.

When asked why he served, one of my favorite Gunny Sergeants answered this way: "I fought thousands of miles from home so your biggest worry is whether your favorite football or baseball team is going to win its next game. When that is your concern, I have done my job and am happy to have done so." Amen . . . and thank you.

Two videos I highly recommend:

Remember me (make you you watch it to the end. It takes a few twists along the way)

The War. Pay special attention to the lyrics.

If you can get through either one all the way without shedding a tear, you have checked your soul somewhere along the way. Trace your steps back and try to find it.

West Coast Civil War Round Table Conference

I am just back from an outstanding conference (November 7 - 9, 2008) in Clovis (Fresno), California. The theme this year was the Shenandoah Valley, and the two premier speakers included old friend Robert K. Krick and Jeffry Wert. You can read a write-up of the event here.

Contrary to what many on the East Coast believe, the Civil War is and has been alive and well here on the Left coast. The conference was well attended and the talks were generally outstanding. I have only missed three West Coast events since 1988, and seeing everyone each year is a wonderful experience. For the last decade or so I have acted as the conference's bookseller. I stepped in when Bob Younger of Morningside (who wore that hat for many years), could no longer easily travel so far.

San Joaquin Valley Civil War Roundtable hosted this event, as they have many others. Were it not for this hearty bunch of great people, this important conference may have faded away after the passing of its founder, Jerry Russell. Thanks guys and gals for all your hard work.

Next year, the San Jaoquin bunch is hosting the November West Coast conference again, with Chickamauga front and center as the major topic. (Coincidentally, our The Maps of Chickamauga is slated for a September release.) The speakers they have lined up are strong and thus far include Wiley Sword, Glenn Robertson, Jim Ogden (historian at the park), and many others. I urge everyone reading this to give serious thought about attending. The talks are always good, the facility is top-rate, the food is more than passable, and . . . and a side tour to Yosemite is being planned.

And we will be there with loads of signed books for sale.


Saturday, November 1, 2008

Our First LA Times Article . . .

He has a new life and a new set of goals, including one to become a high school teacher. He has written a book, works with other wounded veterans and is a sought-after motivational speaker.

The quintesenntial Gunny Pop quote you can take to the bank: "I want people to see that when you're faced with a life-changing event, you can survive," Popaditch said. "When you get rearranged physically, one thing that doesn't change is your character."

Read the entire article: Retired Marine rebuilds his life after brush with death in Iraq, by Tony Perry.

The print version is scheduled to appear in this Sunday's LA Times.