Monday, July 2, 2018

A word about writing / publishing a book

A lot of potential writers ask me for advice on writing and getting their book published. Having written only 3 books, I am far from an expert, but I will share some insight.

1. Getting a lucrative book deal is highly unlikely, unless you are already well known for your writing or expertise in some other area. Fame helps: Bill Clinton just published a novel. Although not famous, I had about 7 years worth of touring as a public speaker under my belt before I was approached by my publisher. And yes, I was approached. I was lucky I did not have to send out query letters and read rejections. I should also clarify, my book deal was not "lucrative" by any stretch: My advance was standard and my book sales have not yet covered it, meaning that I have yet to see a dime in royalties.

2. Publishing, although difficult, is only the first step. Thousands of books are published each month, and only about 1% of them get in stores. When your book comes out, your publisher will send out press releases and try its best to generate enough buzz to get your book stocked on shelves, but there is only so much they can do. It is up to the newspapers, media, bookstores, libraries, and distributors to judge your book as worthy of sale. Once again, being a known entity works in your favor here. If the buyer for the bookstore recognizes the author's name, they're going to order 25 copies for each location, if they don't you better have a compelling cover. Here is an example of the importance of fame: I wrote a book, The Laughing Cure, in which I interviewed comedian Yakov Smirnoff. Both he and I were asked to contribute to an issue of a health magazine. He got to write an article, I received a minor footnote for my work. Guess who could have used the magazine's exposure more?

3. Your book will not sell without your effort. Too many authors think that their book will sell itself, it will not. I learned this early on, as a former data analyst I watched the sales numbers of my book and saw that it sold the best in the markets I toured in. Almost immediately following a speaking engagement or comedy gig, I would see a lift in sales in that market (not enough to earn royalties, however). I assumed that book signings are something publishers arrange, but they do not earn enough to justify the effort, so I began reaching out to stores to arrange my own signings. Because Sarah and I travel so much, I have had the opportunity to physically get my book into many people's hands across the country, but it is hard work and often I'll do a signing with very few sales.

4. Don't dismiss self-publishing. As I've learned, if you are going to do most of the marketing work for your book anyway, you may as well get a greater percentage of the rewards. We snobbily look down on self-published works, but out of my 3 books, my self-published ones are the only to provide me with royalties (not much, but better than zero). Another thing to consider is that Amazon dominates book sales. People like Amazon because it is cheap, and for books Amazon operates on a very thin profit margin. Meaning that the majority of your sales are going to be made through Amazon, at a discounted rate, providing you with even less opportunity for royalties. If your sales are going through Amazon anyway, why not self-publish for greater royalties?

4. If you want to write, write. Just understand that the book market is in a terrible state now, and your odds of being successful at it are low. Then again, the odds of being a successful comedian or actor or artist or psychologist even are pretty low as well. Success in any field depends on a ton of work, a lot of luck, and perserverance.

By the way, I'm starting to put together my follow up book to "The Laughing Cure" which wil be focused more on coping with stress. If you would like to help me on this project, please become a patron: www.patreon.com/drbrianking. As a thank you, I will be making patron-only posts of excerpts from it as I write.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Become A Sponsor!

I've had 2 friends ask me to help them financially recently, and I had to decline both. I am normally a very generous person, I just don't like to share my acts of generosity on social media, but to support my statement know that in the past I have paid a couple months rent for friends in need, bought a friend a car, bought plane tickets enabling friends to travel, wired money internationally to help struggling friends, and so on.

The reason I had to say no is because of something else I haven't shared on social media: My primary source of income has dried up. The organization that has kept me on the road doing speaking gigs has cut back and I haven't really worked in over 8 months. I am trying, I am trying hard, but steady income has been missing from my life for a while. With the baby needing everything babies do, and the expenses I experienced this year due to our condo repairs, you can imagine this has been a bit stressful for the guy who (previously) made a living telling people how to manage stress. In addition to that, money we were expecting to cover the costs of our current project is not coming in.
I am sharing this because I would very much like to continue speaking and writing. It appears to be something that I am good at. And, once I have an income again, I may be able to help others as well.
If you are in a position, or know anyone who is, to hire a public speaker for an event I would love to talk to you. Please PM me and we can figure something out.
And if you enjoy the work that I do, and would like to help sponsor it, please consider contributing to our Patreon account. Patreon is a great tool for helping fans show their appreciation to artists like myself that may not be funded by other means. Every little bit helps (even $1) because the more patrons an artist has, the more likely others will be interested. So far, I have one patron, if I had more it could help increase our visibility a lot and get us closer to being able to continue working.
Thanks for reading, and to those who have asked for my help recently, I'm sorry I'm not able right now.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

My New Book!

After years in the making, I am pleased to announce that my new book "A Field Guide To The North American Bloody Mary" is available now!

50 states, 2 countries and over 300 Bloody Marys! A must for any Bloody Mary fan!

Check it out on Amazon.com and please share!



Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Health-Related Benefits of Humor and Laughter

NORTH CALIFORNIA FRIENDS!

Especially those of you that may need CEUs, I am doing a 3-hour seminar "Health-Related Benefits of Humor and Laughter" This FRIDAY the 9th.

For more info check out:
https://www.ibpceu.com/seminar/5?&state=California

Thursday, September 21, 2017

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA and VEGAS tour!

Hey gang, Once again Sarah and I are back ON THE ROAD! This week, we will be touring Southern California and Las Vegas. Come see us at any of these fine events/locations:

We start on 9/23 in LA where I will be one of the celebrity judges of the
The Los Angeles Bloody Mary Festival

Then, we will be touring the Southland as I once again present my seminar "The Habits of Stress Resilient People" which is available for CEU's for a variety of healthcare professionals. Check out www.ibpceu.com for more info.

9/25: Escondido, CA
9/26 Temecula, CA
9/27 Palm Springs, CA
9/28 Victorville, CA
9/29:Las Vegas, NV

FINALLY on 9/30 I will be signing copies of The Laughing Cure at Barnes & Noble, 2191 N Rainbow Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89108. For more info click here.