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The Little Book That Could

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In spite of our making almost every mistake possible, Handbook to a Happier Life (ISBN 0-9650534-0-7) is still holding its own among the publishing giants. I could have named our publishing company “Wing & A Prayer Publishing” instead of Bovan Publishing Group, Inc. What I knew about the book business would have fit on the back of a business card.For instance, Handbook is 96 pages. Experts said it should have been 120 to 150 pages. The first printing had a simple white cover with blue type and no bar code and ISBN number. The interior design left a lot to be desired. Distributors wouldn’t touch it.However I didn’t give up. Maybe I didn’t have enough sense to quit or perhaps it was just because I knew that once people read the book, they’d like it. Now readers have confirmed that.Following advice from page 14 of the book, I kept at it. I began a crash course in book marketing, attending seminars, reading books and networking with other small publishers. My beliefs and efforts paid off. Handbook to a Happier Life has sold over 75,000 copies to date. This is quite an accomplishment, considering that most self-help books barely sell 5,000 copies. It has been translated into Spanish and will soon be available in Korean as well-the rights having been purchased by other publishers.My message to aspiring authors is… believe in yourself, follow your heart, and live your dreams. And in the words of Sir Winston Churchill, “Never, never, never, never give up!”
You can reach the author, Jim Donovan, directly at 215/794-3826 or contact him by e-mail at jim@jimdonovan.com.
This article is from thePMA Newsletterfor March, 2000, and is reprinted with permission of Publishers Marketing Association.

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