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10 Tips on Managing One-Shot Wonders

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Phase #1: “Oh, my goodness, we’re out of books already!”

1. Check the situation out. Yes, you are excited. Every book you publish is truly a wonder… you think. But this one is getting other people excited as well. Are you just pushing, or is the market momentum creating suction (pulling)?2. Make reorder decisions.“We need books fast and furious!” Wait a minute, what’s really going on here? Do you really need more books? How would you get them? How many? At what cost? Where will you get the money?3. Use scarcity to increase demand, rather than kill it. Stay calm. Practice good customer service and psychology. Remember, money is being made, and some people get rude around money.

Phase #2: After the rush. “Phew, that was fun, but now what?”

4. Formulate your plan with a budget for expenses and revenue. Outline three or four major target goals. (Budgets give you permission to spend money.)5. Push yourself and your staff to dream up ways to spend money wisely-now! You have $10,000 to spend? Yes, but what would you do with $100,000 while making every dollar count! Force yourself to answer this question.6. Set up a phased-in approach to your plan with three “go/no go” decision points. Don’t spend all the money up front. Ease into it. Be in touch by asking all along the way at each step, “Is the plan working?”-and pull the plug if necessary.7. Isolate the sensation (your fast-selling book) from the rest of your business for the protection of both. Each can destroy the other. And each can dilute the focus of your staff.

Phase #3: “Oh, no, the stores now think this is old hat.”

8. Maintain momentum by thinking outside of the book box. Find nonbook channels. And don’t just sell books. Your job is to create events and happenings at bookstores and elsewhere.

9. Build a module of product and activity. Branch out to connecting possibilities, but beware of sequels.

10. For your next one-hit wonder, follow, don’t lead. Don’t generalize. Don’t be overconfident. Keep your head screwed on straight. You don’t create one-hit wonders. They happen. (See Tip #1 above.) Remember, every book you publish is truly a wonder-you think. But only a few get others that excited-and they decide, not you.

Donald A. Tubesing is a PMA board member. The best-selling children’s book, “Old Turtle,” was published by Pfeifer-Hamilton.




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