I think it was marketer Denny Hatch who said "Ideas are a dime a dozen." They are. Doable ideas are worth a lot more.
When I have an idea for someone else, I only present it to them IF I think it can be done by them. Let me give you a for instance.
When I was in Savannah, GA in 2008 I saw the first book of the "Twilight" series in A WINDOW. It had a red Queen (King?) on the cover. My son Nate's stepdaughter Maya was crazy about this I found out when I got back. People that eat up this romantic vampire stuff are really out there but in a moment where I wasn't kidding her I said, "I know how you can make a pile off of this." I suggested she write a book on "Comedic Vampires." Well, she pretty much told her Mom that I didn't take her seriously, but I did. Now you can't take a step without stumbling over all the books and movies out there with a comedic vampire twist or plot (zombies too). I might even pick up, "Abraham Lincoln Vampire Slayer." Now she's got a baby, no boy friend, and one of those "Will I be doing what I am doing now for the rest of my life" jobs.
Sunday AfternoonIn a chapter from my new book, The Critical Secrets of Planning at Chess, as a Metaphor, for Anything Else ($79.95 available again soon from TPi, currently out of stock), I mention a novel about escape. I also mention why most chess novels are total worms (one reason is that the authors know next to nothing about chess but that is only a MINOR reason!)
Before I get to more, let me pause for second about my book (I am a bookseller after all). Just the other day I was reading Mark Joyner's The Irresistible OFFER. I noticed something really familiar, on page 5.
Why hadn't I noticed this passage I am going to reproduce here before? Because I tend to skip around when I read books on business and even on chess (and anything else except novels!)
Mark wrote in Chapter 2: The Core Imperative of Business:
"The focus of the following pages is nothing less than the 'Core Imperative of Business.'
"By extension, one may say it's even the core imperative of anything you do in your life, but business will serve as an apt metaphor for now."
Do those two sentences ring a bell? (Look at the title of my recent book) In my book I use chess to describe other possibilities. Joyner does it with business. Taken in a sensible way, all these things relate to each other! If I present a "secret" about chess it can often be transformed to an idea about business, planning, education, selling, buying, etc. My book explains how in a dozen chapters.
But as I started out at the beginning of this blog, ideas are one thing, sitting down to puzzle it out and get it to happen is another thing entirely.
Hence, on the Sunday afternoon workshop I asked the 3 teenagers who came to the Fall Chess Classic if their parents ever ask them to do things that make NO sense to them. They giggled and shook their heads "yes." These kids are more likely to DO something amazing than those who listen "intently" and as soon as they are out the door it's "Hey, let's get something eat!"
The other day Ken McDonald (my ole buddy from Canada and Florida) sent me a URL and asked me to read the first paragraph. It is what I have been preaching for eons. Drama, excitement, rah rah, etc. is nothing without "movement." The author, a successful writer (now) said he sees lots of screenplays which are junk. Misspells, no cohesion, chaos reigning supreme. Authors too. Apparently all this "texting" isn't helping those who can't spell in the first place. Compare: a good-speller who texts, and a poor speller who texts. Which one is going to get the job? Poor spelling texting is akin to Hillbillyisms (and believe me, I have gotten chess manuscripts which were horrible and NEVER saw the light of day!) Remember this, an Idiot doesn't KNOW he's an idiot!
I printed out what Ken sent me just for reaffirmation of what I am doing and that there are others out there who do GET this type of stuff.
NO ONE has asked me why my books are so expensive. But when only some are buying them I have to think I have some good thoughts about that myself:
1. I don't like giving away things that are valuable. The reader must pay. Good secrets are valuable such as "How do I know what the really good chess books are to study?"
2. If the buyer paid a lot the chances of him/her letting someone else photocopy it is reduced (sideline: Years ago I was at a record store in another city looking for a certain tape by Air Supply to buy for my girlfriend. When someone suggested to her that I make a copy of mine she said, "Oh no, that's not going to happen. He believes the artists deserve to be compensated. He won't copy anything." The clerk was surprised. We finally found they did have ONE in the store and I bought it.)
3. For that kind of money you might ACTUALLY read it. You might look at it again another time, maybe the RIGHT time, when you actually need to know more.
4. I print small quantities and feel like I deserve to be compensated for all the time I put in on the book. It's not necessarily true that a lower price will sell more books and that I will make up for it in volume. One person who couldn't (?) make it to the Fall Chess Classic still wanted to get the book for $40 (the Fall Chess Classic price). I said "No." He was steamed. "I guess you don't want to sell the book" he exclaimed in exasperation. "Oh no, I want to sell you the book for $59.95" I told him. See he was privileged. People were all the time giving him deals of some kind or another and so he felt "justified" in making others dance to his tune. My question: Where's the quid pro quo in all this? Outside of a small handful of tens, what has he done for me?
5. I subscribe to two very expensive newsletters (but not the MOST expensive newsletters). I also read tons of books on everything to help me expand on what I write. This stuff costs money.
I might break even if I sell another 100 books. But you know what? I am doing something. DOING. One of these days maybe some corporation will find out about this and I will start giving seminars. I could probably make that happen, if I had the time.
If you want to know more about DOING get this book. My stuff is always 100% satisfaction guaranteed. Give it a chance. Not to beat MY chest but I did donate money to the American Red Cross at my bank today for those in NY and NJ who got the heck beat out of them. It was that easy. I just made a check out to The American Red Cross. They gave me a receipt. Show others why WE are Americans. Help them out. Do something--and speaking of doing something by one of my readers/subscribers, Jim Perry is donating $250 in a gift card to Laz Munoz (Staten Island) after reading this blog the other day.
Some of us do care and are unbelievably thankful this didn't happen to us.
Help out, you'll feel great. I am trusting the Red Cross to help those who really need the help.
PS: I like P.S.'s. SOmeone once said they are the part of the letter most people read first! About the ESCAPE story. You'll have to get the book to find out what most likely would sell to chessplayers and maybe others who like tight drama, puzzles, and time rushing and pulse-pounding plots. I told the idea to a well-versed woman writer I know and she said she would like to work on it (she loved the concept). Well, you and I both know how that turned out. But, to the person who DOES do something, think screenplay, think book, think mystery. Think greenbacks. The reason some younger people are successful at this kind of thing is that they have less to lose: no reputation, little money, but a new experience. If you think you are young at heart, give it a whirl.