Thursday, October 15, 2009
What Can You Learn from Mike McPheters?
Mike McPheters started out like most first-time authors: with ZERO experience in the publishing industry. His skills lie more in law enforcement, SWAT skills and spiritual counseling. So Mike did what most first-time authors did; he asked his PR rep what he should do. Mike was told his book was a great fit for firesides and he should share his faith-promoting life story with others. After all, Cedar Fort thought his life story was worth printing and, as a former bishop (4X over), Mike knew that his fireside need to stand on its own with spiritual counsel, not be a 60-minute ad for his book people were foced to watch in their Sunday clothes.
As with many of you, Cedar Fort asked Mike to create a fireside and schedule signings adjacent to them so wherever he travelled he had both an event and a signing. Shortly after, he replied with this schedule:
Agent Bishop Book Tour (Mike McPheters)
August 26 (Wed.) Boise, ID Costco (4:30 PM)
August 27 (Thurs.) Salem, UT Annie Freeman Residence-Fireside
August 28 (Fri.) St. George, UT MCWILLIS
August 29 (Sat.) Saint George Costco (10:30 AM) MCWILLIS
August 31 (Mon.) Victorville, CA Costco (5:30 PM) MARTINEZ
14555 Valley Center Drive
September 1 (Tues.) Fireside @ Mike Martinez location/church MARTINEZ
@ Valley Center, CA
September 2 (Wed.) San Bernardino Costco signing (10:30 AM)MARTINEZ
1099 E. Hospitality Lane
Marietta Stake Presentation (Evening)
September 3 (Thurs.) Temecula Costco (4:30 PM)
26610 Ynez Road
September 5 (Sat.) Henderson, NV Costco (10:30 AM) CANNERY
791 Marks St.
September 7 (Mon.) Las Vegas Costco (10:30 AM) CANNERY
222 So. Martin Luther King Blvd.
Summerlin, NV Costco (4:30 PM)
801 South Pavilion DR
Las Vegas (702-352-2050)
September 8 (Tues.) Travel to Twin Falls, ID
September 9 (Wed.) Twin Falls, ID Costco (10:30 AM)
September 10 (Thurs.) BYU Alumni presentation @ Moses Lake, WA
Stake Center @ 7 PM
September 11 (Fri.) Signing at Fae’s Book Store @ Moses Lake (Morning)
Wenatchee Costco (12-5 PM)
September 15 (Tues.) Multi-Ward Single Adult presentation @ Boise, ID @ 7
September 16 (Wed.) Boise, ID Costco (10:30 AM) WALLY
Drive to Rexburg, ID
September 17 (Thurs.) Pocatello, ID Costco (10:30 AM) BERT
September 18 (Fri.) Pocatello, ID Costco (4:30 PM)
305 W. Quinn Rd. (208) 238-4040
September 19 (Sat.) Sugarhouse B & N signing (2-4 PM)
(Time will be readjusted
McIntyre Center, 1104 East 2100 So. SLC, UT
September 21 (Mon.) West Valley City Costco (SLC, UT) (10:30 AM)
3747 So. 2700 West (801) 996-9008
Murray Costco (SLC, UT) (4:30 PM)
5201 So. Intermountain Dr. (801) 290-4200
September 22 (Tues.) SLC Costco (10:30 AM)
1818 So. 300 W. (801) 485-9715
West Bountiful Costco (SLC, UT) (4:30 PM)
573 W. 100 N. (801) 299-3940
September 23 (Wed.) Lehi Costco (10:30 AM)
198 No. 1200 East (801) 653-2710
Orem Costco (4:30 PM) (Sold 66 there 8/17)
648 E. 800 S. (801) 851-5003
September 24 (Thurs.) Orem Costco (10:30 AM)
September 25 (Fri.) Sandy Costco (10:30 AM) PARK CITY
11100 So. Auto Mall Dr. (801) 790-0003 (Brent/Larry)
(Sold 49 there on 8/17)
Murray Costco (4:30 PM)
September 26 (Sat.) Day off. PARK CITY
September 28 (Mon.) West Valley City Costco (4:30 PM) PARK CITY
West Bountiful Costco (10:30 AM) PARK CITY
September 29 (Tues.) SLC Costco @ 1818 So. 300 W. (10:30 AM) PARK CIT
B & N Signing @ Gateway @ 6 No. Rio Grande St.
SLC, UT (801) 456-0100 (4-6 PM)
September 30 (Wed.) No Meetings. Family Party PARK CITY
October 1 (Thurs.) Sandy Costco (4:30 AM) PARK CITY
Murray Costco (10:30 PM)
October 2 (Friday) Lehi Costco (10:30 AM)
B & N signing: 10180 So. State, Sandy, UT (4-6 PM)
(801) 233-0203 Michelle TYLEE
October 3 (Sat.) Orem Costco (4:30-8:30 PM ) M
October 5 (Mon.) Return to Moses Lake, WA
October 10 (Sat.) Wenatchee, WA Costco (10:30 AM)
October 12 (Mon.) Spokane, WA Costco (11 AM)
October 16 (Fri.) Kennewick, WA Costco (10:30 AM)
October 19 (Mon.) Drive to Ketchum, ID
October 20 (Tuesday) Will set up signing @ Chapter One Bookstore
October 21 (Wed.) Orem Costco (4:30 PM) SHAYNA
October 22 (Thurs.) Lehi Costco (10:30 AM)
October 23 (Fri.) Orem Costco (10:30 AM)
October 24 (Sat) Orem Costco (10:30 AM)
October 25 (Sun) Drive to Moses Lake, WA
His schedule continues through Christmas, but I think you get the point. Mike literally put life on hold and put every effort imaginable into making his book a success. The first couple of weeks Mike went through a definite learning curve as he became familiar with how to make signings a success, but at this point he could pretty much teach a course on handselling a book since he is now inching towards the mark of selling 1,000 books per week. And yes, you read that right. PER WEEK. Come Christmas time I believe he will easily be doing just that.
Some of you may be thinking, Well, that's because you got him into Costco! I would be selling more books if I were in Costco, too.
Notice, however, how Mike supports Costco sales and gives them high incentive to carry him. Those of you who have shopped at Costco know that Costco likes to carry the currently bestselling books at highly discounted prices. This means that at this time of year they want a book to sell 200 copies per week, per store for them to carry it. But even though Mike isn't quite reaching that benchmark, Costco sees his schedule and is willing to bend over backwards a little bit for him. They know that he sells out every Costco he walks into so they try to have 50-100 books in each store he's scheduled to sign in. Add that to word-of-mouth sales he's starting to generate and you can see why--months after his book's release--his sales climb higher each week.
Mike is a great case study of an author who chose a marketing plan, stuck to it and is finding publishing success. Cedar Fort literally can't print books fast enough to fill the orders, which means Mike is on the top of our list for Christmas advertising in radio and print. His efforts will be more than matched by Cedar Fort's investment in radio ads, large catalog placements, media mentions and more, which means his first royalty check should be a happy day indeed.
The thing Mike did right was treating his book like an investment. In the beginning he put more into than he was getting out of it, but soon that coin will flip to create an income while he works on his next book.
Mike's business model certainly isn't for everyone, but his example is worth emulation. Plus, he embodies one of my top rules for authors: NOTHING takes the place of face-to-face time with consumers. Nothing.
So get out there and meet your audience today!