Interview with Asadah, Author of "Beating Black Kids".
Tell me about your current business. What are you doing exactly?
My book is called "Beating Black Kids". It is a book about not having to beat our children to discipline them. I authored this book less than a year ago, and since have sold it all over the country, sold it to two international locations, have a Facebook following, have promoted it on 6 radio shows, have been featured in 4 news articles and debuted in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia. I am New York based, and all over via the internet.
When did you start the business?
I debuted the book in July of 2009.
What were you doing before this, and is this your first business?
Before this I was working a regular job, doing a whole lot for other people and not enough for myself and my daughter. This landed me in the hospital and I had a stroke at 38 years of age.
How did you come up with your business idea?
I wrote my book as a combination of four things: Being an effective educator, being a good single-mom, having a conversation about the way I raise my daughter and seeing the disregard for giving young people rights, and seeing that having a stroke so young, I was put in a situation where my daughter was not being left with any kind of legacy if I were to leave the earth prematurely.
Who did you hire to help you? Bookkeeper, Accountants, Lawyers…? Would you suggest others do the same?
My most import help with this project came from my Editor and Marketing Team. I survived well as an independent publisher because of the expertise of my web designer and book formatter, my editor, and my media liaison. All three women let me be in charge of decision-making, but brought their own expertise and guidance. Being a first-time author I humbly listened. My media liaison used her connections and expertise to make connections to media personalities and landed me articles in print media within the first 3 months of the book's existence. She was also responsible for shooting video for our book discussions and editing the videos for Youtube and Facebook. This was invaluable, because it got the book national recognition without the struggling usually felt by new authors. Marketing is everything and I highly recommend finding someone well versed in media relations to accompany your journey as new business person.
Did you operate your business from your home? What were the challenges and benefits to this strategy?
I currently operate book sales and promotion from home because I stay in control on my schedule. The key is staying organized and being efficient. The challenge to this strategy is not having a "job" for someone else to do from an office or something, that constantly promotes and sells the book. My hours are limited because I still have a regular job to help make ends meet. Therefore sales and promotion of the book become limited and not an all day activity. This affects my ability to fully make the profit I desire and do the marketing necessary to do more sales.
Social marketing is consistently being written about in the small business space. Has it worked generating business for you?
Social Networking has been a GODSEND for the promotion and sale of this book. This is how I got my Media Liaison. She saw the activity of the book on Facebook and reached out to me. I currently have a fan club on Facebook that totals over 800 people. I do contests on Facebook for every 100th fan. I have conversations in chat sessions requesting that people buy the book and they do. I even got a referral from an educator in another county last week, because she said she knew all the info for the book from the postings on Facebook. I even have antagonists to my book's message on Facebook and that interaction has affected site visits to my own website. People post on our Ning page and I just joined an additional "invite only" social network because it helps with promotion AND pays Gold Members for every friend that joins.
Social Networking has put much more power into the entrepreneur's hands. One just has to have the willingness to develop and handle massive amounts of relationships this way. I am finding that it pays off royally!
What have you done that has been very effective in helping to grow the business?
Being a regular visitor to social networks has helped me in great ways. I promote and post pictures that constantly attract people to our site and then to buying the book. Being present at relevant events to debut in various cities has also been helpful, because we've increased the exposure of the book to national eyes. I have gotten invitations to other cities and to radio shows this way. Overall I would say having a big marketing plan is key. Letting people see the activity of your business on social networks, on Youtube and the like makes a very big difference from sitting with tons of product and no one to share it with.
What advice would you give to somebody else who wanted to start a similar business?
The advice I would give to others who wanted to write a book is to stop thinking about doing it and JUST DO IT! My purpose to make a good impact was more important than any analysis paralysis, and so I moved forward without looking at any potential barriers to getting the book out to the world.
"Just do it." Sounds familiar, and true. Thanks for your time, Asadah.