Monday, August 20, 2007

The Art of Getting Published by Robin Jay

I want to take advantage of having this space to help writers to achieve their publishing goals. Having originally self-published, I later sold my ms. to a publisher. This gives me a unique perspective and I’d like to share why I hired an agent and then sold my book. I went into the financial aspect in detail on, but it may be helpful to learn what I went through to get to that point.

After more than 3,000 client lunches and seeing my sales increase by more than 2000%, I knew I was onto something. I wanted to share my success secrets with other sales people. And I wanted to become an author. After 18 years of selling advertising, I was ready for a change and I chose writing. Yes, that part is simple enough. As a huge advocate of the Law of Attraction, I knew that I would be able to create whatever I wanted.

I began writing on Sundays, while working a 60+ hour week selling advertising for a magazine. Even my days off were packed with chores and my evenings were spent with clients. No one ever becomes a huge success working a 40-hour work week. Study the people you admire and you will learn that most of them work most of the time.

I began writing my book, “The Art of the Business Lunch ~ Building Relationships Between 12 and 2” in March of 2001. ( I had received a dreadful diagnosis and didn’t think I would live to see that summer. After being healed, I knew I needed to change directions, so I threw myself into my writing. Then came 9/11. I thought my topic seemed frivolous and that professionals would never “do lunch” again. Well, even though nothing will ever be the same, life goes on…and people still needed to eat and conduct their business, so back to writing I went.

In September, 2003, I attended the Maui Writer’s Conference. It was a divine experience and I loved it so much. I really started to feel like a writer. I worked with renewed passion. It was hard not being able to recharge my batteries between working so hard at the magazine and then working non-stop at home on weekends.

Then, in November, something happened at work that compelled me to review my situation. I decided that I had enough money saved up to resign from my job, work through my 6-month non-compete, get my book published and reevaluate my situation.

Well, after 6 months of working for myself, I knew I would not be returning to advertising sales any time soon. I am a wonderful boss! I self-published my book and hosted a tremendously successful launch. I sold out the banquet room for a book launch luncheon at the Las Vegas Palm Restaurant to more than 80 guests and the following week, we did it again for about 40 more guests. Everyone bought lunch and a copy of my book. It was a tremendous experience.

The reason I self-published was because I could not entice an agent in Maui and I did not know any other way to get one, other than to attend writer’s conferences and pitch and pitch and pitch. All of the agents seemed to believe that my book was nothing more than a magazine article. I knew otherwise. There is a lot to know about building relationships in business. There is so much going on that a business lunch is never just about lunch. And what about the job interview luncheon, the networking luncheons, etiquette and appropriate behavior? What can you hope to accomplish from a business lunch done right? Is it ever okay to order alcohol? When should you bring up the subject of business? And how can you avoid awkward silence, since sometimes a business lunch can be as uncomfortable as a blind date?!

In June, I attended the Book Expo America in Chicago and found a distributor. By September, I was looking for a publicist. I met Bambe Levine, who is in New York City, through a mutual friend. We hooked up and got along wonderfully well. She read my book and wondered why I was not with an agent. I told her that the agents I had met in Maui didn’t believe in my project. She quickly rattled off the names of three of the top literary agents in New York City. I called them all and they each said they would love to work with me. Ahhh – connections. I guess the literary world is no different from every other world.

I signed with Al Zuckerman, founder of Writers House and before long, he came to me with an offer from Career Press, a trade, non-fiction publishing house. My book was right up their alley. He advised I take the deal and I did. And the rest, as they say, is history. I had to pull my self-published edition off of Amazon and was only allowed to sell it directly, in the back of the room, when I was speaking professionally. This sale, as rewarding as it was, set me back a year. That was hard financially, since my monthly expenses did not change from my ad sales days.

Today, my book has been sold in TEN languages worldwide and my speaking career is solid. I have contributed to two anthology books in “The POWER of Mentorship” series, including “The Millionaire Within” and “For the Woman Entrepreneur.” Filming is underway on “The POWER of Mentorship: The Movie” and I am a featured mentor in the film. And I recently learned that I just had a chapter accepted into “Chicken Soup for the Wine Lover’s Soul,” due out in November.

I haven’t stopped! The leap of faith I took paid off. I didn’t believe that the agents I met with in Maui knew more than I did about the appeal of “The Art of the Business Lunch.” Having been in sales for so many years, I knew that I was sitting on a great book with a great topic that people would want to read. I literally did whatever it took to get published…and, believe me, it took a LOT! I work at least 12 hours every day, promoting my book and myself. Being a professional speaker has also proven to be tremendously rewarding. I enjoy sharing with others and I know I am doing what I was meant to do. I speak on many topics aside from the business lunch, including Business Protocol & Etiquette, the Special Secret of Sales Success and Understanding Different Personality Profiles. It’s been an incredible journey and one that is definitely not for everyone. But for me? It’s been like coming home.

Robin Jay


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