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Booklet Tips From Paulette

Writing, producing, and promoting tips booklets for marketing, motivating, and making money.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Vendors Matter a Lot

The vendors you work with can make or break your business. Yes, this can sound like an amazing grasp of the obvious, yet one still worth mentioning.

Over the years, I've worked with numerous graphic designers and printers in different parts of the country. Like any business, some were better than others as far as general interaction, keeping their word, having high integrity, charging reasonable prices, and doing good work. When I find good vendors, I tell everyone I know, since it benefits all concerned.

My current lead printer, Jerry Kirkland of Kirkland Offset Printing, is someone I've continuously worked with for a few months shy of the 12 years I've lived in San Diego. He became a pivot point in how I did booklets, with a simple yet crucial suggestion of having a white cover so they would no longer be streaky like I had been suffering with other printers I left behind. He has continued to be a valuable friend and contributor to my business and the businesses of my clients.

One of the many contributions he's made was in introducing me to the person who has become my lead graphic designer, Victoria Vinton of Coyote Press Graphics. Everyone loves working with Victoria. All our current graphic designers are excellent. However, she distinguished herself by taking the initiative to put a page on her own site that shows booklets and product sheets she's designed for clients of Tips Products International.

Both these people know what I recommend as far as booklets are concerned, have already handled any learning curve, and are terrific human beings and business people. Don't just take my word for it. Go see the testimonials from some booklet authors who have shared their opinions at http://www.tipsbooklets.com/index.php?page=vendors.htm

If you have a contribution to make to those testimonials, and would like some additional exposure for your own business, you can email me or add your comments right here at this blog. We'll get your testimonial uploaded to the Vendors page as quickly as possible.

Until next time,
Paulette - who soooo appreciates our valued and cherished vendors


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Outdated Booklet Pricing

A now-established booklet author told me this week that my booklet pricing suggestions were outdated -- and then went on to express momentary frustration and some anxiety about one prospect thinking the author's prices were too high, and another client having no price resistance at all.

There's a number of elements involved here, in my opinion. This booklet author's content has a different focus than mine. Mine is what's known as "evergreen." It's good no matter what technology or other discoveries have happened. The field of this booklet author in question is constantly changing.

Pricing is an art not a science. Yes, there are certain mark-up formulas that can be and are utilized in wholesale pricing in any industry. However, when you look at the discounting percentages that a half dozen different major publishers use for their bulk pricing, you'll find the quantity breaks varying from one to another.

Yes, the cost of paper, ink, transport and labor have changed a lot since I did my booklet. However, I will unabashedly tell you my profit margin is still quite respectable. There's a lot of variables when it comes to pricing. Entire books (and booklets) are written on this very topic of pricing. Keep in mind what your own purpose is in selling your booklets -- a marketing tool for your other products/services; a revenue stream unto itself; both. In some ways, that dictates your pricing, too.

One of the many great things about having your own business is the ability to make the best choices for yourself, tempered by what your market tells you. And what's even better about having that choice is the ability to change your mind at any point along the way.

Thank you to the author who prompted this blog post today. I appreciate your being among the many readers who frequent this site, and I definitely applaud your success.

Until next time,
Paulette -- who is now momentarily stepping off her soap box

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Renewable Booklet License

A booklet author sent an update last night that not only confirms much of what I've been saying for years. It also put another spin on things, definitely worth sharing with you.

The author sent a pdf of the booklet to a prospective bulk buyer. The department it went to decided they had enough materials on the particular subject. They gave the booklet pdf to their resource center. The resource center is like a library. People can check out materials. The resource center was interested in only one copy, but said the magic word in their email reply - "database."
The booklet author told the contact they could do a licensing deal so they could keep a copy in their database for their patrons to access. The deal would be for one year. The contact liked the idea, and asked if the deal could be renewed every year. Renew? The author hadn't thought of that. What a concept! Of course the answer was yes.
They won't be printing any copies, unless they do it on their office computer printer. So these won't be professionally put together booklets and they probably won't even print off the entire thing. It might be a couple of pages depending on what the patron needs. In many cases, the information won't be printed at all. And, they can't give any idea how many times the information would be accessed. So, that leaves the challenge of coming up with a price for one year's use, regardless of how many copies or how much of this material they print. If their database is available online, the price will go higher for the annual license.

This is a fabulous example of a client teaching an author how to sell to them. I have every confidence in the author to come up with a price that the client will accept. Imagine having a lot of renewable annual licenses out there for use of your PDF, MP3, or autoresponder series. No production on your part, leverage the same effort multiple times, and develop a revenue base for yourself.

Get the licensing package today if you don't already have it. It's a drop in the bucket for the return that's available on that investment. You'll find it at:

Until next time,
Paulette - who so appreciates stories like this

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Bulk Sales That Also Work for Booklets

Among my most well-respected colleagues are John Kremer (www.bookmarket.com) and Brian Jud. (www.bookmarketingworks.com) Both have excellent books which I reference frequently for ideas that definitely work for booklets as well as books. John's "1001 Ways to Market Your Books" and Brian's "Beyond the Bookstore" are must-have's for your own professional library In Brian's bi-weekly newsletter, he recently had the following, which is a concept I've been teaching booklet authors for years.

's Korner

(Excerpted - with permission - from John Kremer’s

Sixth Edition of 1001 Ways to Market Your Books.

Contact John at http://www.bookmarket.com)

With in-packs, the premium (your book or excerpt) is offered inside the package. When the customers buy the product they get your premium, too. Alka-Seltzer has used excerpts from several books as in-packs to promote its “relief-giving” properties. During tax time, they gave away “Tax Relief” an excerpt from “J.K.Lasser’s Your Income Tax.” In another promotion, they gave away “Hot & Spicy Favorites” recipes excerpted from various Better Homes and Gardens cookbooks.


Until next time,
Paulette - looking forward to seeing both these guys in Los Angeles next week at Book Expo and PMA-U


Monday, May 19, 2008

Selling Booklets in Bulk - Who's in Charge?

A new booklet author frantically emailed me about how a prospective large-quantity buyer "hammered" the booklet author for pricing during an initial phone conversation. I felt the author's pain. At the earliest stages of large quantity booklet sales prospecting, it can be a daunting experience for many people. And it's made worse when there's an underlying cash flow issue as a back drop.

The author was concerned about "blowing" the situation after giving a low 5-digit price for a license for the prospect to print an unlimited number of copies within one year. My answer to the author was "If the buyer will pay you that amount, and you need that amount, no, you didn't blow it. You may have left some money on the table, and you can consider that your learning curve. If this deal goes through, you may be able to make it up on future dealings with this buyer."

I would have done it a little differently insofar as granting rights to print a specific amount rather than an unlimited amount. However, the five digit price was still respectable. The thing that seemed to jump out at me was the author's lack of finding out how many the prospect was interested in having. The author was understandably so nervous about the transaction that this point was overlooked. The author lost control of the interaction at that point.

When in doubt, ask questions. That information will give you more grounding and control in moving forward with bulk sales.

Until next time,
Paulette - who remembers doing similar things early on

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Booklet Titles

An article I read today was a reminder of the importance of a good title for a booklet. The writer said there's power in a one-to-four word title. I agree. The title needs to succinctly say what the booklet is. Nothing cutesy. Tips booklets are how-to's. Tell the reader what it is. Sometimes a single word can do it, like "Teamworks" or "Divorce." Sometimes a short subtitle can be helpful, too. With the second example, the title and subtitle are "Divorce: 133 Ways to Diffuse the Battle."

There's also a practical side to support having a short, powerful title. When you make the title too long, it will rarely all show up. Plus, imagine writing a 10-word title every time you want to mention it. Way too cumbersome. The title of my own booklet is actually a bit too long by the standards I'm suggesting here! "110 Ideas for Organizing Your Business Life." Had I thought differently about that 17 years ago when I did the booklet, I probably would have shortened it. "Organizing Your Business Life," and maybe left it at that. It didn't keep from selling a whole ton of them. It's just one more bit that I've learned after the fact, now passing it on to you.

Until next time,
Paulette - who likes brevity

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Collaborations Bring Answers

Earlier this week I wrote about a colleague who was plagued with the feeling of having inadequate credentials. During a regular morning walk, the answer showed up in the form of creating a team with two colleagues who do have easily-recognizable credentials in related areas of expertise. It's a win for everyone. Problem basically solved.

The Collection of Experts booklets service I've been offering provides the same kind of solution, particularly in the realm of marketing. Some people enjoy marketing and do it easily. Others enjoy it and don't have time. Yet others don't like marketing or think they don't know how to market. Collaborating with 13 other people makes the marketing easy, effortless, and enjoyable. And if you bring me a group of 14 people, you get to participate at no cost to yourself. Click on www.CollectionOfExperts.com , see what it's about, and then let's talk about getting yours started today. I'll make this collaboration easier than you could imagine.

Until next time,
Paulette - sharing the best of what collaborations are about

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Example for Selling Your Booklet from Your Site

When booklet authors ask about good ways to sell their booklet from their site, I'm often concerned that their approach will be kept to selling single copies as a download. Following the link from a booklet author's ezine today, I discovered an excellent example of how to offer a booklet as single copies, bulk sales, and with customization. You can see that at the following link.

By the way, on a personal note, four years ago this author and I met for what we thought was the first time, when I spoke at a conference she attended in Boston. Three years ago, we discovered that, in fact, we had gone all the way through high school together in southern New Jersey. I saw her name on the emails coming through about our 40th reunion, looked in my yearbook, and yes, we had gone through high school together. Talk about a small world!! We both chuckle about how this unfolded, much less that I still had my high school yearbook.

Now, go see what she's done with her booklet.

Until next time,
Paulette - who usually is anything but a pack rat


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Catalogs and Booklets

Yesterday's Wall Street Journal had a little snippet of an article announcing the fact that the Bloomingdale's, the New York department store that is a division of Macy's, will discontinue mailing its catalog by the end of 2009. It will, instead, focus on its Web-based direct-to-consumer business. Its Web sales have far outpaced its catalog sales in recent years. I also read several months ago that Lillian Vernon Corporation is also experiencing most of its sales from its website. You may know that I did a very nice licensing deal of 250,000 copies of my booklet with Lillian Vernon back in 1994.

So what does all of this mean for you, the booklet author? In my opinion, it gives you multiple opportunities. You can still produce print copies because there will always be companies and associations who will want them. You can also license the digital versions of your material for the website owners (former catalog-based companies) to distribute in the same way they did with your print version.

Get a download of the PDF of this booklet:
* as a gift with purchase
* for the first time you buy from us
* when opening an account with us
* when you sign up for our ezine

And it can switch off to licensing the company the mp3 audio file for the same purposes, or licensing them the autoresponder series of one tip per email so their people get a tip a week or a tip a day from you.

Opportunities, all over the place!

Until next time,
Paulette - encouraged and undaunted by the changes

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Enough Credentials to Write a Booklet

The conversation about credentials came up over the weekend. A colleague is looking at what's next on the career path, incorporating years of various related experiences, and taking it all to the next level. I connected the dots in a way that focused on what I saw as strengths and interests, and what I thought was a healthy yet not paralyzing stretch. Within the reply I got back was reference to not having the kind of credentials I have.

This is not a new conversation among clients and colleagues. The piece that is either forgotten or not known is that I didn't have credentials when I started selling my booklet in 1991. Yes, the booklet is about organizing and I had been a professional organizer. However, when I started selling the booklet, it was just that. I was starting.

It's years later that over a million copies were sold, and thousands of people around the world know of this booklet work. And I didn't know what I was doing when I first started. My credentials were no more than my thinking I could do it, and doing it. That was it! I did the same thing when I became a professional organizer in the early 1980's, before that industry had a certification program, and even before a professional association had been formed.

Yes, some technical or scientific or medical topics do require some credentials if you're getting into the depths of those area with recommendations. That's often been presented as a collaboration of someone who has had personal experience, combined with someone who has had professional training. That could be a patient and a doctor, for instance.

I ended the reply to my colleague over the weekend by saying "I'm not sure that you will ever feel you've got enough credentials." I personally see it as a reason for not just jumping into the pool and starting to swim.

Until next time,
Paulette - who left fields requiring credentials a long time ago

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Friday, May 09, 2008

Why Buy Your Booklet?

It's always interesting to learn why a booklet author thinks it's a good idea for people to buy his or her booklet. The ideas often run from the sublime to the ridiculous. What's important, no, crucial to remember is that the buyer always buys based on his or her own wants. They can include:

* increase in knowledge about the particular subject
* to use as a promotional tool to sell more of the buyer's products, services, or cause
* as a gift to someone else, with no commercial intent in the gifting

Many other possibilities exist. However, these tend to be the primary ones. Understanding this helps focus your own promotional efforts as a booklet author.

Until next time,
Paulette - remembering it's always about the "WIIFM" (What's In It For Me) for the buyer

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Too Little, Too Much, or Just Right

Writing the title of this blog, I realized the scope of what that title encompasses, no pun intended. Your booklet can feel like it's too little an amount of information to you, yet be just the right amount for your reader. The reverse is true. You can write a larger document that feels just right to you, and way too much for your reader. It comes down to the old "it depends" response.

I was also thinking about schedules, especially for solopreneurs. Many people in my life tend to be busy, busy, busy, to the point of overload and "too much" by their own admission. There are others who are not busy enough, looking for the next project or the next connection or the next whatever, prompting "too little."

Somewhere in all of this is "just right." And "just right" is often a fleeting moment or one particular product among an entire product and service line.

The bottom line here is choices. You and I usually have the ability to choose, from moment to moment, about our schedules and about our products. Let's collectively keep that in mind.

Until next time,
Paulette - pondering some interesting choices

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Expand Your Booklet with Print Size

I've lost track of the number of baby boomers in North America and beyond. What I do know is that I've been wearing disposable bifocal contact lenses for a few years now, as a card-carrying member of the booomer demographic. You may find an easy expansion of your product line to be having your graphic designer re-set your booklet in a larger font size. With rare exceptions, your content is likely to find a home among various age groups, so why not produce something boomers can read without squinting? Yes, your booklet will be more pages by doing that. It could be well worth it to you. Take a look at what you've got.

Until next time,
Paulette - drawn faster to what I can easily read

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Business, Booklets, Boom, Bust

If you got my newsletter last night or today (you can subscribe through the box on the home page of my site), you know the main article of this issue made mention of my opinion about the gloom and doom that some folks are insistent upon spewing.

Lee Silber is a local friend and colleague who has written many books and has a perspective on life that I've always appreciated. Here's the lead article from his recent ezine. See what you think.



by Lee Silber


Anyone paying attention to the news knows times are tough. Just look at the headlines:

“OPEC Members Use Leverage To Raise Oil Prices”

“Banking Problems Result Of Unsound Real Estate Investing”

“Prices Rise During World Food Crisis”

“Increasing Unrest In The Middle East”

“Energy Crisis Leads To Greater Interest In Renewable Energy”

“Yankees defeat Redsox at Fenway”

Here’s the catch, the above headlines are from the mid to late 1970s. Gotcha. Thirty years ago we faced some of the same problems we are dealing with today. The importance of this similarity is the fact that as bad as things get, they will improve. They always do. Sure, a gallon of gas was under a dollar in 1978 (.63 cents) and is almost $4.00 today. But in 1978 people gladly paid higher prices for gasoline because a couple of years earlier it was almost impossible to get. (See, things could be worse.)

In addition to the economic similarities between now and the ‘70s, we face some of the same moral dilemmas. The point is, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

It’s interesting many of the current problems we are facing were predicable. We should have been able to see the real estate bubble about to burst. Is anyone surprised the Middle East is in turmoil? This month postage is about to go up again (it was .15 cents in 1978).

There is comfort in knowing that as bad as things get they will always get better. The trick is to be prepared for each boom and bust cycle. When things go south it’s good to be ready to weather the storm and when the tides turns it uncovers opportunities for those who have the resources—and are ready to act.


Whether it's booklets or any other products or services in your business, be ready by being responsive. That's all you need to be.

Until next time,

Paulette - who wrote her booklet in 1991 when things were on the low end of the cycle


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Monday, May 05, 2008

What to Do With Badly Edited/Produced Booklets

The conversation came up recently on a discussion group of the Publishers and Writers of San Diego (PWSD), where I happily serve as a Board Member, regarding what to with a print run of books that were badly edited and produced. The author thought she was dealing with a higher caliber of vendors than turned out to be the reality and was now considering trashing the entire print run, literally. My colleague and friend, Andrew Chapman (prez of PWSD) posted a helpful reply to the author. While it refers to books, there's some ideas that could be useful to you if you find yourself in a similar badly edited or badly produced circumstance with booklets. Or maybe you have a book to which this applies. I offer you Andrew's reply in full:


It seems to me from what you've written that this is not just a matter of a couple typos (which, yes, can happen with any professionally produced book). That being the case, I think you can tarnish your reputation more by putting it out there than you can benefit from it in some way.

So, what to do with them? I say make lemonade out of lemons and turn them into promotional tools for the revised version! You can do this by having large stickers printed that read:

Uncorrected proof - Not for sale

Below that text, put your website address and contact info. And this large sticker gets plastered right on the covers of your books. Then send those stickered books to:

1. Media for review (industry pubs like PW and Kirkus should be sent anytime between now and September; other media sent to in August-December)

2. Celebrities, personalities, other authors, and anyone whom you think would be ideal for a blurb or testimonial for the revised book and other promo materials, including your website

3. Places that takes book donations: libraries, Goodwill, Salvation Army, community centers, schools, places of worship, shelters, senior centers, etc.

4. Retail outlets that may be interested in carrying the revised version

5. Any other connection with whom you may benefit in the future when your revised version comes out and who can help spread the word about your book

Publishers send out hundreds, sometimes thousands, of advance reading copies of books (and uncorrected galleys) to promote coming books -- think of this inventory as being your stock of the same thing. As you see from #1 above, you can start doing this right away. Others will be sent out later in the year as the Christmas buying season starts in October.

I'm glad you asked the question, since I hate to see things go to waste. Hopefully, this will re-ignite your passion for the book and spark you to move forward with the revised version. Just make sure to get a professional's help this time!

Andrew Chapman
President, Publishers & Writers of San Diego
Ask the Publishing Pro


Until next time,
Paulette - who has spent a lifetime making lemonade out of lemons

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Friday, May 02, 2008

Simple Thank-You's

One of my pet peeves is when someone doesn't say thank you. You may have given them a reply to a query or done something for them or pre-empted a potential problem from happening or helped to solve a problem or any one of a number of things. And they didn't say thank you. Can you tell this has happened in my life recently? I really don't like assumed appreciation.

Anyway, sending the PDF of your booklet to someone as a thank-you accomplishes several things. It lets the person know of your appreciation and it gives a chance for others to see your booklet. Your booklet content will, ideally, be helpful to the person you're sending it, and it will also let that person tell others about it. I'm guessing you'll get a thank you for sending it, for your thoughtfulness!

Until next time,
Paulette - thanking you for continuing to read this blog

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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Booklets in Los Angeles

Where will you be on Tuesday, May 27, the day after Memorial Day? Will we be sharing ideas together during the afternoon in Los Angeles? This is the only public workshop I've got scheduled this year and most likely the last one I'll be doing in Los Angeles at all. If you are anywhere in the area or can plan to be, you'll be delighted by your choice.

For all the details, mouse on over to www.tipsbooklets.com/la2008.htm before all the seats are taken, including the one with your name on it!

Until next time,
Paulette - who is looking forward to seeing you in Los Angeles very soon