Sunday, November 11, 2007

Anybody want to buy a book?

Wow... It is Sunday afternoon and I get to post again.

Friday morning I had to teach a Balloon-Twisting workshop for a children's entertainers convention at a church in Nashville. I was doing the event for free, as a favor to my parents, but the opportunity existed to sell "Lecture Notes" after the workshop to those who wanted a written version of the class to take home with them. I had prepared this material already back in 2002, when I gave much the same lecture at the same convention.

That time, I had to compose and self-publish my notes, which involved several hours (days, maybe?) behind the computer, writing and illustrating, and then several more hours at Kinko's spending a fortune printing the things (including the full-color cover), then cutting, folding, and stapling....

I probably made twenty of the things, at a cost of well over forty dollars, not including time and effort. I figured I could sell them at 6$ a piece, and then, if I sold all twenty of them, I would leave the class (which I was teaching for free, remember) with an eighty dollar profit to show for all my labor.

I sold 6, I think. The details are a little fuzzy, 'cuz this was over 5 years ago, but one point stands out clearly in my mind, and that is... I didn't quite make the money back that I put in. I was left with a stash of more than a dozen booklets that I gave away most of over the course of the next 5 years.

Then this year I had an opportunity to do the lecture again. Only I had given away the notes over the course of the last 5 years, so I had none! I decided to use the knowledge gained from my past mistakes, and print them at the University Library instead of Kinko's, Skip the Full Color cover, only make a few of them (I made 6), and charge more for them. $7.50 sounds just as fair as $6, anyway.

So I spent slightly less than $20 to make half a dozen of these little 32 page masterpieces, and I went to the convention and did a wonderful presentation. I sold two books... I didn't quite make the money back that I put in. Again.

Anybody want to buy a book? I got 4 left. At $7.50, they make great stocking stuffers!

2 comments:

Jeremy Gibson said...

Dude... this is the internet.
You could put in a little effort, make some kind of "Frank Gibson, Balloon Expert" website... Throw up some freebie instructional material... you tube videos, balloon blogs... and balloon notes order form. No travel costs and potential reach to every balloon enthusiast with an internet connection.
If you've got knowledge to sell this is the place to sell it.
(THIS as in the internet, Not THIS blog exactly)

Anonymous said...

Yeah - what Jeremy said! -
mommasee -

BTW - Jay Luthy liked your presentation.