Published Podcast Episode 13 | Interview with Howard Love, Author of The Start-Up J Curve
Today we’re excited to bring you another author interview, this time with Howard Love, author of The Start-Up J Curve. We thought he would be the perfect author to discuss distributing his book and the impact the book has had on his business.
Q: Why did you decide to write a book?
A: I’ve been an entrepreneur for 35 years, and start-ups are hard. I see entrepreneurs struggling all the time, and I really just wanted to help current and future entrepreneurs to make their journey more pleasant and successful. All of my lessons were learned the hard way.
Q: This was your first book, correct?
A: Yes, it was. And for me, it was a personal challenge because I had never done it before. Of course, I had little idea of how hard it was to write a book. Like most start-ups, I vastly underestimated the difficulty. But I also underestimated the rewards.
Q: What was your favorite part of the publishing process?
A: One of the benefits that I didn’t think of before writing the book was that the process of writing the book forces you to think through your ideas and helps clarify your thoughts and ideas. When you put pen to paper, you have to have your ideas really well organized and thought-through. So the process was difficult, but it provided a great benefit to me by going through it.
The other part of the process that I loved was releasing the book. It’s very exciting to see it out there. Another great part has been the people I’ve met along the way.
Q: We are busy selling your book through retail channels now. What was your biggest takeaway from working with our distribution team (the team that is responsible for selling our titles into brick-and-mortar channels)?
A: The team has been super responsive, and because I’m a first time author, I have lots of questions. They have also been helpful in pitching me various programs, like the successful airport co-op we did, and helping me price the book.
A message to potential authors is that, as an author, you need to be involved in helping market the book. That was another thing I didn’t quite expect. Writing the book is a lot of work, but marketing it also requires a lot of work. Books don’t market by themselves. If you don’t have any author engagement, it’s much harder to sell the book.
Q: Most of the break-out titles I’ve seen are driven by the author’s hustle, and that’s why readers connect to content. They want to hear the voice behind the expertise. When we ask someone to read a book, we aren’t asking for $20. We’re asking for 2 weeks.
A: No matter what you’re doing, you’re competing for people’s time these days, which is in increasingly short supply. You have to have a great message, a compelling reason as to why people should read your book. The author is the best person to make that case, and it does work.
Q: In Greenleaf’s model, many of our authors sell their books through direct channels. Do you sell your books directly and how do you do it?
A: I spent quite a bit of time looking into that. For many people, that seems like a great way to go, particularly selling books directly through speaking engagements. Personally, that’s been a little bit limited because I’ve had a lot of success using the book for other purposes.
I remember walking into the Greenleaf offices for our first meeting, and one of the first questions that you asked me was, “Why do you want to write the book?” I always thought the answer was to make some money and get my ideas out there. But there are a lot of ways to make the book successful that may or may not tie into book sales. For me, book sales have been great and monetarily it’s worked out, I’ve gotten more value out of the book through other things, like getting the word out about the companies I work with, meeting people that I’ve built great relationships with, and travelling to places like Barcelona to speak to the entrepreneur community there. Now, we’re looking at opening an office in Barcelona as a result. That is a huge example of an unexpected side benefit that has become the central benefit for me.
Q: You mentioned that one piece of advice for authors to expect to be involved in promoting the book. What advice would you give to a potential author who is just getting started?
A: I stumbled into publishing a book through speaking. I had this Powerpoint presentation that I would use in speaking and had great feedback on it, with people asking me to send them the slides or taking pictures during the presentation. Turns out, that is a great way to try out your ideas and see if anyone cares. For me, that was an important part in validating that anyone would care about my book idea. Getting your idea out there early not only helps generate buzz and interest but also gives you this wonderful feedback.
About Howard Love:
With over 35 years as a Silicon Valley serial entrepreneur, Howard Love has founded or co-founded over 15 companies- including FlexJobs, PageWise, DealBase, & Knowingly (the current owner of Gigaom).
Howard is the founder CEO of LoveToKnow Corp, one of the largest US digital media companies, whose web properties include lovetoknow.com, yourdictionary.com, trails.com, and golflink.com.
In addition to starting companies, Love invests in early stage ventures and has made over 50 such investments, usually specializing in the consumer Internet and mobile sectors. Investments include: OpenTable (IPO), Trulia (IPO), Titan Aerospace (sold to Google), HotelTonight, and many others. Love founded his first company, Inmark Development, while an undergraduate at Colgate University. Inmark Development merged with Rogue Wave and subsequently went public.
Love speaks frequently on entrepreneurship for conferences, summits & events in North America and overseas such as the Start-Up Grind Global Conference, Start-Up Week, Capital Factory, TechStars, Slush Helsinki & the Government of Spain. Recent media appearances include MSNBC, Bloomberg Radio, KGO and Yahoo Finance.
Howard recently published his first book, the award winning Amazon bestseller The Start-Up J Curve (Greenleaf Book Group 2016) which received accolades from Entrepreneur, Inc, Worth & other business press. He resides in Silicon Valley, CA.
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