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Home > Author > Holly Clegg

Holly Clegg

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Member Since: Before 2003

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  Holly Clegg's Success Story
When I printed my first self-published cookbook, A Trim & Terrific Louisiana Kitchen: Southern Cuisine (1993), my goal was to sell those initial 5000 copies. I didnít know about backlist, Ingram, bookstore sales and there definitely was no Internet. Ten years later, I have sold over 150,000 copies and the book continues to sell in all the national bookstore chains through their channels of distribution.

What was the reason for the success in this book? I knocked on doors to persuade the chains and Ingram to pick up the book. With borrowed money in 1993, I was determined not to lose my investment. I also realize the book business is based on demand and book returns. I knew I had to create the demand so there would not be book returns. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to appear on the NBC Weekend Today Show in 1993 and appeared regularly for six years, learning the benefit of network television. From the Phil Donahue Show to other cable shows, I was able to generate sales through media exposure. I was featured in Cooking Light Magazine and Shape and the food editor today will tell you I was persistent; pushy with a smile.

Is it all about national media? Network television and print hit the big numbers but people identify with their local market. Donít ever under estimate the value of your local market and media in different cities. I remember driving to surrounding cities (which I still do today) and wherever I visited, I appeared on television. When it comes to selling your book, you have to do whatever it takes to get exposure. I remember speaking to study groups and organizations where I could sell the book at retail price to recoup some of my expense. Donít think I didnít have a trunk filled with cookbooks in those days to make it work. I created a Trim & Terrific foundation with my first book that has made me a brand today.

I have also self published other books, Trim & Terrific Meals On The Move: Rush Hour Recipes (February 2000) and Eating Well Through Cancer: Easy Recipes & Recommendations During & After Cancer (April 2001). As with my first book, each title is equally important and I donít think of them as backlist but more promotional opportunities. When you self publish, you should also take advantage of creative sales and learn to ďwheel and deal.Ē Look for incentive programs or bulk buys directly to the consumer where you may discount no return books for an enticing buy. I have worked with all types of companies to casinos. Yes, new titles do generate exposure for your old books but that is not a reason to keep writing books. No matter if your book is six months old or ten years old, there must be constant marketing to insure a place on that bookstore shelf in this competitive market.

Cross marketing is another great opportunity to generate exposure. I am a national spokesperson for Louisiana Sweet Potatoes and do projects, print and media throughout the country talking about our delicious Louisiana Yams. I promote my book while promoting their product, making traveling more cost productive. I have done spokesperson work and Satellite Media Tours for other clients with my book the incentive for my television appearance and then I have fun promoting their product in a featured recipe.

And use the Internet! Write articles for web sites, and be visible on the web. Your own web site is a necessity and I use my site, as a PR tool and give out information. I link to Amazon for book sales and donít use Ecommerce as I want my books to have a presence in retail sales making them better positioned.

My newest book, The Holly Clegg Trim & Terrific Cookbook: More Than 500 Fast, Easy and Healthy Recipes (Running Press 2002) is so successful because of my Trim & Terrific foundation with my self-published books. I have been on a national book tour and after my last NBC Weekend Today Show appearance in January; this book went to #4 on Amazon and B& Most importantly, my self-published books are also having one of their best years too.

Is there a time limit on books? I personally think the author is the only person who creates the timeline. Sell, sell, sell is what it is about. Believe in your book and promote with your heart creating a foundation that you can build on for years.

Holly Clegg

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