Earlier this spring, I shared that I worked with Bo Hamrick on editing his debut book, So You Want to Be in Sales? When Bo first asked for my assistance, it was a casual, “Hey, I’m working on a project for school. Will you take a look at it?” I agreed and told him to send it my way. I soon realized that it was more than a typical graduate school project. It was a real book, and it was really good.
This was my first experience editing outside of academia, so I felt intimidated initially. But once I got started, I enjoyed the content and the discussion of ideas. I also suggested the addition of a chapter and learned some new sales jargon along the way.
Throughout the editing process, it was important for me to not change Bo’s voice. His tone is very conversational, and we kept that authenticity intact in every chapter. I have read his book several times, and we have chatted on the phone and via email and Facebook throughout the editing process. Still, I had some burning questions for him about how this project was born and how he managed to write a book in the midst of his other responsibilities. Below is an interview with Bo. It includes some backstory, as well as a glimpse into the future:
- How did this project come to be? – “While I was working on my MBA, one of my classes talked about developing your Professional Online Presence. I actually mentioned what our class did in the book in the chapter titled ‘Every day is an interview.’ One thing I did to develop my Professional Online Presence or POP was to revive my blog (www.bohamrick.com). One of my blog posts was 10 things I wish I knew before starting in sales. Because of blog posting and working on my POP, I was introduced to Dr. Jeff Tanner who is the Dean of the ODU School of Business, and he was working on revising his sales textbook. We were talking about sales on the phone and he invited me to come speak at the entrepreneur center at ODU. I took the 10 things blog and turned it into a speech. From there I decided I could add more to it and make it a book.”
- At what point did you realize you wanted to publish your work? – “I have always wanted to publish a book but never felt that I had enough clout or unique knowledge to publish. But after getting great feedback from the blog post and the speech, I decided to turn it into a book.”
- What was the most difficult part of the publication process? – “I was scared to death of going the traditional route of finding an agent and pitching to publishers. Again I felt like I was not ‘famous’ enough to get them to call me. So I immediately went the self-publishing route.”
- Is there anything you wish you had done differently? – “I self-published with CreateSpace, an Amazon company. Many of the indie bookstores that I have spoken to as well as the Barnes & Noble run campus bookstores at William & Mary and Elon, all have said they will not carry CreateSpace published books because they do not like Amazon’s business practices. I may have looked at other self-publishing options if I had to do it all over again. With that said, I have been very pleased with CreateSpace. The books look great, in my opinion. Plus, I can order 1 copy if I want, and they print on-demand, so I don’t have to invest in a large book run and try to peddle them myself. I wish the book industry would realize that by thumbing their nose at Amazon, they are not hurting Amazon but are actually hurting the authors.”
- .Has becoming a published author always been a goal of yours? – “I have a spreadsheet on my computer that started with 100 things that I wanted to accomplish in my life. The list ranged from getting my MBA (accomplished), to visiting every state in the union (not done yet). Write a book was on this list.”
- How long did it take you to write the book? – “Because I was working full-time, completing my MBA, and raising three kids with my wife, I wrote when I had a chance. So the total time from writing, to handing over to you to edit, was around 2 months. But it would be 30 minutes here and there, or maybe an hour or two while sitting on a plane flying for work. I tried to steal time whenever I could.”
- Did you consider any other titles? “Yeah, I thought about 10 Things I wish I knew before getting into sales (the blog post). But that was about it. This is another thing I would do differently. I wish I had done an A/B test with my target market to pick the book cover and the title of the book.”
- Where did you write? – “As I mentioned earlier, I stole minutes every chance I could. If I was home, I wrote in my home office. I would also write in my hotel room or on flights when I traveled. Sometimes I would be at lunch and an idea for a chapter or a new story I could use would pop into my head and I would type it out on my phone.”
- Did you have to do any research for the book? Explain. “Most of the research was based on books I had already read. So it was going back to the books I mentioned in my book to make sure I was quoting them correctly and using their thoughts accurately.”
- Is there a second book in the works? If so, what can you say about it? – “I am starting an outline now for another book. What I can tell you is it is based on my Final Project for my MBA, which can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46M2PuvyeEs&feature=youtu.be. The premise of the project was finding a Wicked Problem…Wicked Problems are problems that are not easily solved. They may have multiple, possible solutions, and you would not know the viability of the solutions without trying. Once you try, you can’t ‘unring’ the bell. But my Wicked Problem was to solve the sales roller coaster; we talked about the sales roller coaster in the book as well. In the presentation, we only have 15 minutes to discuss our potential solutions, and I think there are tons of options to explore. I am currently gathering my research on how to solve the sales roller coaster and hope to start putting my outline together soon and begin writing.”
- Who should buy your book and why? – “According to Dan Pink, in his book To Sell is Human, everyone is a salesperson. Obviously, I am a sales person because of my role. But you are a salesperson as you attempt to get people to publish your work, or as you try to instill the same passion for English and writing that you have into your students. Based on that, the short answer is everyone should read the book. But more specifically, if someone is thinking of going into sales as a career, planning to own a business, or simply looking to become a better sales professional, he/she should pick up the book. I also think the book could be a good gift for the graduate in your life who is embarking on a new career.”
If you still haven’t read Bo’s book, don’t wait any longer. It is available in paperback and through Kindle Unlimited. https://www.amazon.com/dp/1717102433/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1524232784&sr=8-2&keywords=so+you+want+to+be+in+sales
For additional sales advice and articles, follow Bo’s blog at http://bohamrick.com/.