I am working with an excellent company called Girl Friday Productions (GRP) to assist me in self publishing my book, The Flight of a Wild Duck. I decided not to get an agent and find a publisher but take responsibility for the publishing it myself. The advent of services like Kindle Direct Publishing have distributed the publishing world. Companies like GFP can help an author with all aspects of the publishing process from the editing, products and marketing of a book. While publishers typically did all these tasks at their own expense and even provided an advance, the publisher would share substantially in the income of the book. While using self publishing, an author can keep as much as 70% of the sales of a book versus the 10-15% if a traditional publisher is utilized. On the other had, using companies like GFP work for a fee that varies based on the length of the book and services need. I would guess the range is around $25,000 to $50,000. My reasons had to do with my objectives. The volume of sales is not my primary objective. I am writing my book to have impact on those the read it. I am also writing it for myself as I have learn so much in the process.
GFP’s marketing process has to do with identifying the target audience and developing various plans for reaching the audience. One of the techniques is to create personas of the target audience. For instance, since my book contains a lot about the history of the computer industry and in particular, the role that the companies were I worked, played, my book should appeal to those interested in the history of the computer industry. But my book also reflects on my life story and my struggles as well as my successes and should appeal to those that are interested in life stories.
In a recent meeting with the key marketing person, I learned that their research showed my audience was mostly male, 87% versus 13% female. I found that upsetting. But then I realized that throughout my career, I never really gave much consideration to the someone’s sex and certainly did nothing special in recruits females in my organization. Nor did I make any special effort to recruit people for minorities. Now, I wonder what this means. I don’t think my behavior was unusual for the time. But in a world like, Intel, there were very few female executives for sure. I remember when I was considering joining the Intel Board, I counted the number of members that were Jewish (there were a lot) which was evidently, something very important to me, but I failed to even consider that there were no women represented on the board. There were also no men of color.
Growing up, my own world was largely dominated by women. My mother, her mother and her mothers mother, we the major influences in my life. I always had and still do, very strong friendships with women. I know that I have mentored many women through my career. So I am a bit shocked that I never even thought about the issues women had/have in the technology industry while writing my book.
My book should be relevant for both men and women that have careers in high tech. Also, my struggles an in particular, my inability to fit into the school system, has been a topic for many conversations with female friends who are concerned about their children.
Hopefully, my book offers somethings to both men and women. I will work with my female friends to understand how I can position my book in a way that will also appeal to female readers. If any of you have ideas, please provide them in the comments.
The rest of the job
I am in the middle of editing my book. It is a very intense process and I will write more about it, once I complete working with my editor in about a month or so.
How exciting Avram! As a Female Asian American I am very excited to read your book. Not only in regards to the history of computers but YOUR personal history is fascinating, inspiring and I can’t wait to read all about it. In my humble opinion please don’t think about positioning your book for any specific group. Just write and share from your heart, be authentically Avram and we will connect. I’m looking forward to reading and sharing your book with all of my female friends! 🙂
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Thanks for your comment Suzee. The positioning has to do with the marketing strategy. My book will not appeal to everyone so it is better to focus the marketing effort on those that will find my book relivant.
Avram, it would be a pleasure to host you as a speaker to the Intel Alumni Network when you are ready to talk about your book. Please let me know when the time is tight for you. If it is the the fall it would be great to host you in person.
Thank you Jacob. Our plans are not yet definite but we should be around in Aug and Sep. I think early Sep would be a good time. Lets discuss again in May.
I second Suzee’s reply!!! Write that you know Avram, write what you know ….
I am doing that. Thanks.
It’s so wonderful that you have the opportunity to share a critical juncture in the computing industry wuth your firsthand account of your time at Intel. You hired me into Intel and into your group in 1986- also as a strategic hire. It was a remarkable time at Intel and there were many areas under exploration- new markets, new technologies, new companies…and a few skunkworks projects as well. As a woman in tech at that time (and since) , it has been a road with many speedbumps. Intel has always hired based upon talent. I have enjoyed your blog and look forward to the publication of your book. Mazel tov!
I think your public acknowledgment that you didn’t consider women’s issues, even when writing your book in 2020 (less surprising during your career, but still…) is brave. I agree with Suzee. I geared my book to women because of advice from a brilliant business book publisher, but I wish self-publishing had been more developed when mine was published. I would have published the book I wanted to write, not what would sell. (Mine didn’t sell much anyway.) You are self-publishing, so write the book you want.
Thanks for your comment Robin. I am writing the book I want to write. But I would like it to be read by women as well as men. So I need to think about how to reach a female audience that would normally not consider a business/memoir like mine.