The Secret of Success

When the economy started nose-diving, I told myself, “During bad times, you want more irons in the fire. This is a great time to expand my publishing business.” So I went from four titles to thirteen in about eight months.

I had it all planned out. During bad times, people start yearning for simplicity and more control over their lives, and there’s always a back-to-the-land movement. So I published three classic back-to-the-land books: Gold in the Grass, Ten Acres Enough, and We Wanted a Farm. These, I figured, would do very well. I also republished a motley collection of books just because I loved them, though in many cases I felt that maybe no one else would.

So what happened? A couple of my labor-of-love books became mainstays of my publishing business, while the back-to-the-land books have been relatively disappointing. Only Ten Acres Enough was anything to write home about, but even its modest success was eclipsed by Fresh-Air Poultry Houses, which instantly became my #1 seller, and A Thousand Miles up the Nile, which has nothing whatever to do with any of my other books!

So it just goes to show, you never can tell. You have to swing at the ball a lot more times than you hit it, so you should give yourself a lot of at-bats, rather than counting on a home run on the first swing. Heck, I almost didn’t publish Fresh-Air Poultry Houses because it’s sort of eccentric, but I told myself that it’s eccentric in a good way — charming and thought-provoking, and in touch with natural thinking — and it’s a good thing I did.

Seth Godin has an interesting blog post where he shows a chart by Tim Burton of all his failed projects — lots and lots and LOTS of them. Even now, only a fraction of his projects actually get released.

So keep swinging, and don’t bet the farm on any one venture. Most of ’em won’t get very far, but some will.

I Publish Books! Norton Creek Press

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Robert Plamondon
Robert Plamondon has written three books, received over 30 U.S. patents, founded several businesses, and is an expert on free-range chickens. His publishing company, Norton Creek Press, is a treasure trove of the best poultry books of the last 100 years.

Author: Robert Plamondon

Robert Plamondon has written three books, received over 30 U.S. patents, founded several businesses, and is an expert on free-range chickens. His publishing company, Norton Creek Press, is a treasure trove of the best poultry books of the last 100 years.

3 thoughts on “The Secret of Success”

  1. It’s always the same and yet we are always surprised at this truth!
    In pro sports only a percentage of pitches are hit or passes completed and a mere fraction of those actually score points….as a lifelong sales professional the old saw is “ya gotta get 100 ‘No’s’ for every ‘Yes’…the biggest rookie mistake that is made in business is, “This is the idea that will change the world!” and you bet the whole farm on it….or dare I say it?
    “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket!” ( Sorry, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity!)

  2. This makes me think my out-of-the-box-thinking hubby might be on the right track!!! Heaven knows the hen sales in the last couple years have often come just in time to put some much-needed fuel in the truck. And since I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of getting the first 100 (a dozen diff purebreds), I must give him all the credit for getting them when we did!! Now we’ve gotten 500 day-old hens to start a grass-fed egg business this spring….. Wish us luck!

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