Help Yourself to Opportunity
“Self-help needs to get behind minorities because we’re largely an untapped marketplace,” Rose says. “Most publishers have no idea how loyal African Americans are as consumers, and I’m the one who benefits.”
Get Tuned In
Venues that can help self-help book authors gain exposure to their audiences vary, but TV is an eternally popular one. Turn on the TV late at night and there’s someone telling you how to “Buy and sell real estate—to make millions!” or “Change your life now!”
One author you may remember seeing in a late-night channel-flipping excursion is self-help guru Deepak Chopra. At least Karen Krieger, COO of Amber-Allen Publishing Inc., hopes so. Amber-Allen publishes Chopra’s books among other personal growth books and audio products.
“There’s no question that television is still a major source of profitability for self-help,” she says. “But only if the author can come across as sincere. With Chopra, you didn’t just buy into his books—you bought into him.”
Rose also sees TV as a part of his company’s continuing growth. “We began in 2002 by producing commercials and went on to bring in a lot of revenue on the Black Family Channel, which has a viewing audience of 16 million,” he says. Rose adds that executive-producing a half-hour television show called “Literary Living”—which airs on the Black Family Channel and profiles African-American authors and publishing figures—has translated directly into book sales.
Krieger also has a sneaking suspicion that television helped her company’s all-time best seller, “The Four Agreements,” by Don Miguel Ruiz. The book was featured on a segment of Oprah Winfrey’s daytime talk show and in the premiere issue of O: The Oprah Magazine.
Many self-help publishers also rely heavily on online communities to develop their audiences.
“A lot of our bookstores and distributors went under, so the way we survive is to emphasize multimedia,” says Clemens.