I might be wandering into a mine field with this one…

I have strong opinions.  I’m pretty certain in my perspectives.  That’s part of what makes me so successful.

But sometimes, it also pisses off a reader.  Who legitimately asks a question, often out of frustration.  And with my strong opinions, I swoop in, write a piece like this, upset them — and lose them.

At the risk of doing that all over again, let’s go…

Your head trash and assumptions are probably holding you back…

(Me too — it’s a constant process of fixing one and moving on to the next.)

So I got this reader email the other day.

The guy told me he’d spent a year writing a book.  He published it on Amazon.  And a month or so later, he’s had a trickle of sales.

He wanted to know how to start making real money off of this.

Typically, I just throw these emails into my Mailbox Monday queue, and eventually turn them into an article.

But this time, I decided to also write a quick answer.

I told him three things…

— First, that books make terrible products, but great lead generation tools for other purchases.  Only best-sellers ever make a real livable income off of writing books.

— Second, if you want to really sell a lot of books, you have to go out and sell them.  Amazon has an advertising platform that’s not terrible (it’s not that good, but it plugs you into Amazon’s search, which is the world’s largest search engine explicitly built for buyers).  You can also do a lot off-Amazon to sell your books.

— Third, because I happen to be writing a promo right now to sell a book about the very same topic, I gave some specific advice around repositioning the message, that might make the book feel like a newer and more useful message, and thus more appealing.

I also noticed a comment at the end of his email that troubled me: “I guess there is an over supply of books to read, so …”

In response to that, I added, “There are plenty of books being bought today.  But there are also plenty of books being published that don’t sell.”

Now here’s what killed me.

He immediately turned around, disqualified and discredited my other recommendations, and told me, “There is an over saturation of books and most people don’t have the time to read that many books.  It’s very depressing to find out that very few people want to read my book after I put hundreds of hours writing it for over a year.”

In other words, I pointed to a mix of things that COULD work, and he refused to try…

He threw in the towel.

He gave up.

He spent all that time, earnestly putting together a book that I’m certain has a good message in his eyes, and in the eyes of his target audience.

From everything else I read (I am not quoting his entire emails), I’m certain his heart is in the right place.

And yet, for as important as he believes his message is, he’s willing to throw in the towel and blame the market when he doesn’t get instant success.

This thinking is rampant in the world of wannabe entrepreneurs…

Let me show you how the facts completely go against this big fat assumption that people are not buying books.

Last year, in the United States, there were 689 million PRINT books sold.  That doesn’t include ebooks, or audiobooks.

One analysis I found said that in 2018, ebook sales were somewhere around 500 million, and growing fast.

That’s a combined 1.1 BILLION+ in book units being sold.

Audiobook sales (which in this case didn’t apply, because he didn’t yet have the book in that format) hit nearly $1 billion in 2018 — a 24.5% increase over 2017.  A similar increase would put them at $1.25 billion last year and it wouldn’t surprise me if the growth was even faster.

(Side note: I’ve continued to be amazed by how many audiobooks now populate the Amazon Business & Money Best Seller list.  9 of the top 10, with the only print book — #2 — being duplicated in the list as an audiobook — #5.  I shouldn’t be surprised though because I already have 108 titles in my Audible library. 2/3 of which I’ve actually finished.  Which I’m certain is a better book completion rate than what my ADHD butt buys in print.)

All this to say: people are buying books!

That’s the fact.  But this guy was ready to live off the assumption that he wasn’t selling books because the market doesn’t buy books anymore.

The dirty truth: we do this because it’s easier to blame something outside of ourselves than to realize that we are the reason we haven’t succeeded yet…

Note that word YET!

Because without the yet, you just wallow in the misery and self-hate of being a failure.

But with the yet, you have an opportunity.

You have the opportunity to take responsibility.  That is: response-ability.

You have the opportunity to reclaim your own personal ability to CHOOSE your response to the situation, to move it in the direction you wish, or that can lead to your desired outcome.

I talk about this with my kids ALL THE TIME.  I ask them to do their chores.  They don’t do it, so I ask again.  And again, and again, and again.  By the fifth time, I’m visibly frustrated.  They interpret it as me thinking they’re a horrible person.  That they are a failure.  I try to always bring it back to, “No, you are not a failure.  I love you all the time, no matter what.  There is the behavior of not doing your chore when asked that I am really frustrated about, and that I want to have change.  But this isn’t about YOU, it’s about the behavior and you choosing to change that behavior.”

It’s much easier to say, “I’m a failure,” because then you CAN’T do anything about it.  If it’s your nature, your identity, you’re absolved of guilt.

Likewise, it’s easier to say “The market is bad,” because again you CAN’T do anything about it.  If it’s the market’s nature, its identity, you’re absolved of guilt.

And yet…

If there’s somebody out there in the world doing what you want to do, it is possible…

Yes, there’s privilege and opportunity and advantages that are distributed unevenly.

Some people have it easier.  Some have it harder.

But for the vast majority of people, in the vast majority of circumstances, WE are the ones holding ourselves back.  WE are the ones who are causing ourselves to underperform.  WE are the ones who are stopping ourselves from getting the results or outcome or success we want to achieve.


WE are the ones who can fix it.

WE are the ones who can do the work.

WE are the ones who can see it as a challenge to figure out.

WE are the ones who can do our homework, our research, and the frustrating labor of trying and trying again until we succeed.

WE CHOOSE our destiny, through what we choose to do now, ESPECIALLY in the face of adversity, resistance, and things not going our way.

The bigger a positive change you want to make in your life, the more resistance you will face…

This is pretty much a universal truth of human behavior.

We’re not getting what we want, because we haven’t done what we need to do to get it.

We haven’t done what we need to do to get it because doing those things is outside of our comfort zone.

We don’t do things outside of our comfort zone, because every fiber of our being resists doing what’s uncomfortable when we can get by on what’s comfortable.

But if you want to get what you want, you have to do what’s uncomfortable.

You have to face the resistance and struggle and pain.

You have to do things that are extraordinary, if you wish to get results that are extraordinary.

You MUST confront your head trash and assumptions head on.  Ask if they are serving you.  Ask if they are helping you create the future you wish to have.  Ask if they are reinforcing habits, behaviors, thoughts, feelings, and other contributors to failure.

And then make a DECISION about your RESPONSE.  Take response-ability.  Make your future your responsibility.

And then take one step forward, and another.

Yours for bigger breakthroughs,

Roy Furr