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Minds PerceptionWhat do you need to succeed in book publishing? Your first thought may be money, particularly OPM — Other People’s Money. However, that is not as critical as you may think. Money will come when you do everything else right. The most important attributes that lead to success cannot be purchased. Here are 10 Top “Must Haves” for success in book publishing:

Information            Skills

Contacts                  Plans

Ideas                        Accountability

Feedback                 Camaraderie

Support                   Resources

There is another OPM supply into which you can tap on your own and as frequently as you need it: Other People’s Minds. Expand your business and become more profitable by using the knowledge, creativity, energy and contacts of other people. This is accomplished through a Mastermind Group, a team of people who meet regularly to help each other solve problems and increase business potential.

What is a Mastermind Group?

A Mastermind Group is an on-demand source of the 10 critical success attributes. It is a small, interactive team of people who have experienced the trials and tribulations of successful book publishing, and are willing to share their lessons. In addition, a Mastermind Group is a community in which you can actively participate and get the benefit of differing perspectives to help you achieve your personal and business goals. In short, it is your own personal board of directors.

Why start or join a Mastermind Group?

At times, independent publishers become so embroiled in their day-to-day activities that they do not have (or take) the time to step back and evaluate their relative progress. Additionally, constant rejection and weeks without friendly human contact can erode the enthusiasm of even the most positive people. You can reduce this mental deterioration, improve your business, and experience the following benefits if you join or start or join a Mastermind Group.

  • Assess your activity. Preparing for each meeting makes you focus on where your present actions are taking you.
  • Constructively critique your plans. Your teammates provide a sounding board upon which you can bounce ideas in a secure environment. You know that their comments are offered in a spirit of trust, understanding, and helpfulness. Your teammates feedback forces you to think through your strategies more carefully, leading you in directions you might not have discovered on your own.
  • Increase your mental toughness. The exchange of information among members fosters the personal initiative, imagination, courage, and enthusiasm you need for continued success. The camaraderie which develops among Mastermind Group members provides psychic sustenance through lean emotional and financial times.
  • Eliminate repetitive explanations. Each person in your group becomes familiar with the others’ businesses. Consequently, you can introduce ideas for new strategies without repeatedly explaining the details of your circumstances.
  • Expand your network. Your teammates will know other people who can assist you. Their contacts can be invaluable in helping you obtain what you cannot on your own.

How is a Mastermind Group formed?

Most entrepreneurs have an informal network of people who they lean on for information. Compile a list of those you feel would be good candidates for team membership and inquire about their willingness to join. If they agree, ask them to suggest other potential members.

Try to select people with varied expertise in such areas as marketing, design, accounting, and law. Your goal is to achieve the optimum mixture of knowledge and personalities that will energize a cooperative flow of information. All members should provide input from their perspectives just as a corporation’s board of directors provides its CEO.

It will be helpful if your comrades are knowledgeable about the book business because they will understand the traditional discount structures and return policies. Exclude competitors because you will be discussing confidential business information.

Begin every meeting by asking each person to give a summary of success he or she experienced since you last met. As time goes on you will look forward to this as an opportunity to share your success with people who understand the difficulty of achieving it.

The proper composition of personalities and knowledge will result in time well spent. As time goes on, your meetings will help to develop a productive, congenial, long-term relationship among people seeking mutual success and profitability.


Brian Jud is the Executive Director of the Association of Publishers for Special Sales and author of How to Make Real Money Selling Books and Beyond the Bookstore.