Win a copy of The $100 Startup / interview

by Shannon on June 8, 2012

I’m excited that Chris Guillebeau, author of the recently-released book The $100 Startup took some time to answer a few questions I thought some of you would enjoy. Cooperative Press is featured in this book, and it’s a great one. I have three hardback copies to give away, so read our brief interview below and then find out how you can win one!

When you started self-publishing (the Unconventional Guides, etc), did you ever suspect you’d end up publishing a book like The $100 Startup with a big publishing house? Why or why not?

Indeed, it was my original goal to write a “real book,” and the Unconventional Guides series came about somewhat organically in response to reader questions. These days I do a combination of traditional publishing and self-publishing. I don’t necessarily feel that one is better than the other; each model has pros and cons.

What have you learned from the process of publishing *this* book that you didn’t know, or weren’t aware of earlier?

One of the challenges with my first book was that it was difficult to categorize, and bookstores hate books that they can’t easily categorize. We had a strong launch and I did a 63-city tour, but it was difficult to get shelf space and national media attention.

With The $100 Startup, the promise of the book is very clear. It’s also much more specific, having the benefit of a comprehensive study based on the input of 1,500 unconventional entrepreneurs. [*ahem* cough cough, including my very own Cooperative Press --Shannon]

The first book sold about 40k copies in the first six months, which was good for a trade paperback. But contrast it with how The $100 Startup is doing so far: within the first four weeks, we’ve sold 40k copies. Overall it’s just a more concise and easy-to-grasp message, and I’m glad people are responding.

What are the three things you wish you could tell anyone who thinks they have a book waiting inside them?

1. Good for you!
2. I hope you get this book outside of yourself and into the world — in whatever format it takes.
3. Stop waiting.

Your concept of a business audit is fantastic — what are people leaving on the table when they don’t (re-)examine the opportunities that are waiting right in front of them already

They are often leaving a lot on the table, both financially and otherwise. The purpose of a self-audit is to take a higher-level look and identify what those things are. However, strictly observing something doesn’t result in change, so the more important habit is to take action on those observations.

With so many options and opportunities, people sometimes ask how to prioritize. My model is to write down the top 20 things I need to work on every day. Then, I cross out items #3 through #20… but I make sure items #1 and #2 get done.

What would you say to an author or potential author who doesn’t think social media is worth his or her time?

I’d say they are in the wrong business. There’s nothing wrong with journaling or writing privately, but if you want to be an author you need to be prepared to engage with your readers. Social media isn’t the be-all, end-all—your work itself should indeed be the focus—but I don’t think you can ignore direct communication with those you hope to reach.

And really, why would you want to? For me, interacting with my readers every day is a benefit, not a task that needs checking off a list.

Thank you, Chris, for the interview.

Now it’s your turn. Do you want to win a copy of the book? Let’s make this fun. Answer one of the following questions:

1. What’s your favorite color?
2. Would you rather have Jane Austen or Napoleon over for brunch? Why?
3. Do you think woodchucks ever get tired of chucking wood?
4. Which book was your favorite when you were five years old?
5. What is the stupidest lipstick color name you’ve ever encountered?

I will pick three winners next week!

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris Guillebeau June 8, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Hey Shannon! Thanks so much for posting this.

I LOVE your Cooperative Press story and have been sharing it with groups all over the U.S.

Jess June 8, 2012 at 1:38 pm

My favorite book at that age was Blueberries for Sal – and it’s still on my book shelf today!

Shannon June 8, 2012 at 1:39 pm

(Thanks, Chris! It pays to be cranky sometimes, I think… ) ;)

Peggy June 8, 2012 at 1:39 pm

I’m picking question number four because it strikes me as the funnest question and the one I knew the answer to quickest. My favorite book when I was five years old was “Peter Pan.” And even though you didn’t ask: No, I still haven’t grown up!

Carmen June 8, 2012 at 1:41 pm

1. Blue
2. Jane Austen – I love P&P.
3. Never – chucking wood is a game to them.
4. Hop on Pop (Dr Seuss)
5. don’t know lipstick names.

Lindsey s June 8, 2012 at 1:47 pm

I’d go with Jane Austen. I think she’d be more pleasant company.

Sheila June 8, 2012 at 2:01 pm

3. Woodchucks don’t get tired of chucking wood, but they do get sick of counting how much wood they can chuck. They really don’t understand why people keep asking them how much wood they can chuck and wish people would stop.

Audrey June 8, 2012 at 2:11 pm

I love Chris’s advice on prioritizing! Thanks for a thought-provoking interview.

My favorite book was “Mary Poppins”. I still like a good umbrella.

Michelle June 8, 2012 at 2:20 pm

1. Turquoise! :)

penny June 8, 2012 at 2:45 pm

favourite book at age 5 was probably still “go dog go” but it was quickly passed by heidi and the little house series.

D Louise June 8, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Yellow, not mustard or neon-y or pastel-y, golden, sunshine yellow. Sigh. Makes me happy just thinking about that color.

TK June 8, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Orange is my favorite color. I read Chris’s blog (and knitgrrl’s) and have just started thinking about a business of my own. I always take his advice to heart, and will probably buy his book if I don’t win a free copy!

Shannon June 8, 2012 at 3:24 pm

Oh, gosh, so hard to choose a favorite color. I like several – orange, purple. Thanks for the giveaway, sounds like a great book and one that would definitely speak to me right now!

Anna June 8, 2012 at 4:14 pm

1 – Green.
2 – The anthropologist in me would say Jane Austin. She was pretty observant of the unspoken social rules and the differences between statuses and people. Although, a sense of etiquette might get in the way of a more interesting conversation, at which point I would go with Napoleon, and invite him to play a game of Dominion afterwards.
3 – If woodchucks got tired of chucking wood, wouldn’t their teeth grow to a hideous, uncomfortable length? The real question is – has anyone knit Fuzzy Wuzzy the bear a sweater so he can be Fuzzy again?
4 – Favorite book would have to have been Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. Oh, and Dr. Seuss – I had an extensive Dr. Seuss library.
5 – I don’t really know lipstick names, but I just did a quick search, and Clinique has some funny ones – two ton tomato, oversized orange, Pudgy Peony.

Angie S. June 8, 2012 at 5:12 pm

At age five, I probably loved bright picture books, but I know as soon as could read I loved anything by Dr. Suess!

Kim Craigs June 8, 2012 at 6:23 pm

My favorite book when I was 5 was The Phantom Tollbooth.

Even 40+ years later, I remember my kindergarten teacher giving it to me to read over Christmas vacation. I have probably read it 15 times since, and there are at least 3 copies of it in the house…

Jean Hochard June 8, 2012 at 7:59 pm

My favorite color is purple with orange second. I love to knit with these colors and have made a lot of things. Thanks for the giveaway.

Melissa June 8, 2012 at 9:02 pm

Oooh, this is already on my wishlist on Amazon!
I don’t think woodchucks tire of chucking wood b/c they don’t chuck wood. They forage off the ground and dig tunnels. Not too tree oriented. If they did chuck wood, I don’t think they would think about it. I imagine it would be a zen thing.

Chantal Boucher June 8, 2012 at 10:39 pm

my favorite color: pink
i’d rather spend some time with Jane Austen, since i’m sure i would argue with Napoleon
and i can stop thinking about what i use to read at 5… it such a long time… i remember that library within a school bus that would come every week and we had so little time to choose… Babar? Yes i use to love that elephant! but i was probably 6 or 7.
;-)

nell June 9, 2012 at 6:49 am

Thanks for sharing a bit about this fabulous sounding book! It would be great to have…

There is a shade of red Crape Myrtle that makes my heart sing. I always say that I’d want that color in a lipstick.
Who gets that awesome ‘name the lipstick, nail polish, paint shade’ job anyway??

Marie/Underground Crafter June 9, 2012 at 7:04 am

Thanks for the giveaway!

I’ve never read any Jane Austen books, so I’d probably be too embarrassed to have her over for brunch. If I invited Napoleon over, it would have to be a light brunch because surely otherwise I’d have indigestion later from arguing with him?

Jennifer June 9, 2012 at 8:38 am

Favorite book at five was The Book of Giant Stories mostly because of the amazing illustrations by Philippe Fix.

mimilikestomakeprettystuff June 11, 2012 at 3:42 pm

1. What’s your favorite color?
My all time favorite is blue (almost every shade of it). Lately I’m in a green phase, before it was a purple phase, before that a black one, before that a red, and before that I can’t remember.

sillylittlelady June 12, 2012 at 5:23 pm

My favorite color is yellow and anything by Dr. Seuss (especially The Lorax) were my faves at that age and to this day :)

I love the Cooperative Press, their story is inspirational and motivational!

Christine Chen June 14, 2012 at 8:41 am

I’ll have to answer question # 4. “Which book was your favorite when you were five years old?” My all time favorite book was Swimmy. I had my daddy read it over and over and over to me at bedtime. I had it memorized! He would read a few lines and I would finish the sentences. I loved saying “I’ll be the eye!”

Susan June 14, 2012 at 8:40 pm

_Horton Hears a Who_ by Dr.Seuss (Theodor S.Geisel). I so recall reading it many times, and my oldest brother,and our parents, reading it to me and my sister. It’s so good, it’s worth a re-read, now that you’ve reminded me; it’s deeply humane.

Kelly June 16, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Growing up my favorite book was by Mercer Mayer, Professor Wormbog in Search for the Zipperump-a-Zoo! Great illustrations and a wonderful story. I love sharing it with my kids now.

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