I issued a news release today.
Usually, I’d be doing that for a client. But this time it was about me. An announcement.
I’ll let you read it, then at the bottom of this post, I’ll share how it happened. Here goes (for those not au fait with press releases, they have a kinda manufactured language aping journalese).
PRESS RELEASE: FOR IMMEDIATE USE
BIG IN KOREA: GLASGOW SELF-PUBLISHED AUTHOR SELLS BOOK RIGHTS TO SEOUL PUBLISHER
A veteran Glasgow public relations consultant has sold the Korean rights of his self-published personal finance book to Rok Media for an undisclosed sum, it was announced today (Thursday 21 November).
Translation by the Seoul-based publisher is well underway and copies of the Korean language version of RESET are expected to be on sale in the new year.
Zude PR owner Sawyer, 47, who lives near Clarkston on Glasgow’s south side, published RESET in August 2018 after 10 months working on it full-time.
The non-fiction work – the first book to translate the millions-strong US financial independence movement to a UK context – has gone on to sell 7,600 copies worldwide, against average per-book lifetime-sales for self-published authors of 250, and 3,000 for those who publish traditionally.
The Korean deal (RESET’s first foreign language translation) was brokered by Charlotte Staley at UK-based independent publisher Harriman House, which represents Sawyer on global licensing rights for the book. The Korean agent that found the right publisher was literary agency Imprima.
Sawyer commented: “When I got the call to say a Korean publishing house wanted to take on my book, I nearly fell off my chair. All I could manage to blurt out was, ‘north or south?’
“But when I looked into it, I could see the potential. South Korea has a population of 50 million and people there are committed to self-improvement and getting their finances in order.
“Fingers crossed that the translator does a good job and sales do even better over there than in the UK and US. I can’t wait to see the front cover.”
RESET is a self-help/personal finance book aimed at UK midlife professionals aged 35–60 who are stuck in a rut and looking to restart their lives halfway through.
Its one-year practical programme spans a range of topics including: a method to future-proof your career; a way to declutter your life, physically, digitally and mentally; a fully costed route to financial independence; a system to manage your finances and a comprehensive set-and-forget investing plan.
And three months after its publication on 21 August 2019, the self-published audiobook version of RESET, narrated by Sawyer, is closing in on 1,000 sales.
Sawyer added: “It was a bit of a gamble doing the audiobook at a recording studio on Glasgow’s south side because I didn’t know if people would want to buy it and the time investment was significant.
“However, Ross Cameron at Riverside Music College in Busby did an excellent job and the sound quality exceeds audiobooks produced by some of the big publishing houses.
“It also helps that Amazon have got behind it with a promotional deal that runs out at the end of November.”
Sawyer has received 1,000-plus messages from newsletter subscribers who have read RESET over the past 15 months. The book has 137 customer reviews on Amazon with a 4.7-star average rating.
As well as featuring on blogs, podcasts and national media, RESET has drawn praise from influential sources in Scotland, across the UK and the US.
Monevator, this month voted the UK’s number one personal finance blogger, said: “Hidden in plain sight within the 300 or so pages of RESET is an elegant synthesis of the latest thinking in financial independence, lifestyle design, and age-old philosophical wisdom – cunningly disguised as a breezy pep talk from your witty mate down the pub. In a world that’s forever racing past us on a screen, it’s a reminder of the potentially life-changing power of a book.”
William D. Danko, PhD, co-author of The Millionaire Next Door, said: “Sawyer’s RESET shows us how to achieve material wealth. It emphasizes discipline, sacrifice, and hard work…”
Charlie Spedding, LA Olympics medallist, London Marathon winner and author of From Last to First and Stop Feeding Us Lies said: “Reading this book will guide you in the pursuit of change but it will not make change occur. You have to do that.”
Brad Barrett, co-host, ChooseFI (podcast) “I don’t say this lightly: this is one of my top, if not my very top, financial independence books that I’ve ever read. I absolutely loved it. I feel like it’s the book if I had the guts to write my own book, that I would have written this.”
DATE: Thursday 21 November
NOTES FOR EDITORS:
The English language paperback version of RESET sells on Amazon UK at a recommended retail price of £9.99. It is now discounted by more than 10 per cent at £8.70.
Press pics available of author David Sawyer and RESET. Contact David at firstname.lastname@example.org / 0141 569 0342 / 07770 886923
Interviews/further quotes/Press pics available on request.
Okay, so how the hell did this happen? Given the fact I did everything on the book myself, effectively becoming a publisher.
Had my fame spread far and wide with the world’s publishing houses agog at the thought of having the opportunity to get their hands on my book?
What it came down to was a mixture of luck and me taking action.
So, back at the turn of the year I started getting prods from readers, asking me when I was going to produce the audiobook version of RESET.
As the prods became more frequent I began considering it, albeit not with any serious intent.
At the same time, I’d noticed that people who bought my book were buying another recent UK personal finance book.
So, not serious and not knowing where to start going about working out how to self-publish an audiobook (having exhausted all the blog posts on the topic) I picked up the phone to Harriman House with not a clue what I was going to say other than, “you were involved with Pete’s audiobook I think, any tips?”
(At this point, I was about 20/80 against producing an audiobook, knowing it’d be a huge time suck, but I was curious).
I have no idea what Harriman House’s office manager made of that call and I was surprised when I received a message from their senior commissioning editor the next day to call him.
We chatted, we got on, and Craig read RESET that weekend, and loved it.
The next thing I knew I was speaking to Harriman House’s MD, Myles, the following week.
Now what I liked/like about Harriman House was their honesty (by this time we were discussing all sorts of things). This was maybe six months after publication and sales were going well, how well I didn’t realise until Craig and Myles gave me some context.
The whole experience was a huge boost, after one-and-a-half years not really knowing whether I was gong down the right route/doing the right thing, finally an industry expert (Harriman House are the UK’s leading independent publisher of investing and personal finance books) was telling me that I’d nailed it.
At this juncture, I had a few options.
Option 1: work with Harriman House to produce an audiobook.
(I decided I’d be better off doing this myself, locally, if at all. I wanted to self-narrate RESET.)
Option 2: let Harriman House take the weight off and take over the publishing of my book.
(The time to do this would have been before embarking on writing the book. Having gone through the pain and steep learning curve of professional self-publishing, I wasn’t about to handover the reins at this stage).
Option 3: Harriman House take on the distribution of the book but Zude PR Ltd remains the publisher.
(This was attractive. The numbers stacked up. And the thought of getting into Waterstone’s and Foyles was enticing. However, I would have had to – understandably from Harriman House’s perspective – relinquish the Amazon link, with Harriman handling all distribution. And I just couldn’t bear parting with the closeness I felt to the book through Amazon’s uber-transparent KDP dashboard).
Option 4: I sign a contract with Harriman House who use their contacts to gauge interest in selling licensing and translation rights globally.
(This was a no-brainer. I had no contacts in this area and no expertise. With no upfront cost, I pretty much immediately signed on the dotted line).
My contact at Harriman House is Charlotte. She seems to attend lots of book fairs and try and interest agents in her stable’s potential.
Did I ever expect to hear from Charlotte again? Yes.
Did I ever expect my UK-focussed book to be of interest to a worldwide audience? No chance (despite Harriman House’s enthusiasm for it).
So I was flabbergasted when in the summer Charlotte got in touch, things moved rapidly and before I knew it someone, somewhere (presumably in Korea) was beavering away translating my book.
So that’s how it came about. And if you have any questions, just sign up to my newsletter and drop me an email.
If you want a sneak preview, click “listen in browser” below: