Yesterday, after a lot of effort and more than a few hesitations, I released The Poverty Diaries for sale. It’s 6 years’ worth of excerpts from my diaries, detailing my struggles to make my way from poverty to prosperity. You might have heard of Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America by Linda Tirado. It’s currently the number 1 seller in the area of Social Sciences under the topic of Poverty. I hope to change that.
I spent yesterday reading Linda’s book, and I can relate to everything she talks about in her book. I know what it’s like to desperately need medical care that you can’t afford. I know what it’s like to walk an hour one way just to get to work and then an hour back home. I know what it’s like to work two years as a temporary for a Fortune 500 company where there are no raises and there are no benefits.
However, unlike Linda, I’m not angry. I’m determined, and there’s a difference. I’m determined to find a way out for myself and to prove to women like Linda that poverty doesn’t have to be a trap you can never leave behind. I believe that books are that way out.
Here’s my plan:
I self-published The Poverty Diaries. I created the cover, put together the formatting, and I’m handling the marketing. It’s taken me four months to get it ready. Thus far, I’ve spent just $50. I make a profit of about $3 a book whether someone buys the print book version
or the eBook version
. If I can sell 200 books a month, I can use the profits to keep my bills paid so that I can afford to take on clients at no charge and help them self-publish their own books.
Why a book? Because a book is one of the cheapest and relatively easiest ways to enter into the world of entrepreneurship. It’s not the book that makes the money. It’s all the things you can do with the book that will allow you to capitalize on the contents and make the big money. That’s the other half of what I will do for them – help them identify and create supporting products that can come from that one book and use that book as the foundation of a long-term business that will support them, and their families, for years to come.
Why am I qualified to do this?
The photograph used, the cover design, the content, and the formatting of The Poverty Diaries – that was all done by me. I have spent two years learning some of the ins and outs of the book marketing business, and I continue to learn new things every day. My training in graphic design and my writing ability coupled with my knowledge of marketing techniques means that I can put the book together for almost no money at all and then I can use the rest of the money to invest in advertising.
Once they’ve finished their book and we’ve got their business launched, they’ll be in a position to pay it forward by helping someone else in poverty do the same thing they’ve learned to do. That means that the 200 books that were sold becomes a gift that keeps on giving, year after year.
Here’s how you can help:
• Buy a book. Buy one for you, and one for a friend.
• This should go without saying, but….read the book. Let people know what you think of it.
• Suggest this book as the next selection for your book club.
• Share this email with someone you know is interested in helping people who are living in poverty.
• Recommend this book to people you know.
• After you’ve read the book, leave a review on Amazon.com
• If you find a passage in the book that strikes you, tweet about it using #ThePovertyDiaries and mention @WriterBrandy.
• Write a blog post about The Poverty Diaries – tell me about your experiences and about what reading it did for you
• Tell your friends about it.
• Share it on Facebook
• Take a picture of yourself with your copy of The Poverty Diaries and pin it on Pinterest or on Instagram.
• Know someone who works in radio, television, or for a newspaper? Share your book with them (or buy a copy) and ask them to read it.
Considering that most books never sell their first 100 copies, my goal is fairly ambitious, and I know it. It’s going to take a lot of people who are interested in helping people in poverty picking up this book and reading it for me to be able to reach that. However, I also know that the internet is an incredibly powerful tool for positive change in this world and that is what I am counting on.