by Amy Collins

When I started my business 6 years ago, I spent the first three months reaching out to over 800 publishers asking if they would like more information about my services.

Each day, I sent out 10-15 well edited, nicely designed emails and/or snail mail packets describing how fabulous I was and how much I could improve their profits and lessen their work load. I spent every night compiling the packets and spent every morning send them out. The afternoons were for follow up. Every day, including weekends… If I had to miss a day, I doubled up the next day. This went on for three months.

After a time, 7 or 8 publishers said they would like more information.

Eventually, 1 hired me.

800 attempts with 1 success. My business plan stated that I needed a minimum of 10 clients to stay afloat and it took three months and hundreds of hours sending non-mass-mailed outreach letters and painful phone calls to get me 1 client.

It was enough.

With that one client, I now had a job to do. I worked for Write-Stuff Publishing like my life depended upon it and a few weeks later, Avant Guild Publishing followed. In time, I had more clients than I could handle and had to hire help. It was a slow, tiring journey, but today, I have an amazing business partner, terrific clients, fantastic employees, a gorgeous office…. we are looking good!

It is hard to remember how I felt at the beginning until I speak with an author or editor who is ready to branch out on their own. I often hear the following:

“But I’ve SENT out SO many queries!” or “It’s really tough out there…. no one is responding to my requests”

I was reading a great blog at written by a freelancer who’s family is sending her emails filled with dire predictions of her starvation and bankruptcy. I was cheering her on as I read about her rejection letters and growing panic, but she kept going. As I read on, she was able to share the BEST part about taking the plunge… some one hired her.

ONE success. It is enough. But it takes a LOT of perseverance. What separates those who make it from those who don’t? Lots of things… but the FIRST thing on the list is the ability to not give up.

Amy Collins MacGregor started her career in the book industry as the book buyer for Village Green Books in Upstate, New York. In 1996, she “hopped the desk” and thoroughly enjoyed working as a National Account Rep for Prima Publishing. In 2001, Amy was named Director of Sales at Adams Media in Boston and quickly rose to the Special Sales Director for parent company, F+W Media. Over the years, Amy has sold to Borders, Barnes and Noble, Target, Costco, Wal-mart, and all the major chains as well as help launch several private label publishing programs for chains such as PetSmart and CVS. In February 2006, Amy started The Cadence Group and now runs the fastest-growing book distribution company in North America, New Shelves Distribution, where she offers her sales experience to small publishers and self-published authors. To learn more about Amy go to

Image courtesy of Larrie Knights.