The books are our normal problem, correcting the many errors we made when first we started selling them. We loved and collected books but by golly, we didn’t know about selling, pricing or even describing. So we have to go back and have a do-over. That takes a lot of work.
But in between times we also sold a few and one was the last copy of my own book, “It takes your breath away”, a Manual on how to cope with COPD.
It did well with the fellow sufferers, but nowhere else. That’s because of a damn’ silly Title and a lack Promotional Knowledge. Now I was a Show Promoter in past life. I put on one event, an Air Show, that blocked traffic all the way back to I85, so I should have known. But Books aint shows and your promotional ideas need a completely new mindset.
But I can say I am a Expert on COPD. I’ve had it for almost 40 years which, as my Doctor says, is a “miracle”. It’s terminal disease of the lungs and 25% of the patients die within 4 yours of their first Hospital admission. It kills about 125,000 Americans every year. They used to call it the “Smokers Disease” since (apparently) mainly Tobacco users suffered from it. But when the Smokers started to quit COPD continued to rise until some bright boffin started to look at it. It was the air around us that was causing the problem. Car exhaust, smoke, factory emmissions – they all fouled up the Atmosphere. There’s a bit of news I bet you were glad to get!
Well this is a Book blog and to show I am a quick learner, my next book is about Surviving COPD. But this time it will be COPD then whatever subtitle I can come up with. I rather like – COPD – my first (almost) 40 years.
I am also not to sure about book size. My last was standard 8.5 x 11, but I feel perhaps Pocket Book may be better. Then what quality paper to use. Soft cover is going to be a MUST, and I will design a much better front page. My last was a disaster, black background and white lettering, no artwork at all. My thought back then was that patients, once they learned about the book, would come flying out of the wood work. What a presumption that was. On the other hand, what to use for an illustration? Perhaps a dead Lung? No, a bit too much. Me happily sucking on my Oxygen tube? Ghastly! Perhaps a naked lady using an oxygen supply?
Well, whatever I use it had better be good.
Now apart from being just a marvellous person, I am lucky. I have survived, and that was because I am lucky. I had a Heart Attack. You couldn’t get a better wakeup call.
Since COPD takes your breath away you do have a tendency to mope around a lot. When I first left the hospital I was a wreck and I sat around the house moping. I was an excellent moper.. But one bright sunny day I looked out of the sindow and decided “If I am going to die, it will be standing up.”
I staggered out of the house, found the hose (puff, puff) and started to wash the car. (puff, puff, sit down, puff) And so I began. The experiment lasted about three hours but I felt marvellous afterwards. Very, very tired but my whole world changed. I took to walking a lot and doing stuff and felt I was getting better. Always tired though. Then BANG I had a heart attack. My Doctor had told me to take it easy, but my Heart Man said a better diet and at least an hour a day on exercise. I informed him that with COPD I’s never make it. His reply was that “If you don’t you will die “, and he was that blunt about it.
So I joined the YMCA and off I went. They gave me the slowest of treadmills and the lightest of weights and after about a month of that and a fresh diet I really changed. I looked forward to my trips to the gym, enough so that my wife joined too. Horrors!! She changed into a Monster. In her late sixties and she lifted more weight than any woman of any age group and was irate that they wouldn’t put her on the Mens Weight list – she would have placed 6th.
Actually it was great, since I had a few bad go rounds with COPD and she was there lifting books onto shelves, rushing round to book sales and doing a ton of other work that had got beyond me. About 7 years ago they put me on Oxygen, which I had to use for sleep and anything real strenuous, but around the house I do without a lot of the time.
But back to books. I’m still not too good on the promotion side of my book. Newspapers won’t Review self published books and neither will the American Lung Association. The COPD support groups refuse to even mention books for sale. They get very irate about any patient trying to profit from the disease. Now I am the first to admit that I expect to make money. But I do have ulterior motives. The first is to get people tested for COPD. Thousands die every year and never know the cause. I was almost one of them. My first Doctor, lovely old Gentleman, almost killed me. For 2 years I would get this awful cough and get it quite a few times during every winter. His answer was “Well Mr. Webster, we’ve got our nasty Winter cough back.” The he’d prescribe some cough mixture and off I’d go. But the second winter it was even worse and I had so many bouts of it and was coughing up blood that my wife dragged me off to a specialist. He quickly tracked it down to Asthma and Chronic Bronchitis, both caused through Black Mold in the basement. But it wasn’t quick enough and it got so bad they rushed me off to Hospital. That could have all been prevented with a ten minute test right at the start. But people don’t know that. So I want people to be aware.
My next reason is that the greatest number of COPD Patients are poor and can’t afford books. But I used to give my old book away free by burning a CD and giving that out to the needy. I just asked for the postage and they could get some one with a computer to print it out for them. I’d like to do that again.
But I honestly believe that the Web will make it a winner. But I do need a few suggestions.
[editor’s note: If any of you have suggestions on how Mr. Webster can promote his book they would be quite welcome, thanks]