Interview with Doug Barger

Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I honestly don't remember the first story I ever read. I'm sure most authors probably do. My mother was an elementary school teacher and so she and my father made sure I could read long before I started school.

It's funny. Even though I don't remember the first story I ever read, I do remember what it was like as a toddler before I learned to read. I remember watching my parents and listening to them perform what seemed like this magical art of "reading" and it fascinated me.

When I just shared with you how my mom was a teacher, and that my dad and her both made sure I could read before I was old enough to start school, you may have thought it sounded like they were the ones who were really encouraging me to start reading early.

And you're right. They really did encourage me.

But it was really more the other way around. They weren't the ones who forced me to learn or pressured me into wanting to read.

In fact, when I look back at that time now, I laugh a little, because I have this image of me, a little kid Doug, practically demanding my parents reveal their secrets of reading; and I didn't let up until I was convinced they had spilled the beans on every last secret they knew about how to do it.

(They were probably glad I picked it up so quickly, because once I learned, I could disappear with a book and entertain myself for hours, lost deep in the world the book led me to discover once inside its pages. A good book was the best babysitter they ever hired.)
How do you approach cover design?
I approach cover design the same way I love all my enemies...from a distance.

But I'm only partly kidding with you there. I learned long ago that although I do enjoy tinkering with some images in photoshop, gimp, illustrator and other softwares from time to time, I really like paying someone else to do this for me instead.

I think if I were to do it myself, I'd obsess over it with perfectionism and never get the thing done.

When I have others do it, unless it is just totally a disaster, and as long as all my main objectives are covered, I usually just roll with whatever they deliver
based on my vision.

I actually have different covers designed for different formats.

The kindle version of my book cover will sometimes be different than the cover used for the paperback.

One of the reasons I do this is to help highlight the fact that those are two different products.

I feel like someone who has the kindle version, but doesn't yet own the paperback you can actually feel in your hands and curl up in your bed with it to read, probably wants to own the paperback or hardcover version of the book so that they have the product in their actual physical possession.

I remember ordering a few copies of the paperback version to be printed on demand from my fulfillment company and really getting a lot of good use and value from having the actual books in my possession.

One of the books, I gave to my dad and wrote him a special message on the inside cover. I think he enjoyed getting it as a gift and because I personalized it with the special handwritten note.

Another copy, I gave to my best friend who actually ended up insisting on paying me for it until he finally broke me down and I accepted the money.

He is a well known pastor in a city near where I live and he went out and showed me in his car where he keeps a copy.

He told me people notice it all the time if they ride with him and they all want to pick it up and start reading it when they look at it. He tells them that's a book that was written by his best friend and it makes for a great conversation piece.

One thing I like to encourage all my readers to do is to pick up an extra copy so you can do what I did with my dad and write a special handwritten note on the inside cover.

The power of a handwritten note combined with a gift is simply mind blowing.

Especially when you combine it with the message and contents of Entrepreneurship Success Secrets.

When you give it as a gift to someone and write an encouraging note on the inside cover, who knows what that will do to encourage the person you give it to?

See, the thing is, there are so many possibilities that can come from that one simple act.

Suppose you gift one of the extra copies you bought to a young person who is interested in going into business for themselves with a handwritten note of encouragement on the inside cover.

Tell them you want them to have this book and act on it because you know they possess special God-given talents that can help change the world for the better with the value they have to offer and that you believe they will be very successful.

I can guarantee you one thing. They will definitely remember it. And not only will they not ever forget that intentional act of kindness, but they will view it as you making an investment into their success, their future and their life.

That's something you want people to associate with you. And they will.

I want you to try this for yourself and see the ripples it creates for you.

Once you do, the people you gift a copy of Entrepreneurship Success Secrets to, will from that point on, associate you with all the great things that are possible in life and look at you with gratitude and as someone special.

It's one great way to separate yourself from all the people they know. And you'll be glad you did.
What do you read for pleasure?
A lot of my reading for pleasure can depend on my mood. I've found myself reading some of the most unlikely of books simply because someone I admire or know recommends I read a particular book.

As a good example of this, you know that pastor guy I was telling you about who is my best friend and carries a copy of Entrepreneurship Success Secrets in his car with him?

Well one day, shortly after getting a few copies I had ordered and gifting one to him, we decided to meet for lunch in my neighborhood.

We were sitting there just eating and talking away when I noticed a former next door neighbor at a nearby table.

I looked at her and smiled. I thought that's when she recognized me and got up and gave me a hug.

She was there eating with her daughter. She told me she had actually noticed me earlier, but didn't want to interrupt because she overheard me talking business with my friend.

The funny thing is, he was actually there asking me for advice on the book he was writing and she overheard it.

She told her daughter to go out to the car and get a copy of her book.

As it turns out, it was a story she had written about a woman who got a job in the trucking industry after her husband had left her.

I read that thing in one sitting before I even had a chance to think about what kind of book it was or to try to categorize it.

That story had so many plot twists and turns. The characters were so deftly developed. It was a real page turner and I could hardly believe she was the one who had written it because she always had just seemed so laid back and plain spoken, I hadn't ever really considered that she was an author and it just caught be by surprise.

I guess you could consider that book she wrote a romance novel but it had so much action in it that it was pretty suspenseful too like a real thriller.

Aside from that recent experience, I also remember being gifted a book that was a detective mystery type book. I've always enjoyed reading those types of books because of the plots.

On an even more personal level, I always enjoy making the time to read from the bible. I don't think I've ever regretted picking up the good book. Not only does it contain practical and timeless wisdom, but just the idea of knowing it was inspired directly by the Holy Spirit of God Himself gives me a sense of peace in my spirit and I feel closer to the creator reading His words.

If you ever get stressed out or just feeling sort of down like we all can from time to time, I very strongly recommend you pick up the bible and read to find some comfort. It's never let me down.

And not to make light of it or suggest it's boring, because it really can be exciting once you learn how to study it, but I remember so many nights not being able to sleep, picking it up and reading a few chapters until it just seemed like I had taken a sleeping pill and was so at peace and restful, I'd sleep in just a few minutes.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
At this time, it's neck and neck between Amazon Kindle and the Nook at Barnes and Noble.

Both of those e-readers are excellent to me because they get the job done. When it comes to reading, I'm not looking for anything more than that.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I was quite surprised to find some sales pouring in after making a post on my facebook fan page.

I hadn't really tracked much activity in awhile and thought I'd experiment and just share where the book was available to purchase after noticing someone had left a great review.

It was only a few minutes later, but already, people were buying it just from that short little post that showed where it was available combined with a strong call to action to buy it.

Also, you can never underestimate how many opportunities you will have to mention your book in just simple conversation when you meet new people.

For instance, I sometimes like to play some chess online and during a series of a few really close games, my opponent struck up a conversation with me.

As it turns out, he was living on the other side of the world and was a film maker.

He had shared with me the link to the film and I got to watch it.

When I had shared with him about the book I had available, he had looked it up by title and had already purchased it!

I definitely believe in the power of the internet to connect with people all over the world.

It can be a great feeling to look at your sales royalties and see one amount in dollars and then another in British pounds.

I had my book translated into several different languages so it is available in several different countries.

It is really very thrilling to me to think about someone on the other side of the world who maybe couldn't understand a single phrase in English, read every word of my book and know all it has to offer in their own language. Isn't it fascinating to think about?
Describe your desk
My favorite desk is a cherry wood laptop desk that I won in a sales contest during an internet marketing product launch. It was one of the prizes for the most sales within the first 24 hours. This was several years ago. I was promoting an information product creation course as an affiliate to the creator and sent out an email recommending the course to my customers. Apparently a couple hundred out of the thousands on my list wanted to buy it and I was one of the ones who won the cherry wood laptop desk as a prize in addition to all the commissions I was paid for referring the sales. I think offering incentives like that to help motivate people who are working with you to produce more is sorely underrated in terms of the results they almost always provide when executed properly. In terms of marketing, I feel it's one of the smartest things you can do to really boost up your sales. If you hold contests where you reward your affiliates for great performances, it really shouldn't even be considered an expense when you think about it, because all the extra sales and revenues it provides more than makes up for the costs of taking care of your affiliates. And when you make sure they are happy and associate you with those good feelings, then it's just like what we were talking about earlier, when I recommended you pick up a few paperback copies of Entrepreneurship Success Secrets and gift them to people. It can prove to give you many more rewards than what you'd anticipate directly and you can be very pleasantly surprised once you've actually done it and the law of reciprocity begins to kick into effect for you.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a small suburb about twenty minutes east of Nashville, the capital city of the state of Tennessee.

Because I had been exposed to a lot of different writers from different parts of the world as well as different eras and writing styles, I can't really think of how where I grew up influenced my writing directly, although I'm sure some of the Nashville flavor probably found its way into my writing without me realizing it.
When did you first start writing?
As crazy as it sounds, I wrote my first book when I was in 2nd grade as part of a class project at school. We had these blank little hard bound books with blank pages inside and were assigned a project to write our story with the text on a page alternating with an illustration on the following page, then text, then illustration and on it continued.

My story was inspired by a story a librarian had read to us earlier in the year.

I called it, "The Boy Who Couldn't Kiss".

There was this boy who for some reason, just couldn't seem to hold his mouth right no matter how hard he tried to kiss.

When his family members would pucker up and plant a nice kiss on the cheek with their lips making a popping sound with the kiss, his would sound embarrassing instead.

In fact, it sounded like he was making a funny noise that resembled what it sounded like when someone broke wind.

Talk about embarrassing!

The problem was, when the others would form a "pucker up" type shape with their lips and sort of suck in to make the kiss pop,
even though he would try to do the same thing they were doing, he would always somehow end up blowing out and instead of sucking in like they did.

Well, as you can imagine, the ridicule and teasing just went to no end.

Longer story short, his entire family ended up getting sick but the boy remained well.

After the family doctor came to visit, the doctor explained that the boy was blowing out so he never inhaled the germs while his family members were sucking in the germs and each got sick instead.

So the idea behind it was that there were trade-offs of good and bad, pros and cons.

On the one hand, you had to endure the teasing, but on the other you didn't get sick when everyone else around you did.

They all apologized to him at the end and then started kissing like him from that day forward every time they kissed.

I remember my mother just being completely impressed that her son who was only seven years old wrote that.

She would read it to her 4th graders every year for the next couple of decades and told me she always had a sense of pride every time she told them it was her son who was the author of the book.

Needless to say, I didn't ever get around to telling her how I was inspired by the story I had heard the librarian read to us and just let her keep on thinking how much of a genius her son was. Oh the lengths a boy will go to make sure his parents are proud of him!
What's the story behind your latest book?
The story behind Entrepreneurship Success Secrets is the story of how a person from any walk of life, any background and most any set of circumstances can reach financial independence by going into business for themselves.

I share my own experiences doing that just that along with the many pitfalls I experienced along the way.

It is the story of all kinds of problems you might not expect at the worst possible times and places and then exactly what it takes to confront those problems head on, solve them and proceed to succeed.

You'll find ways to double your income instantly, uncover unexpected resources, how to set yourself up for success from the beginning and what I feel is most important of all, the exact mindset you need as a new entrepreneur and how to not only develop it, but to use it successfully in your own personal situation.

You will do well to trust me when I say that there is no description or review that could possibly do justice to the experience you'll have for yourself when you buy a copy and read all the secrets to success.

Many parts of the book can overlap from personal development, success, personal finance, entrepreneurship, planning, marketing, business management, stories from my own personal experience as well stories from the experiences of clients with the lessons learned and how to apply the new knowledge you've gained from learning the lesson and other topics you'll need to know in order to make sure you get exactly where you want to go from wherever you are now.

I also include exercises for you to complete that will help you along your journey. So many people read and learn from books and take courses, but without exercises to help guide you personally, it can sometimes be hard to internalize what you've picked up and make it work for you in your own life, so that was important for me to make sure my readers had and why I included that as part of it.

There is also a secret and very valuable opportunity inside that is only available to customers who bought the book included at the end so that I know you read it.

This goes along with what we talked about when I said I recommend you provide an incentive for people who you would like to see perform well and is an excellent demonstration of me practicing what I preach in action.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Control.

To say it another way, leverage.

To say it another way, freedom.

To say it yet another way, independence.

These are all values that are very important to me and also to what I believe can make the difference between someone who succeeds, learns from mistakes and then gets on the fast track to success or someone who allows failure become a cycle they just can't seem to escape.

So many times people will give up their power by placing responsibility for the results they need to achieve in the hands of another when they don't have to give up that power at all.

Now there isn't anything wrong with traditional publishing at all and for some, it's the only way they will believe they can be successful.

But what all the people who say they don't want to have to work extra hard to publish independently fail to realize is they actually have to work much harder to publish with someone else and they typically only get a fraction of what they could earn if they were their own publisher.

These are people are working their tails off hoping to impress a publisher, only to get one rejection letter after another from publishers because the publishing company wants to see the new author has a built-in customer base before risking their own money on a new, unproven author.

The thing is, before I published Entrepreneurship Success Secrets as a paperback, hardcover and ebook at all the popular retailers like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, etc.,

I had written a sales letter and sold it successfully from my own direct sales website.

The most interesting part is, I actually sold it for as much as $97 and then sometimes on sale at $47 and then $37.

I had several partners who signed up to become my affiliates and I offered them 50% commissions for each sale they referred.

I got the money instantly into paypal account and enjoyed it.

I ended up with testimonials from top marketers and satisfied customers. It was nice.

The one reason I decided to go more "mainstream" by publishing it and making it available at more of the traditional outlets was because of the newer and wider audience it opened up for me as well as the greater perceived credibility being published and available through major book retailers provides as an author.

I think there are benefits for all of the approaches and each have their merits and time and place within your strategy.
Published 2014-02-01.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Entrepreneurship Success Secrets
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 32,610. Language: English. Published: November 28, 2012. Categories: Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Marketing, Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Small business and entrepreneurship
Known throughout the world for equipping people of all walks of life and companies of all sizes for entrepreneurship and business success, Doug Barger reveals his success secrets so you can discover the entrepreneur within you and start to profit today.