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Richard first 'released' his book "A Christmas Box" in December of 1992 but in February of the following year people he was still receiving orders for this book. So he decided it was time to publish the book but one-by-one publishers rejected it. Frustrated, Richard decided to self-publish his book and initially printed 7,000 copies.
Now most books do not even sell 5,000 copies so this was a bold move. He finally found a local agent willing to represent his book who enthusiastically told him:
"We think you're going to be really well. We think you might sell as many as 3,000 copies."
You didn't need to be a maths genius to work out what that would imply. Richard felt a sinking feeling inside. What was he going to do with 4,000 books?
The agent had based his estimation on the sales that his best-selling local author was achieving but a few weeks later he called Richard to say,
"Rick, you're going to need more books."
But the agent was reluctant to say. "A Christmas Box" was performing beyond expectations but for how long it would continue to do so was difficult to tell.
Richard's intuition told him to print 20,000 more copies but he was nervous. Instead, he printed another 10,000 copies and dispatched them to the bookstore. That was on 3rd September. On the 6th September he received another call requesting more books.
"I sent another 10,000 copies. Didn't you receive them?"
They had but they were now shipping this book at a rate of 3,000 copies per day. It was unprecedented.
Richard decided that it was time to build on his local success and take his book national.
He was ill-prepared for the reception he experienced. He said he felt as though he were being mugged everyday. But he believed in his book and knew from the numerous testimonials he was receiving that this book was indeed life-changing.
So he persisted and embarked upon a relentless marketing campaign. He talked to anyone that would listen about his book and he did countless radio interviews. And, by Christmas of the next year he had a breakthrough. People's Magazine contacted him to do a feature story. Then he was contacted by the Today's Show and suddenly "A Christmas Box" took on a whole new lease of life.
Major publishers started queuing up to buy the rights to publish this book. The first was Warner Books. Their representative didn't beat around the bush. He told Richard Evans that he was authorised to offer him $2 million dollars for his book. Two million dollars - it was a lot of money. Richard turned down the offer.
Next was Disney who embellished their publishing offer with the offer of an exclusive vacation for himself and his family at Disney World.
"Will Mickey Mouse present the cheque?" asked Richard.
"If you like," was the glib reply. Richard turned down Disney's offer.
This is the end of Part 2. The final part of this series coming soon.