I remember sitting in the sales meeting where Baker Publishing first mentioned the Laugh Out Loud joke books by Rob Elliot. Sandwiched between presentations of Amish romance novels and deep theological text books, was this joke book. It was unlike anything else in the catalog.
There were confused looks around the room.
And then the company president stood up.
“You may be asking yourself why we are publishing a joke book for children,” he said. “Well, not too long ago, one of our sales people approached me and told me that if we published a clean joke book for kids, we’d make money on it. So, we’re going to give it a try.”
The sales person in question was Rob Teigen, and it was him who collected the jokes, pitched the idea and got it published under a pen name. Why? Because he saw a need in the marketplace. Sure, there have been other joke books published. But what Rob noticed was that joke books sell and there was room for another one.
And guess what. It paid off. A lot.
Here’s an excerpt from an article published in the New York Post:
It sounds like the usual setup for a knock-knock joke: Who is the best-selling author on all of Amazon.com this holiday season?
Rob Elliott. Rob Elliott who?
Yet it’s no laughing matter for Rob Teigen, a father of five in Grand Rapids, Mich., who, under the pen name Rob Elliott, currently owns the No. 1 and No. 2 spots on Amazon.com’s best-selling book list, outpacing such hits as “Unbroken” and the latest from Bill O’Reilly.
Did you pick up on that? He currently owns the No. 1 and No. 2 spots and Amazon’s best-selling books, ahead of Unbroken and national celebrities.
How did a salesman become the author of the top two books on Amazon? He saw a need and he filled it admirably.
Whether you consider yourself an author or not, maybe you know of a need to fill. What are you doing to fill that need? Do it well and you might just wind up on a bestseller list too.