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Marketing Advice From a Victoria's Secret Model

11/11/2010 04:24 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

I found the following story in a recent issue of Elle magazine.

Notice how you can find marketing stories in all sorts of magazines, even fashion magazines. Also notice that a 61-year-old man reads Elle. Quite honestly, I find an interesting marketing story in many issues of Elle.

Now here's the story:

Carol Perkins, a former Victoria's Secret model, founded Harry Barker to make and sell eco-friendly products for dogs and cats. Since starting up the company in her apartment 13 years ago, she now sells to 3,000 wholesalers. Here's some of her advice for starting up a business:

1. You can start for $600 or less.

2. Trademark your logo and name (costs about $300 at http://www.uspto.gov). For authors and publishers, this means writing and publishing brand-able books; that means books with a memorable title.

3. Get a domain and build a website (getting a domain is $10.69 at http://www.GoDaddy.com). Building a basic site is free at Google Sites (http://sites.google.com).

For authors, get your name as a website. I did that with http://www.johnkremer.com, http://www.johnkremerauthor.com (that link goes to my biography featured in my book, 1001 Ways to Market Your Books), and http://www.johnkremerspeaker.com (that link goes to my speaking page at http://www.Bookmarket.com).

4. Give away samples. One of the first dog beds Carol made was for a friend's pug (given as a gift). An editor visited her friend in her apartment, saw the bed, and praised it in InStyle magazine. As Carol notes, "Word of mouth can make you a mogul." So give away your book. Try it out, especially as an ebook or inexpensive Kindle edition.

5. Cold-call stores in your city and ask for an appointment. Carol was turned down by most people she called, but she called them back again every week. She did not give up. For months, she made no sales. But one day she got her foot in the door of Canine Styles - and that alone put her on the map and inspired her to call on more stores.

Question: Do all your local bookstores know your name and the title of your book? Do they stock your book? Have you offered them a special display for your books?

6. Be a press whore. Target popular bloggers, editors, features writers, etc. Work your social network (both online and offline).

That's incredibly good advice, point after point. What have you done today to sell your book or other product?

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