This year marks the 10th anniversary of my consulting practice, Wildfire Marketing. But, I realize that many of you may not know the story of how it all began. Today, I’m known as one of the most accomplished book marketing experts in America. Yet, it didn’t start out that way…
When I entered the publishing world in 2001, I had recently quit a high-paying corporate sales job because I felt a burning desire to self-publish a book. When I announced my new plans, my parents thought I was crazy. My friends thought I was crazy. Worse, my in-laws thought I’d lost his mind after marrying their daughter just nine months earlier. My “new career” began in the spare bedroom of my house with no experience, no author platform, no nada. That was before social media ever existed or Amazon dominated the retail landscape.
Under such meager beginnings, I forced myself to connect with local leaders where I lived, spoke anywhere I could get a gig, and built interest for my book in other cities. Like many of you reading this story, I had little money for marketing. I had to do everything on the cheap. However, within 18 months, I was making six-figures through speaking fees and product sales. To the relief of my in-laws, my wife was able to quit her job and join our growing business.
That newfound success was just the start. Soon after, we sold over 13,000 copies of my self-published book and publishers pursued me with contract offers. I eventually signed with a traditional house and sales grew even more. I went on to speak at over 170 events, present my message to more than 35,000 people, and consistently make a six-figure income. My book remained on the shelves in Barnes & Nobles for 10 years, which is extremely rare today for a first-time author.
However, speaking and traveling full-time meant living out of a suitcase and missing the comforts of home, family, and friends. I wanted to get off the road. Meanwhile, other authors noticed my success and began asking me for marketing advice. Within one six-week period, six struggling authors called me seeking help. That’s when the idea to create Wildfire Marketing was born.
In 2007, I decided to start a consulting practice and teach authors everything that I had learned. As I shared my marketing techniques with other writers, the results were exciting. Authors who felt stuck started to sell more books, reach larger audiences, and make more money. Some of my clients started hitting bestseller lists, and one author made an extra $500,000 from a single book launch!
Fast forward 10 years, I’ve now trained over 450 authors, consulted with numerous publishing houses, and helped clients hit the New York Times bestseller list three different ways, including new fiction, new non-fiction, and backlist non-fiction. I even helped a book become a New York Times bestseller after 23 years in print! I also partnered with Writer’s Digest to publish my second book, Sell Your Book Like Wildfire, which is widely considered the bible of book marketing.
Even better, my wife, “Ashley the Wonderful,” has become my secret weapon. She’s a voracious reader with the unique ability to improve an author’s manuscript and transform a fearful speaker into a poised presenter. Together, we get paid to do what we love, which is working with books and helping other authors achieve their dreams.
However, this incredible story is only possible because of great clients and newsletter subscribers like you. As Ashley and I celebrate the 10th anniversary of Wildfire Marketing, we want to thank you for the support, the referrals you send to us, and the ability to partner with amazing authors, agents, and publishers who want to change the world. Cheers to another 10 great years together!
Okay, I know this was a longer than normal blog article. Thank you for coming along on the journey with me. But, I didn’t share the past just to talk about me. I have a favor to ask – please tell me if you can relate to my story. Leave a comment below and tell me what you think.
Where are you in the midst of building your author business? Have you felt similar excitement or fear putting your books out there for the world to critique? Have you dealt with naysayers who said you were crazy? Do you feel stuck or skilled in your own marketing?
Give me your reaction. Or, you can even tell me to shut up and get back to talking about book marketing tips! 🙂
Jill Baughan says
Congrats, Rob and Ashley! You rock!
Thanks, Jill. Great to hear from you!
Julie Arduini says
Congratulations! Sell Your Book Like Wildfire gave me the courage to move in the direction I knew I was supposed to. I loved the personal touch you shared this week, I didn’t know your wife was involved in the business as well. Many years of success to both of you.
Keep moving forward in your new direction! Yes, I’m lucky to have “Ashley the Wonderful.”
Elizabeth H. Van Liere says
I appreciate how you share all your good insights. And I love how you and your wife work together and your nick-name for her, Ashley the Wonderful. I recall the first time I became aware of you. It was at your class, the one I took at Estes Park several years ago, your wife became ill. I believe she was hospitalized at the time. This has nothing to do with how I enjoy your weekly letters, long or short.
Thanks, Elizabeth. We remember meeting you in CO. Fortunately, “Ashley the Wonderful” turned out to be fine. But, driving to the hospital on those curvy mountain roads wasn’t much fun 🙂
Sally Bair says
I love your newsletters and look forward to them each week. Congrats on your 10th anniversary.