Tuesday, August 2, 2011

TJ Lind Talks About eBooks, Marketing and The Red Scorpion

On Sunday I mentioned my collaboration with TJ Lind in the formation of a publishing company to get make my book available through Kindle and Nook. TJ Lind is a high school student in northern Minnesota with an passion for marketing. He joined DECA, an organization of marketing students, in 2010 and was propelled into DECA’s competitive program his first year. In this year he and his team took first place at the state conference and advanced to become an international finalist, competing against the world’s best marketing students.

Ennyman: How many eBook reading devices are there and why have they become so popular?
TJ: Well there's a plethora of eBook readers on the market. All of the big tech names have began selling their own eBook readers, but by far the most popular eBook readers are the Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, and the iPad. The iPad is an interesting one, because it does so much more than an eBook reader, yet it still fits the "description" of an eBook reader.

There is no doubt eBooks are taking over. Amazon has reported that it is now selling more Kindle books than paperback and hardcover combined! The Kindle store alone has close to one million titles available for sale, and more than 175,000 have been added in the past five months!

The big selling point for eBook readers is the portability. On a device weighing less than one pound, you can hold literally thousands of books. A user can now hold an entire library in their hands. Kindle takes this portability one step further with its "Buy Once, Read Everywhere." If a user downloads a book to their Kindle and reads the first few chapters, they can leave the Kindle device at home and read some on their iPhone or Android phone during their commute, read some more on their iPad while at lunch, and during downtime at work they can read their book directly from their computer!

The ability to hold an entire library in your bag is enticing to many and is one of the reasons eBooks are moving toward overtaking tangible books.

Ennyman: What prompted you to take an interest in marketing?
TJ: DECA has really opened my eyes to the entire marketing/business world. For those of you who don't know, DECA is an organization of marketing students which takes what we learn in the classroom and applies it to the real world via competitive events, service projects, conferences, and more. DECA is the largest student organization in the world with over 200,000 members from over 5,000 schools from all 50 states, Asia, Europe, and South America.

Last year was my first year in the organization and I definitely hit the ground running. Seven of us became involved in a chapter project, which are projects designed to make an effect on your community or a local business. We created a marketing plan for a new business, Wilderness Snow Journeys, and presented it in a formal business presentation to judges at the Minnesota state conference where we took first place. A month later we competed at the international conference in Orlando Florida which had over 16,000 participants!

The person I owe all this success to is my marketing teacher/DECA advisor, Jay Belcastro. He approached me my freshman year to get me to join DECA but I politely declined. What a mistake! I was glad that last year, my sophomore year, we did what we did.

After learning hands-on the importance of marketing, I knew it was that I wanted to do. Without marketing, a business or product just can't survive. Even if it is groundbreaking or phenomenal. And successfully marketing a business, and seeing it steal market share from your competitors is fun since I am a very competitive person! That is why I was excited when Ed Newman approached me with the idea of this project. Being as competitive as I am, I cannot wait for The Red Scorpion to launch, and for it to work its way up the ranks on the Amazon charts!

Ennyman: What is your favorite part of this project?
TJ: I just can't pick a favorite part of this project! I love it all! It’s fun to read an already amazing book, then offer suggestions during editing to make it even better! It is a blast for me to be able to work with a marketing pro. It is rewarding to see the results from a successful marketing campaign. It is challenging to plan and execute a stellar marketing campaign, but I love challenges. This entire project is awesome to me and I can't wait for the launch of The Red Scorpion.

Ennyman: Would you like to say something about your 2011-2012 DECA project?
TJ: Well our project is still in its infancy and we are keeping things on the down-low to keep it a surprise, but I can tell you this. This year's DECA project will be the biggest project to ever come out of Proctor DECA, possibly the largest project to come out of the entire DECA program! We plan to raise huge amounts of money to bring clean water to those who do not have access to life's most basic need. If only $20 can give one person clean water for 20 years, imagine what we could do with $50,000, $100,000, or even one million dollars!

If you are interested in becoming involved in this project of a lifetime, search for us on Facebook- drops of HOPE. Or on twitter: @dropsof_HOPE11.

You can follow our progress on Facebook. If you "Like" us there, we'll do our best to keep you in the loop.

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