Tuesday, January 5, 2010

It Takes a Lot of Peanuts to Feed an Elephant

My dad (91) has a great saying - one he has used since The Great Depression (1929): "It takes a lot of peanuts to feed an elephant." What he means: Don't think that making pennies is not important. Those pennies can turn into big bucks if you have enough of them.

I have actually followed my dad's advice since I was a kid. In today's economy, that's especially important – because there are many ways to make pennies. Here are my top three recommendations:

Make your own e-book and promote it to your family and friends - and to all those who might be interested in the topic. All you need to do is to make a PDF of your e-book, post a description on your site or blog, set a reasonable price, set up a paypal account, tweet and blog and post on facebook about it - and you are on your way to feeding the elephant. I did that today, with my son's help, for my Life Lessons book, and we already sold our first copy – for a few "peanuts."

One of my friend, William Neill, has sold more than a few copies of his e-book, Impression of Light, at OutdoorPhotoGear.com - and my friend at the Digital Photo Experience, Juan Pons, is working on a collection of his best tips and techniques for his first e-book. Now it's your turn! What ya waiting for?

If your e-book does well, or if you just want to have a few copies to sell, you can make a hard copy at an on-line lab. I have found that Nations Photo Lab does an excellent job. What's more, a real book publisher might see your book and want to publish it. You never know. Remember: Your pictures do you no good buried on your hard drive.

Associates and Affiliates Programs
Many companies (just about all of them) have affiliates programs that give you a very small percentage (peanuts) of a sale for the recommendation. Amazon.com is just one. All you have to do is go to the company's web site to find out if they offer an affiliates program. Post links on your web site and blog. More peanuts for the elephant.

Develop an iPhone App
Hey, there are plenty of iPhone app developers out there. If you have an idea for an app, find a developer! (I met mine in a helicopter in Maui!) If you make a few "peanuts" on several thousand copies of your app, you'll be doing okay. Hey, you gotta dream and shoot for the stars - which is what I do every day. After all, there are kids out there doing this!! If they can do it, you can do it.

Feed the Elephant,

P.S. Hey, you may not earn enough peanuts to buy a Lamborghini, but you may make enough for a few tanks of gas for a Hybrid - and those tanks of gas could actually take you all the way across the country. Hybrids are that fuel efficient! I know. I have a Honda Hybrid.


Carolyn Fox said...

Hey Rick, I enjoyed the blog post, especially the part about the book publishing. I have sold a few of the books I made at Blurb, so that's a start. I still intend to make a couple more, though, & will consider e-books & sending the Blurb book to publishers as you suggested in Texas. I've been pleased with the prints I've ordered from Nations Photo Lab, so I'll check out their books too.

BTW, I'm getting some hits on my website from your blog. Thanks.

Take care.

Alan said...


When I looked into ebooks after reading your post, the information I found referred to a text book and not a photo book. I would appreciate it if you would expand on your post a bit or perhaps give me a place (url) to start. My email is hausenflock@msn.com


Rick Sammon said...

Hi Alan,

My full-color picture book is a PDF - and making a PDF is relatively easy.
Do a google search on creating a PDF and you'll find tons of lessons.

Good luck!


Alan said...


Thanks for answering my question. I just have one more.
What's to prevent a person from sharing the ebook they've purchased from you with all of their friends? Or, is that the purpose of the ebook? Is this about making money or marketing?

Rick Sammon said...

Hi Again Alan

Actually, there is nothing to prevent the sharing of a © e-book... except that if the author finds out, the person or persons who steals the work can be sued big time. And I mean big time!

Of course, anyone can make a xerox copy of any page in one of my books or any book, and anyone can take a screen shot one of my photos or anyone's photos and share/steal it. But again, stealing is not nice. A court of law will tell you that. :-)

What's more, I have a special pixel in each of my photos.....

Hope this helps.

Thank you,

Rhonda Holcomb said...

Great article and encouraging advise! I'm going to check into the E Book publishing.