Welcome back to our small business series with Carolina Blogging. This is the place where we share information with you about small businesses in and around the Carolina’s. Consider using one of these businesses the next time you want to shop local to help boost our local economy! When you shop small business you are supporting families and aspiring individuals.
Today we are interviewing Jim Gulledge, an author out of Misenheimer, North Carolina.
How did your business get started?
Like most people who write a book, I had no idea that I was starting a small business. I just wanted to tell a story. However, unless a book is published and promoted by a major publishing house, the author slowly begins to understand that there are many more responsibilities in addition to writing: editing, cover selection, website design, photography and most demanding… endless promotion. One day, the thought slowly congeals in the brain. “Wow, this isn’t a hobby. It’s a job. This isn’t a project, it’s a business. “
What does your customer base look like? Do you serve a specific age group or customer type?
For a part-time writer like myself, my customer base initially looked a lot like me. That’s because I started begging my family to buy my book. When I ran out of family, I started on my friend list. Eventually, any writer fairly quickly runs out of family and friends. That is where the begging starts. I constantly contact book reviewers, bloggers, webmasters, magazine and newspaper editors, anyone and everyone who might possibly say “yes” , give a little press and grow my customer base. It is rather a humbling enterprise, but I have found that I am more competitive than I ever dreamed. Half of all books published sell fewer than 100 copies. I refuse to be in the bottom half. In the beginning I thought my customer base would be almost exclusively Southern because my book is very Southern; however, I recently got a nice review in India and have one pending in Ottawa. The book business is a global one these days, so my customers are far more diverse than I ever dreamed they would be.
Does your business have a busy season or time of year that attracts more customers? When would be the perfect time for a customer to check out your business?
For books sales, I would say summer when people are putting together their “beach reads” list and the Christmas season are two of the times of the year that attract more customers. However, with the advent of book apps and the power of Amazon, book shopping, recommendations, selection and purchasing are just a click away.
What makes your business special to the community?
My book , A Poor Man’s Supper, is a love story based on my ancestors who immigrated in the 1740’s from Scotland to Pennsylvania and then down the Great Wagon Road to western North Carolina. I tried to imagine one of their old ballads coming to life in a small community in the Asheville area. It is my hope that the story captures the essence of the folk history of so many families in North Carolina who came from the British Isles. Although the book is a love story , it also contains elements of adventure, faith, myth, nature and song. A Poor Man’s Supper was recently selected for inclusion in the North Carolina Collection at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and the W.L. Eury Appalachian Collection at Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina.
In the North Carolina mountains two people, destined to love each other, are doomed to be apart. Vancie Keller is trying to survive on her mother’s failing farm when her life is forever altered by the arrival of two men, Josiah Buckland and Jagger Hill. One, she will love, the other she will marry. She has a secret neither of them know.
Orphaned as a teen, Josiah Buckland came down from the rugged mountains of North Carolina to try to find work and possibly a home. He didn’t expect to find the love of his life. Jagger Hill has secrets of his own. When he comes to town and starts to rebuild, nobody knows him for who he really is, but people will soon learn. Some things cannot be kept hidden forever…
A powerful, heart-breaking tale of the tremendous consequences of our choices and actions, sprinkled with revelry in the natural world, faith, song and myth.
In his spare time Jim explores the nearby Uwharrie Mountains with his dog, Shasta; serves as a guardian ad litem for abused and neglected children in his community; and continues in his futile attempts to master the ukulele.
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