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THE ONLINE INVENTOR -- July Issue

(c) 2004 Market Launchers, Inc.

http://www.marketlaunchers.com

Editor:    Paul Niemann

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EDITOR'S NOTES:    I've taken a few months off from writing this newsletter, but now we're back on a monthly schedule. In addition to running MarketLaunchers.com, I also write a syndicated newspaper column, teach a few classes here at Quincy University, and have just published my first book about inventions -- called INVENTION MYSTERIES -- The Little-Known Stories About Well-Known Inventions. One of the articles in this issue focuses on the similarities between marketing an invention and marketing a book. It contains information that relates well to what you're doing in your marketing efforts.

Best Regards,

Paul Niemann
President of MarketLaunchers.com
800-337-5758
http://www.marketlaunchers.com/customer-testimonials.html

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FAMOUS / INFAMOUS Quotes ...

"Inventions have long since reached their limit, and I see no hope for further development," Roman Engineer Julius Frontinus Sextus in 10 A.D.

"Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible," Lord Kelvin, president of England's Royal Society, in 1895

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Article # 1:    "Marketing a book is similar to marketing an invention," by author Paul Niemann of MarketLaunchers.com 

Article # 2:    "Get an inventor mentor," by Paul Niemann of MarketLaunchers.com

Article # 3:    "Watch Your Phraseology!" by Dennis Dohogne, P.E.," (reprinted from Inventors' Digest)

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Article #1:    "Marketing a book is similar to marketing an invention," by author Paul Niemann of MarketLaunchers.com

I'm currently marketing my first book about inventions - called INVENTION MYSTERIES - and this article spells out some of the similarities between marketing an invention and marketing a book.

At the end of this story, you'll see which method I chose - going into production myself OR "licensing" the book to a bigger company -- and why I chose that method. The article has some comparisons that can be helpful in your decision on going into production yourself OR licensing your invention to a bigger company.

SIMILARITIES BETWEEN MARKETING AN INVENTION & MARKETING A BOOK

*    The marketing of a new book is more important than what's in the book. An AVERAGE book that's well marketed will outsell a GREAT book that's marketed poorly.
An AVERAGE invention that's well marketed will outsell a GREAT invention that's marketed poorly. The same goes for licensing.

*    94% of the books sold are written by the top 6% of writers approximately 90% of the profits in the publishing industry come from the Top 10% of authors.

Only 3% of all patents are profitable for the inventor.

*    There are "INVENTION marketing companies" for inventors There are "BOOK marketing companies" for writers (these are known as vanity publishing companies).

*    There are 2 ways to get your BOOK onto the market: Either "self-publish," in which you pay for the editing, type-setting, printing and other costs, or get a publisher who will do all that for you in exchange for a royalty.
There are 2 ways to get your INVENTION onto the market: Either manufacture and sell it yourself, or license it to an existing company in exchange for a royalty.

In the end, it was a pretty easy decision for me. I decided to publish my book myself. There are 3 reasons why:

1.    I knew I could publish it myself, but I didn't want to risk losing time spent trying to sell my book to a big publishing company when there was no guarantee I would find a buyer.

2.    I did enough research of the book industry to learn that it is the AUTHOR, not the PUBLISHER, who must to do the promotion of the book in order to create sales. Why settle for a small royalty when you have to do most of the work yourself? This makes sense in the book industry, but not for most inventions because the company that licenses your invention will probably want to market it the way that works best for them.

3.    The third reason applies to inventors as well as authors. I'm already working on my second book by the same title: INVENTION MYSTERIES - Volume 2, which will be released next year. The follow year will bring us INVENTION MYSTERIES - Volume 3. Since I'm laying the groundwork for future books (such as setting up the distribution channel, making many useful media contacts, etc.) this year, I'll be in good shape for future volumes.

I recently received my first big "intent to order" from Barnes & Noble. It was for 500 copies. If you'd like to order a copy for yourself (signed copies are available at my web site, but not the bookstores), you can do so at www.InventionMysteries.com 

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Paul Niemann is the author of INVENTION MYSTERIES -- The Little-Known Stories Behind Well-Known Inventions. The book contains 47 interesting true stories about inventors and inventions, and comes with a 90-day money-back guarantee. To order a copy, please visit www.InventionMysteries.com

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Article # 2:    "Get an inventor mentor," by Paul Niemann of MarketLaunchers.com

While working on the INVENTION MYSTERIES book, both during the writing of the book and, most importantly, the marketing of it, I noticed how much easier it would be if I could talk to someone who has "been there; done that" before me. Since I didn't know anyone in my town who I could talk to for advice, the next best thing was to get a couple books on the subject of self-publishing.

These books provided very much valuable information which enabled me to avoid making more mistakes which are common for first-time authors.

While running MarketLaunchers.com for the past 6 years and counting, I've received numerous calls from inventors asking for advice. I could write an entire book on what to do and what not to do, but I won't because much of that advice is in this newsletter each month. One of the best pieces of advice I can give you is the get an "inventor mentor" because it's much better to learn from someone who has "been there; done that" so that you won't have to make the same mistakes that someone else made before you.

Learning from your own mistakes is painful and expensive; learning from someone else's mistakes doesn't hurt (or cost) nearly as much. Have you ever noticed that someone who has just achieved some success likes to tell others how he did it?

Inventors love to tell how they did it - find someone who has been successful with his inventions and ask him how he did it. Inventors tend to help other inventors, so ask if he is willing to advise you. Let him get involved in your success!

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Paul Niemann runs MarketLaunchers.com, which specializes in building web pages for inventors and lists those invention web pages on its Invention Database. Companies search the MarketLaunchers.com Invention Database for new products to acquire or license in. Call (800) 337-5758 to order your own web page today.

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Article # 3:    "Watch Your Phraseology!" by Dennis Dohogne, P.E.," (reprinted from Inventors' Digest)

The title is a line from one of my favorite movies, "The Music Man."  It is also an apt, albeit blunt, warning of the importance of words on the creative spirit.  The words you choose can mean life or death for ideas.  How you respond to a new idea, whether yours or someone else's, dramatically influences the path that idea follows.  Have you ever noticed how an idea is perceived to be good or bad depending on who brings it up?   Chances are that you are an independent inventor, by virtue of your reading Inventors' Digest.  Giving ideas a good chance to live is crucial to your "building the better mousetrap."

Whether you are an independent inventor, "corporate" inventor, or are just a social being and interact with others, we have all seen or been in situations where someone presented an idea that was summarily shot down by another member of the group, usually a dominant personality or the boss.  Our competitive nature tends to suppress others in order to foster our own position.  But was the idea really a bad one?  Death comes quickly and mercilessly, but it is still final; good or bad, the idea is dead.

A few years ago, while preparing to present a short class on innovation and creativity, I found some wonderful resources in the library (of all places).  It was fun and stimulating to pour through these books.  They were very influential in my preparations, not so much in telling what to do, but more in the way of freeing our minds to explore their suggested directions.  One of the most influential of these books was What a Great Idea!, by Charles "Chic" Thompson.   What a Great Idea! reveals how killer phrases are rampant and that it takes a conscious effort to avoid them. 

A crucial aspect of innovation is the life and death responses given to budding ideas.  How often have we heard these:  "We tried that before. . .,"  "It'll never fly. . .," "We've always done it this way. . .," or "Yes, but . . ."  These are killer phrases.  Most ideas wither and die in the face of these responses.  Imagine what would happen if the responses had instead been:  "It's time to consider that again. . .,"  "That one might actually get off the ground. . .,"  "Perhaps we haven't been doing it the best way. . .," or "Yes, and. . ."  These are life-giving phrases.

Ideas that meet with these life-giving responses not only live, they flourish.  They tend to evolve into something with strong possibilities.  This is not just because the ideas lived through their initial fight for life.  An environment of life-giving responses is one where both the initiator of the idea and the receptive group grow the idea.  The idea is effectively developed by the group participants, with everyone contributing in some way to its evolution, even if their only contribution was to not kill it.  In such an environment the group tends to build ownership and therefore support for the idea.  Have you noticed that an initiative is better supported and implemented when the group supports it, rather than if they are told to do it despite their misgivings?

How can you find such an environment?  You don't have to quit your job and apply at Infinite Bliss, Inc.  Start with yourself.  The next time you or someone else presents an idea you can reply with a life-giving phrase before anyone has a chance to whip out a killer phrase.  Call it a pre-emptive strike.  You don't have to gush and rave, just don't kill it.  Now there are two of you trying to give this budding idea life and others will be more hesitant to crush it.  You will be amazed at how this simple act can influence everyone else.  I worked for a good friend that said every idea is a good idea - for at least two weeks.  This simple motto basically placed a moratorium on killer phrases for at least two weeks, during which the idea might "germinate" with the group and actually grow with their enrichment, or it might die softly and painlessly.  It was certainly one of the more receptive environments I've ever been in.

This works with your own ideas as well.  We are our first audience and therefore the first judge of our ideas, even before they make it all the way out of our brains.  Do yourself this favor; before dismissing an idea that pops into your head, try to extract whatever glint of good there was that allowed the idea to surface in the first place.  There had to be something of value, no matter how small.  Try to capture that tidbit and see if it can be used to build or influence the overall pool of ideas.  If an idea doesn't have merit it will die eventually anyway, but we need to give ideas every chance to live and blossom.

As a class exercise everyone contributed to the list of Life-Giving phrases as an alternative to the Killer Phrases.  Many of the students posted this in their work areas with no explanation attached.  They were delighted with the response and the influence this simple list had on others.  Here is a list of Killer Phrases from What a Great Idea! and some Life-Giving counterparts we generated.  Perhaps you can contribute to this list as well.

Killer Phrases:                                                      Life-Giving Phrases:

1.  "Yes, but . . ."                                                     1.  "Yes, and . . ."
2.  "We tried that before."                                        2.  "It is time to try that again."
3.  "That's irrelevant."                                               3.  "That's pertinent."
4.  "We haven't got the manpower."                          4.  "We'll make the effort."
5.  "Obviously, you misread my request."                  5.  "How can we phrase this differently?"
6.  "Don't rock the boat!"                                         6.  "It's time to shake things up."
7.  "The competition will eat you alive."                     7.  "Let's eat our competition with this one!"
8.  "Don't waste time thinking."                                 8.  "Invest in thinking."
9.  "Great idea, but not for us."                                 9.  "Great idea!"
10.  "It'll never fly."                                                 10.  "That'll fly."
11.  "Don't be ridiculous."                                       11.  "That's not ridiculous, that's brilliant!"
12.  "People don't want change."                            12.  "People want change."
13.  "It's not in the budget."                                    13.  "That merits its own budget."
14.  "Put it in writing."                                            14.  "This is too good to lose.  Let's write it down."
15.  "It will be more trouble than it's worth."           15.  "It could be well worth the trouble."
16.  "It isn't your responsibility."                             16.  "That's taking the initiative!"
17.  "That's not in your job description."                 17.  "You're contributing beyond our expectations."
18.  "You can't teach an old dog new tricks."          18.  "Maybe old dogs can learn new tricks."
19.  "Let's stick with what works."                          19.  "Let's progress beyond the status quo."
20.  "We've done all right so far."                            20.  "This could improve our situation."
21.  "The boss will never go for it."                          21.  "The boss will love it."
22.  "Its too far ahead of the times."                         22.  "We'll bring our customers the future!"
23.  . . . laughter . . .                                                23.  . . . smiles . . .
24.  . . . suppressed laughter . . .                              24.  . . . astonished look . . .
25.  . . . condescending grin . . .                               25.  . . . supportive body language . . .
26.  . . . dirty looks . . .                                            26.  . . . nod of approval . . .
27.  "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."                              27.  "If it ain't broke, BREAK it!"
28.  . . . silence . . .                                                  28.  . . . applause . . .

* This list of Killer Phrases is from "What a Great Idea!" by Charles "Chic" Thompson and is used with permission.  Please visit www.whatagreatidea.com to learn more about the author.

As we discussed these killer and life-giving phrases over the duration of the classes we noticed the positive affect it was having in our workplace.  Perhaps the most notable observation was that now ideas were being given their due consideration based on their merits, not on who initiated them.  I coined the following quote to sum up these remarks:  "The Merits of an Idea are Independent of Their Source."

You don't have to have a direct counter to a killer phrase, just learn to use life-giving phrases.  Most importantly, be aware of the impact of killer and life-giving phrases.  As far as the life and death of ideas go, "Watch your phraseology!"

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Dennis Dohogne is a Registered Professional Engineer and a Senior Project Engineer with Sioux Tools, Inc., Murphy, NC.  He has six U.S. patents with several more pending. He can be reached at: [email protected]

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If you wish to distribute this issue of "THE ONLINE INVENTOR" to your local inventor group, as well as your fellow inventors, please send the *entire* issue by clicking Forward. If you change your e-mail address, please subscribe with the new address in order to continue receiving it each month. To unsubscribe, (now why would you want to do that?) please reply with the word "unsubscribe" in the subject line. Thanks. Until next month, Successful Inventing To You!

Best Regards,

Paul Niemann 
http://www.marketlaunchers.com/customer-testimonials.html 
(800) 337-5758 (within the U.S. and Canada)
(217) 224-7735 (outside the U.S.)
Copyright 2004
All Rights Reserved

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