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Query Letter to Current Publisher

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Ten Speed Press published two of my career books: "200 Letters For Job Hunters," and "The Job Search Time Manager." Oddly enough, they gave me the electronic rights to the books, and as you can see, I sold the letter book as software, then put it online.

My contract with them required me to offer new book ideas to them before shopping them around to other publishers. This letter fulfilled that obligation. Because I wanted to free myself to self-publish the books, I used an appropriate close. I did not hear back from Ten Speed Press, and  published "The Resume Repair Kit" myself.

March 1, 20—

George Kanode
Ten Speed Press
PO Box 7123
Berkeley, CA  94707

Dear George,

As you may remember, I produced a software version of "200 Letters for Job Hunters" in 19—, and have used it to sell more books.  Given the choice of  $39.95 for software or $17.95 for a book, most people choose the book!

As a way of increasing sales of "200 Letters for Job Hunters," I am planning to display the software in America Online's career center, along with book ordering information.  The career center is heavily traveled, and I believe this could generate substantial book sales.  I hope you will keep a good stock of "200 Letters" on hand. 

My contract with Ten Speed Press asks me to submit any book ideas to you first, before offering them to other publishers.  Per this agreement, I have two book ideas:

  1. The Resume Repair Kit
    I've spent 15 years developing this 200-page manual for our career clients, and it's been very well received.  So far we have sold 10,000 copies without any particular marketing effort.  The first half is text, nuts and bolts.  The second half is examples of high-impact resumes.  The resumes are mostly high-level, business-oriented, so we could re-title the book, Resumes at $100,000 or something similar.
  2. The Career Advisor
    For the past five years I've written an expert column published in the Colorado Human Resource Association's ADVISOR, their monthly newsletter.  The column touches on both job-search and career management issues.  These columns could easily be compiled into a big seller for your list.
George, let me know if either of these book ideas interests you.  "The Resume Repair Kit" is ready to publish—I could send you the manuscript, and I could send sample columns from The Career Advisor.  If I don't hear back from you within two weeks, I'll assume you are not interested in pursuing these ideas.   

With best wishes,

William S. Frank

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William S. Frank, M.A.,
25 Reasons I love consulting.
by William S. Frank
  1. Brand. You are your own brand, and you can define it any way you want. For many years, I provided outplacement to the ex-employees of Schlumberger, the world's largest oilfield service corporation. When departing employees left the company, they didn't request outplacement in their severance package. They said, "I want Bill Frank."
  2. Demand. The world will always be full of terrible problems that need solving.
  3. White Hat. I can be a helper and get paid for it.
  4. Pay. I can be paid to do things I'd gladly do for nothing.
  5. Variety. Every day is different.
  6. Happiness. At this stage of my career, I only work for people I respect and care about. If a client micromanages me or is otherwise no fun, I complete the assignment and replace them.
  7. Talent. I'm using 110% of my talents and stretching myself to the max.
  8. Change. I can change my focus any day I want. If you're a McDonald's franchisee, you don't say, "Hey, I've got this great idea for a meatball sandwich—let's try it out today." In consulting you can adjust your focus hour-by-hour, as long as your clients still understand and appreciate what you do.
  9. Income. No one else would pay me as much as I pay myself.
  10. FUN. I can't think of anything I'd rather be doing.
  11. Retirement. I can write and consult as long as I am physically and mentally capable. Peter Drucker worked into his 90s, and when asked which book was his best, he said: "My next one."
  12. Job Security. Although clients come and go, no one can come into my office and say, "Pack up your stuff . . . You don't work here anymore." In 29 years, I've only had one employer: ME.
  13. Travel. I don't have to travel unless I decide to. I travel if it's both FUN and profitable—or at least FUN.
  14. Commute. I live five minutes from my office, a corner office in an upscale six-story tower. In winter, I leave a heated garage at home and drive to an underground heated garage at work. There's seldom time to hear even one song on the radio.
  15. Vacation. Consulting is more fun than vacation (except on Wailea Beach in Maui).
  16. Friends. I have developed hundreds of close acquaintances and several lifetime friends.
  17. Time. I can work as much or as little as I like: four-hour days or 18-hour days. (Of course, my income will reflect that.)
  18. Employees. I can work with employees, subcontractors, partners, or alone—I've done it all.
  19. Passive Income. I've developed several products that provide "mailbox money." I earn while I'm sleeping.
  20. Ethics. I've never had to violate my values or personal code of ethics. I've never had to lie, purposely deceive or harm others, or promise things I can't deliver. I go to bed with a clear conscience. That doesn't mean there's never any conflict. But the conflict is conducted according to generally accepted business practices.
  21. Virtual. My career is fairly portable. With the Internet, e-mail, cell phone, and FedEx, I can work nationally, even internationally from my office—or anywhere in the world.
  22. Purpose. I make a difference in peoples' lives every day. I see it in their faces, hear it in their voices, and read it in their thank-yous.
  23. Experience. Every painful or joyful life experience makes me a better consultant. So does every person I meet or book I read. Grey hair can be good in consulting.
  24. Structure. I have to work very hard, and the clients expect superb results—but I get to structure my days, weeks, months, and years.
  25. Boss. Most of the time, I love my boss.
As I was posting these letters online, I realized I want to communicate my love for consulting. It's just a great business. The single letters, taken together, may create a picture of enjoyment, but in a burst of creativity I listed some of the reasons consulting is such a good fit for me—and perhaps for you, too. They are not prioritized; this is just how they came out.