Drive Block: An IWSG Post

6:00 AM Elizabeth Seckman 48 Comments



Last week, I was whining- as usual- about just how hard writers work for so little money.

I told my son I figured I sold more books out of the trunk of my car than anyplace else. I told him when I imagined the writer dream, it didn't include making parking lot book sales like some sort of desperate crack dealer who can't get the word of mouth running in her favor.

My son (Boy #2, Cole, the redhead), said, "Yeah, I bet that's what that guy who owns Under Armour thought."

Kevin Plank was the special teams captain for the University of Maryland Football. Tired of soaking wet cotton apparel, he decided there had to be a better way.

 UnderArmour Philosophy
In 1995, he started designing his alternative to the cotton tee.

The end result was a shirt that stayed dry in the hottest heat. He shared those shirts with teammates and a few friends playing in the NFL. He got their feedback, applied their suggestions and soon brought to the market a revolutionary product.

He maxed out his credit cards and set up operations in his grandmother's basement, selling his product anywhere he could- even from the trunk of his car.

A year later, he made his first team sale to Georgia Tech for his fledgling company, Under Armour.

And the rest is history. Under Armour rivals all sports manufacturers.

He did ask for validation. He didn't ask for approval.
He just went to work.


Would you like to win an autographed of my latest book, Swept Away? 



Goodreads Book Giveaway

Swept Away by Elizabeth Seckman

Swept Away

by Elizabeth Seckman

Giveaway ends June 11, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
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Thanks to Alex Cavanaugh and his awesome co-hosts for the May edition of the IWSG:
 Murees Dupe, Alexia Chamberlynn, Chemist Ken, and Heather Gardner! 

48 comments:

  1. Like the guy who invented Gatorade. Lots of good ideas come from sports I guess. Hey, outside a sporting event - there's a new place you can park your car and sell from your trunk!
    Hey, you never know when something will take off. Trust me. Just be ready when it does.

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    1. Sports do make great analogies to life. In almost every aspect of the sporting field, talent will only take you so far. And sadly, sometimes hard work isn't enough either. But if you are loving what you're doing, are willing to work hard...there is some niche you can work yourself into.
      A take off that catches me off guard would be greatly appreciated. LOL

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  2. I love a success story! The opening quote is a good one. But I disagree somewhat... one can come out with a handful of mud - or a faceful - but the key is to sling it right back!! :) Have a great month, Elizabeth.

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    1. I don't have a very good arm, but hey, if they sling it at me, I can at least brush it off.

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  3. You just have to do it. No matter how long it takes Liz. But hearing a success story does not hurt.

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    1. No, a success story is always good to hear- especially on IWSG day!

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  4. I don't even have a trunk (I drive a pickemup truck)

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    1. Imagine how many books you could carry in a pickemup truck!

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  5. Love the quote and loved the post. A wonderful read.
    Yvonne.

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  6. Excellent quote! And I love the concept of validation, not approval.

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    1. I do think we need to keep our minds open to education and good advice. If we're going to make a good product, we have to be willing to be modify and grow.

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  7. Oh, I like that story. Awesome. Also, I sort of like Under Armour...

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    1. My kids love UnderArmour. I'm too chunky and find clingy fabrics unflattering to my curvy figure.

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  8. Here's to people going for it until they succeed. It takes so much courage, but eventually it pays off, eh? Maybe not in publishing. It's a hard industry--but I suppose that weeds out the people who are in it to win it from the easy road ones. I guess that's why they say it takes 10 years or 5 + works to "make" it. Hey, at least you make more money per book on your out-of-the-trunk sales.

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    1. Not every success story will be measured in the millions. And it's a good thing to keep in mind too that he got input from the very people he wanted to sell to (for us, that would be readers) and modified his product.
      And yes, I do think the difficulty of what we're trying will weed out the true of heart. A lot of people have the misconception that writing is a fast way to make a buck. They won't be willing to get callouses on their fingers and will quit.

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  9. You just have to keep at it indeed. But one has to remain realistic too, as for every Under Armour there are 1000 others who don't make it. Not being a downer, just saying lol Doesn't mean one has to stop trying though, as of those 1000 most probably found it too hard and gave up.

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    1. And if you enjoy what you're doing, is it really work? But yeah, for every Kevin there are many more failures. I think the biggest key to his success was not only the hard work, but the willingness to get input. You can't design the shirt you think is perfect and hope it sells. You have to design the shirt that someone else wants to buy.

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  10. More power to Kevin for believing in his product and for adjusting the product with the suggestions made by those who tried it out. It's like beta readers for writers--and I'm still working on this one. Writers need others to "try out their stories/writings" to see what needs to be improved. More power to you, too, Elizabeth, for selling your books out of your trunk. I've entered the sweepstakes to win your newest romance. Here's hoping I win. All the best, my dear!

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    1. I'll cross my fingers for you, Victoria!

      Yes, our betas are our testers. And those harsh reviews we loath so much. There is much to be learned there also.

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  11. That's a great story of innovation.

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  12. The secret to success was right there in your second paragraph. SELL CRACK. I'm sure it's way more profitable than writing, and probably much easier. Then you can retire off your drug money and really get to work on your literary career. ;-)

    IWSG Post June

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    1. LOL. You're such a genius! And yes, I would retire with my earnings and keep on writing. It's the real addiction.

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  13. What about John Grisham who sold copies of The Client out of the trunk of his car after his publisher went belly-up? The secret is stubbornness and audacity. And to listen to your sons. Or--wait until they have grown up and then go live with them so they can support you while you live your dream.

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    1. That is right! I forgot about Grisham.

      You're so right about my kids supporting me. They have way more brains and talent than I've got.

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  14. Now that's the kind of story I love to read! I'm not going to whine anymore. Promise.

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    1. Whining is still allowed, just not allowed to quit.

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  15. Well you know I think it's a great book. I have been promoting it at the bowling alley today, mainly to show off the dedication I must admit. However, some of my friends said they would like to read it. Hopefully they will do so. Will show it to the Exercise class on Friday too.

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    1. See? You're still it's best cheerleader. This book owes you its life.

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  16. That's exactly what we have to do. Just work! And I'll do my very best not to whine... unless I'm out of cookies.

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    1. Did I say no whining? I must have been out of my mind. I still whine- a lot. I just can't curl up in fetal position and quit.

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  17. Thanks for the inspiring story, Elizabeth. that's the kind of success story that keeps us writers going.

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    1. And we need reminders. This is a tough business we're in. It's not a place for the faint of heart.

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  18. Man, I wish I could sell my books out of the back of my car. :)
    Thanks for the awesome true story, Elizabeth and your wonderful sense of humor!

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    1. I was just happy I still had a box of them in my trunk after a book event. LOL

      I will always have my twisted sense of humor. Even when I try to be completely serious, there is always some sarcasm or something in there.

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  19. I love reading about success stories like these... it's such good food for thought!
    Suzy x
    www.suzyturner.com

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    1. Me too! We hear so much about the negative stuff in life, it's good to hear the positive stuff too.

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  20. Fantastic post -- topical, succint, helpful. Terrific segue from Cody's snarky comment to the relevant anecdote. Inspiring rather than preachy. Looking forward to following your blog.

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    1. Why thank you! And I did love Cody's comment, though I will not be taking his unsound advice. LOL

      Nice to meet! I'll be watching for you again...but not in any sort of creepy stalker way or anything.

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  21. Great post. From the mouths of babes, right? Best wishes.

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    1. Yes, indeed. My kids have been great at supporting my insane love of being poor and writing.

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  22. Thanks for the inspirational story! And I love that last line: He just went to work. Words to live by.

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    1. Jut getting back to work is the solution to any writer funk. Once the story takes over, there is no time for worry and second-guessing.

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  23. Yes! I hope we all find success like he does (and man, I need to get some Under Armor to keep me from sweating while I run).

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    1. My son was just singing the praises of Under Armour's "electrified cotton" as the best thing in the universe for athletic comfort. Not sure if that is a new line, or my on is drinking some Kool-Aid.

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  24. Hey, you gotta start somewhere.

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  25. I hadn't heard how Under Armour got started. Wow! I have a friend who sells a ton of books via her trunk. She's better at it than I ever will be, I'm sure.

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