One of the things that people ask all the time is what made you write a book?
I talk about this briefly on the ABOUT DONNIE MASTERS page, but I was frustrated by the experience consumers were getting in the retail environment. I would literally spend 20-30 minutes of an hour long sale trying to "undo" the damage someone else did when that customer went to them. A salesperson should be able to offer advice and educate someone during the sales process, not spend hours trying to deprogram them. The mattress industry was so competitive that customers were simply being treated as dollar signs for sales. A select group of people were doing what I talk about in Mattress Buying 101. We thrived selling this way.
One of the other reasons I chose to write a book was timing. Mattress sales have gotten even more competitive than when I walked away (February 2015). Best Buy, Costco, Sam's Club, Wal-Mart are all now in the bedding industry. While this is great for the consumer in lowering prices and increasing competition, it doesn't offer any real education on the mattress industry. Lower prices are great, lower service standards are not. Most of the new guys selling mattresses expect the consumer to know what they are buying. How could they when no one has taught them?
My number one goal is education. I hoped that by writing a book, I could help educate the consumer on what matters and what doesn't as it pertains to mattresses. I hoped I could shed a little light on an industry dominated by commission sales where consumers are looked at as dollar signs. I wanted to make a difference on a purchase that is the third largest after a house and car.
Are you the next great American author?
Hardly! This is a first attempt for me and something I wanted to complete years ago. I always knew I wanted to write a book, but I could never figure out where I could add value to a subject. I knew a little bit about a lot of things. Back in 2014, a customer that I had built a really good relationship with asked me about some of the funny stories I had. I shared a few with him and he said, "Donnie, you should write a book about this."
A light bulb went off in my head and I realized I knew a lot about bedding. I had risen from salesperson to District Manager by the time this conversation happened. I had intimate details on construction techniques, sales data, employee relations, and business decisions that most people don't ever have access to. I knew I could write about mattresses. I could teach someone to buy a mattress!
How long does the process take from thought to book?
About 15 months for me. I started writing right after I left in March of 2015. I have spent hours writing, re-writing, proofreading, and changing the book. What I thought would be easy to write about had to be broken down in a logical manner. I knew the material, but I had to present to the reader in a clear, concise method. I struggled getting thoughts to paper (really laptop screen) at first without jumbling things together.
I slowed down in the middle months with work and holidays. I began "crunch" time in March of 2016 going back through every section and making sure I got my points in there. Is it perfect? No, and I don't want it to be. I am trying to open a dialogue on mattresses.
The last 2 months have been getting the format and publication lined up. I have spent hours formatting and getting the cover right. Then I had to get the ISBN assigned and work out distribution through Amazon. None of that was difficult, but very time consuming to get things the way I wanted it.