by Leah Komaiko
You know you’ve sold 600 million books when the government declares your birthday national “Read Across America” day. So happy 112th birthday to Dr. Seuss. Not a real doctor; but a Dartmouth student who got caught drinking on campus (during prohibition), faced expulsion and had to invent a quick name change to get his cartoon published.
Flash forward; Dr. Seuss remains the 9th most sold author in the history of publishing (J.K. Rowling is number 10) and if he was out to sell his first book today, I bet he'd still be getting a whopping deal. Because he got it simple. And simply, the best brands get it simple.
He was my inspiration for reading and writing and branding and he is a brand guru for more than one industry.
Here is one of my favorite gems:
- “If I’d been going down the other side of Madison Avenue, I would be in the dry cleaning business today! That’s one reason I believe in luck.”
Depending on the versions that Dr. Seuss himself told, anywhere from 20 to 29 publishers rejected his first book. Seuss was walking down Madison Ave. close to tears about to throw the book away, when he ran into a former classmate, who had just been appointed juvenile editor of Vanguard Press. The new editor took Seuss up to his office where they signed a contract for “And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street.”
Many entrepreneurs, authors and even the biggest brands I work with want to “cut their losses” and “try something else” before hitting the finish line. I myself got rejected on my first book over a four year period. My first deal turned into a three book deal and I got 27 thereafter. My most lucrative sale sold in an auction of 6 publishers four days after it was on the market.
I believe in stories that simply have to be told. And i believe in our luck. Especially the kind we work hard to run into.
Thank you for reading!