This interview was made possible by our friends at DomainNameSales.com:
The marketplace for domain names.
Karen Henrich has been making a living for the past 20 years in the tech industry, in the realm of PR, marketing, business and technical writing and management. Tired of the tech gig, she boldly moved to Paris after a two-week holiday there in 2005 and started a tour company (Nuit Blanche Tours), welcoming English-speaking visitors from around the world. She began writing about joie de vivre and compiling her vast knowledge of her beloved adopted City of Light as she practices the fine art of writing in Parisian cafés and creating best-sellers on Amazon.
TapBooks: This digital publishing division showcases the content of authors with strong niches. Right out of the gate, their first three books have consistently been in the Top 100 Paid in 6 Amazon categories since Feb. 16, 2011. They convert and publish your content as ebooks on Amazon, Apple iBookstore and other platforms, and iPhone and Android apps. They also offer a variety of strategic Author Services that can make all the difference and foster strong sales of ebooks.
ChicWalks: Shopping apps on the iTunes store for Paris, Vancouver and San Francisco. The ChicWalks Shopping app has been featured by Apple and has hit the top 10 apps for weeks in a number of countries.
Nuit Blanche Tours: Since 2005 they have been leading hundreds of tour visitors on shopping tours in Paris, France. Nuit Blanche Tours has been featured in National Geographic’s Best Girlfriends Getaways Worldwide (author Marybeth Bond), and other well respected publications.
MO: When moving to Paris, did you always have the intention to start a tour guide business?
Karen: Yes. In every job I’ve ever had, my role has always been the company ambassador and organizing events and hosting visiting partners/clients, particularly international guests. So showing a newcomer a city is second nature and I went to Paris on that fateful first trip with this idea in mind. I also had done some PR work for a West Coast artist who had a business of taking people on painting tours in Italy. She had no problem whatsoever filling seats for these wonderful painting instruction trips that featured accommodation in a centuries-old monastery where the monks still make their own wine. During our two-week stay in Paris, my girlfriend and I were exploring the city and taking notes and I began my business plan for the tour company on a series of café napkins. I registered nuitblanchetours.com before leaving Paris, by ducking into an internet café. The other two companies have morphed from this.
MO: Do you divide your time equally between your three businesses?
Karen: The three businesses meld together on a regular basis but my husband and I do now spend part of our time in Paris, and part in North America, interspersed with fun visits to other exotic locales. That’s the best part of being a global citizen with a business that can be operated from anywhere in the world. As long as there is internet access, of course.
MO: What’s made you fall so deeply in love with Paris?
Karen: Ahhh, Paris. This city resonates so deeply with people because it can hit you like a coup de foudre. Translation: a strike of lightning or love at first site. Centuries ago, the city’s leaders set out to make Paris the most beautiful city in the world by gracing us with: uniform and stunning architecture; wide, grand boulevards; beautiful bridges on the Seine; magnificent squares and charming cobblestone streets, most of which have changed very little since medieval times. There is something for everyone in Paris including a 2,000 year turbulent history; incredible food, wine and champagne; fashion and shopping; art and museums; architecture, and the list goes on. To add to that and this is what I write about a lot, Paris is still one of the ‘bargain’ cities in the world as the basics are inexpensive and plentiful. For example: transportation, sight-seeing and museum-going, bread, cheese, wine and chocolate! You can also find incredible fashion bargains if you know where to look (wink). Honestly, I’ve seen tour visitors break down and cry on tours as being in Paris resonates deeply with people on an emotional level.
MO: Can you tell us about your business tactic of being early adopters of Amazon’s KOLL and adhering to Amazon’s strict exclusivity guidelines by taking yourself off of the other platforms?
Karen: In Dec. 2011, Amazon introduced the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library (KOLL) for authors to enroll in. The program allows Amazon Prime members to borrow for free with no due date one book per month, to watch unlimited movies and TV shows, and enjoy free shipping of orders. The cost for this membership is $79 per year. Right now, this program is only open to US citizens, but hopefully they will open it up to Canadians and other countries. What is so attractive about the KOLL is that Amazon has allotted $500,000 (for Dec.) and $700,000 (for Jan) to distribute to all authors who are enrolled in the program. Any Amazon Prime member who downloads a book from the KOLL gets to borrow it for free, however, Amazon pays the author a royalty (almost as high as the regular royalty). This is good news for the author and the members, however, the drawback of the program is that Amazon requires you to exclusively sell your ebook on their platform only. Viewing it more broadly, this exclusivity clause hurts readers in general who may want to download the author’s book from other platforms such as the Apple iBookstore, Nook Store or KOBO for example. Competitors such as Barnes & Noble are lashing out at Amazon for this practice that they deem unfair and the ebook battle continues! Even though we like to play nicely in the sandbox with everyone, we decided to try out the program and after our three month exclusivity trial is over will weigh the benefits and make a decision as to whether to stay enrolled, or go back to distributing on all platforms. So far, our decision seems to be paying off as sales have increased but it is too soon to tell whether they will eclipse aggregated sales on all platforms.
MO: What three destinations are on the top of your travel wish list?
Karen: Portugal, Turkey and Morocco
MO: You’ve had so many professional successes, which one has been the most meaningful to you?
Karen: I feel fortunate to have been led down the path to figuring out how to make a living as I get to pursue all of my loves: entrepreneurship + technology + writing + travel, and sharing it with family and friends. It all starts with feeling the fear but going ahead anyway and pursuing your dreams. The rest will follow.
Find the right Domain Name for your business at Fabulous.com!