Category Archives:

book format

The Eagle Has Landed!

We did it! Last Tuesday, I met with my executive editor and editorial assistant to sign a global rights contract with Wiley for Change with Confidence. From their website: “Wiley has evolved into one of the world’s more respected publishing and information services companies. We strongly believe in the enduring value of collaborative relationships, built in a solid foundation of trust and integrity.” Perfect fit.


My book with be under the Jossey-Bass imprint. 
“Jossey-Bass publishes books, periodicals, and other media to inform and inspire those interested in developing themselves, their organizations and their communities.” Another perfect fit!


Change with Confidence will be available worldwide in 6 x 9 trim size hardcover (and e-book) in March, 2013. I couldn’t be more thrilled!

My new team members were very gracious and understanding about my excitement. I laughed when my executive editor said that in her twenty-seven year career, I was the first author to request a picture of the contract signing. Hilarious!

As I left the office, I was overwhelmed by feelings of gratitude for everyone who has helped me along the way, including those who have read this blog (you!). The intensity of appreciation is hard to capture in words. Perhaps it is best just to say “Thank-you from the bottom of my heart.”

A new phase of my journey has kicked-off and I have a lot to do. Firstly, I need to read my manuscript one last time before I hand it over to the Wiley team on Monday. There are a few insights I have learned during my recent consulting assignments that I am keen to share with my readers.  The heat is on!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Phil

101 Reasons to Publish My Book!


I have enjoyed switching gears to the book proposal writing phase. It’s familiar territory (how many proposals have we written in our careers?) and doing research again is fun. I even went to a public library and signed out two books on winning proposals! 

Writing a proposal is like making a cake: each ingredient must be added in the right amount and in the right order for it to create something special. Experimentation is risky. 



Most advice contains the same sections and a lot of the same tips:



  • Overview – What is your premise and how does it satisfy a need?
  • Markets – Who will buy your book?
  • Competition – What books are similar to yours and why is yours different?
  • Author – Why are you the best author for this book?
  • Promotion –  What can you do to help sell your book?
  • Table of Contents
  • Sample Chapters
In the past, I would create a proposal framework and then fill it the sections sequentially, building the narrative. This time,  I dove into writing a draft as I was researching. This was a mistake because it missed the big picture and was less organized. After a day of “free-wheeling” I went back to a more structured and effective approach.


One hundred and one reasons for becoming my publisher is a stretch, especially since my goal is to convince one that my book will sell enough copies to make a profit. All other reasons are icing on the cake. 

Phil

What’s in a Name?

 “What are you going to call it?” is often the first question people ask me about my book. I answer the same way each time: “I don’t know.” I have thought about potential names but not one of them has stuck. My book keeps changing and so does it’s description.


There is a lot of advice on picking a book title. Sources agree that there is a lot at stake because it is a key influencer on whether or not a reader will buy your book (or someone else’s).  


A good title…
– Grabs attention, is intriguing, and pulls the reader in
– Sums up what the book is about 
– Hints at the benefits of buying it (addresses what people need)
– Is relevant to the audience interested in your book
– Is not too obtuse, clever or clichéd 
– Does not include hard to pronounce words
– Is positive
– Matches the tone (and energy) of the book
– Is short (less than eight words)
– Stands out from other books in your genre
– Is easy to remember
– Includes a subtitle that further describe what the reader gets
– Includes key words a reader would type into a search engine to find a book like yours
– Does not mislead the reader


I have been tracking my competition through LinkedIn chat topics on the best change management books written. The list is at 243 and counting. Also, I downloaded the table of contents of The 100 Best Business Books of All Time. Finding a title that will stand out from these tomes and meet all of the above criteria will be a challenge. There is one more requirement, however, that makes the task a little more manageable: you need to love your title and be proud of it because you will have it for life.


Phil

On Assignment: Chapters Bookstore, December 5, 2011

As I make changes to my book’s content and structure, I am starting to think about its layout. This element of publishing is another important one. It can either make or break a book’s accessibility. This is especially true for the time-starved reader who needs advice fast.  The more I can facilitate quick access to relevant information, the better. 

Charlie, my accomplice

A couple of my reviewers suggested I go to a bookstore to see how other books in my genre are formatted, so I went on assignment. I flipped through books in the business and self-help sections. I felt like Goldilocks before she tried the third bed: some were too academic, some were too playful, and none were ‘just right.’


Traditional layouts included blocks of text that were hard to scan – they looked like work. Highly illustrated books were fun but difficult to navigate. What struck me was that a book was either easy or hard to navigate – there was no middle ground.

Phil, looking inconspicuous 

Here are guidelines that will help me select an effective layout:


Titles need to stand out – they are the key navigation markers
White space is good – the less on a page the easier it is to navigate
Elements need to balance – lopsided pages look wrong
Icons are effective signposts – too many are confusing and gimmicky
Text boxes prioritize content if used sparingly –  too many are confusing 
Different fonts and text sizes communicate order – too many are confusing
If pages aren’t inviting and easy to digest,  they need to be simplified

Charlie’s reward
…not in my genre



Now, I find myself assessing the layout of every book I pick up: Where is my eye directed to? Is there a logical order to the page? Is it easy to navigate? The biggest question, however, is ‘Do I want to keep on reading?’


Phil 




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