When I started writing my book, I had a clear picture of who would read it. They helped guide my content and formatting decisions, and knowing they are time-starved business people, anything that didn’t provide quick access to practical advice was deleted. At least 30 percent of my first draft was edited out because it was not adding value. As I wrote my publisher’s proposal, I realized there are other audiences that could gain from my book and that I would need to market to them when it becomes available. Here are my three audiences:
1. Leaders of Change (primary)
2. Teachers and Students of Change (secondary)
3. Cadbury and Kraft Enthusiasts (secondary)
Leaders of Change
Leaders and their teams working on big change projects, including executive sponsors (who fund and have overall accountability for projects), project managers (who run the day-to-day operations), and team members (who have project-specific roles).
Teachers and Students
Universities that offer change management/organizational development degrees and MBA programs (most include change management courses). My book includes 100 mini-case studies (fifty good practices and fifty poor practices), accommodates all four learning styles, has recommended actions that promote lecture discussion and assignments, and all content is based on practical experience.
Cadbury and Kraft Enthusiasts
Current and former Cadbury/Kraft employees. My book includes forty-four mini-case studies on Cadbury and Kraft, almost all of which have never been published.
It excites me that these audiences will look at my book through different lenses and focus on what they find useful. Regardless of your intended destination, the reader is in the driver’s seat.
P.T. Barnum said, “A terrible thing happens when you don’t promote yourself…nothing.” I’m sure this is true for authors so I jumped into writing my Promotion Plan with vigour. The goal is to state what I will do to sell my book (with vigour). There are many articles about how the author (not publisher) must drive awareness and sales. If not, then something terrible happens.
Passion, confidence, and commitment are three themes I have woven into my promotion plan. It has six elements:
Book Distribution to Audience Influencer: Sending copies to members of my three target audiences: leaders working on big changes (my primary target), post-secondary teachers and students, and Kraft and Cadbury employees and supporters.
Social Media Notifications:Communication about my book to my networks and business associations.
Magazines and Blogs: Reviews, interviews, and serializing content in magazines and blogs.
Keynote Speaking Engagements: Presentations at conferences, association meetings, and schools.
Book Web Site: A dedicated site including this blog, author Q&A, chapter summaries and support materials.
Award Submissions: Participation in media and association award programs.
Please let me know if I missed any promotion opportunities. I would appreciate your thoughts.
I just bought Michale Hyatt’s Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World to fortify my plan. He is offering $350 of bonus resources if you buy a copy by the end of today. Now that’s a promotion!
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.
One of the first lessons my editor, Ken, taught me was that you write the introduction after you complete the book. I will call the one I wrote before meeting him “draft 0.” It now makes sense since my book has changed shape almost weekly and my early thoughts on what the introduction would say have also changed.
There’s a lot at stake with the introduction. It has to grab readers as they scan it and convince them that the book is worth their time and money. It must clearly state:
– Who the book is written for (who will benefit from reading it)
– How it will help them
– Who I am and how my experiences qualify me to write it
– What I believe are the broad themes about successful change management
– Why the book is structured in the way that it is
– Why I wrote it
Basically, the introduction has to convey the essence of my book in a few pages. With only six short case studies to write before I complete my book’s content, I have been psyching myself for my next challenge: to nail the introduction. It’s time to tell my story.
Have you ever had a belief that slowly changed until it became the opposite to what it was? I have had a few of them, and my most recent one was about the stories I am including in my book. I wanted all of them to come from my personal experiences and it took a lot of thinking to identify 100 stories (two stories per chapter).
Just because you can do something one way doesn’t mean its the best way. Limiting the stories to my experiences meant that some industries, like health care, natural resources, and transportation were missing. Also, most of my experiences have been in packaged goods, which felt skewed. My readers and editor had counselled me to research new stories, and although my mind was in agreement my heart wasn’t – but what about all my exciting adventures? These stories have to be told!
This week, I came around and started researching new stories. I am glad I did. There are so many fascinating scenarios from all continents and industries, where people have made good and bad decisions around change. It is true that change is universal, regardless if you work in a retail group in China or a telecommunications firm in Argentina – change is about people.
Finding relevant stories has been an adventure. Some I found quickly and others took more than half a day. The search can be discouraging but when you hit the jackpot it’s worth it. The secret is to never give up. Never.
I thought of sharing some of the stories here but I think it’s best to wait for the book. They are worth the wait. Phil
Recently, I took on a consulting assignment to co-design and facilitate a two-day team meeting. Why did I do it? First, I had worked with the leader before and knew it would be fun. Second, it’s been a while since I worked on a change project and I didn’t want to become rusty. Third, based on an initial phone briefing I knew I could help.
Getting dressed for my first meeting I remembered that tying ties is not a strength. Wearing a suit, however, felt good. As I entered the office building I felt ‘corporate.’ As I waited in the lobby I mused that these spaces are the same around the world – the seating area layout, employees briskly walking with purpose, a courier dropping off a package, and a receptionist directing a call – I could have been in any city. In the meeting, I could feel energy. There was a puzzle that needed solving and we were gathering pieces to do so. As I drove home, my mind was full of questions, facts, and possibilities. I was alive.
There is a unique confidence felt when doing something you have done successfully many times before: you know the raw materials, you can sense what works and what doesn’t, and you don’t stop until you get it right. This is how I felt when I was working on the design. Facilitating was great, too. Interacting with a team reminded me how much people have to give.
After the event I made the following notes:
– Everything effects mood, e.g., location, tone, pacing, language, etc.
– People can’t absorb all the information they are given (no matter how you give it to them)
– Individuals need to be understood and validated (including me)
– Energy is contagious
– A team with a common goal is extremely powerful
– Change work is exhausting
– Helping people build a better future is the biggest thrill
Now it’s back to editing my second draft and writing additional stories. I have missed my book over the past couple of days. Would I take on another assignment? Absolutely, if it had the same elements as this one. You always get more than you give.