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organisational change

So, what are you going to do to sell your book?

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!


Phil

How good is good enough?


I am writing this post after an inspiring conversation with Ken, my editor. We both had worked into the morning hours finishing our respective homework before our 10 a.m. Starbucks meeting.


Around 3 a.m., I paused for a few minutes wondering how we would know when my book is finished. How good is good enough? From my experience, when you think something is finished you still have a way to go; there is always something to change to make it better.


I remember a story about the making of Michael Jackson’s Thriller. After he and Quincy Jones recorded the songs, they listened to the entire album and cut the three songs they liked the least. Michael wrote three new ones including the number one single ‘Beat It.’ I have borrowed this approach to upgrade the stories in my book. How did they know three was the right number of songs to replace before the album was finished? 


I will keep editing until the edits are less valuable than what they are replacing. At that point, quality will speak for itself and good will turn into great. Great is good enough. 


Phil

All feedback is good, but could you include these things?

As I was preparing my book excerpt to be reviewed by a few peers, I realized I needed to give guidance on the feedback I wanted to receive. All feedback is good, however, I don’t want to miss certain aspects.


Overall, I’m looking for feedback from a reader’s perspective versus a content expert’s. The content is built from my experiences of ‘making change,’ so I expect others will have different experiences and views – no issue. What is far more helpful is feedback on how people take in the book. Specifically, its utility and style: “Is it valuable?” and “Is it interesting?” I am also looking for feedback on how the book is constructed. Finally, I’m curious about what I should call the creation. What title will speak to the reader when looking for a practical change management book? 


Here are the questions I included with my book excerpt:


Introduction

  • Does it effectively convey the reader’s challenge?
  • Does it effectively outline the format of the book?
  • Does it make you want to read on?
Table of Contents (each question  is a chapter)
  • Does the order of the questions look right?
  • Have I missed any essential questions? If so, which ones?
  • Too much, too little, just right?
Six sample Questions
  • How useful is the information?
  • Is the style engaging, boring, etc.?
  • Does the format help or hinder the time-starved reader in finding the information needed?

Possible Title Options

  • Rank order the top three options, including any you can suggest
  • How much do you like your top choice?
Possible Sub-title/Tag Line Options
  • Rank order the top three options, including any you can suggest
  • How much do you like your top choice?

You may be thinking what I am thinking: I am hugely indebted to my feedback providers for taking the time to review my material and give me this feedback. I will appreciate every comment. 


Hmmm, maybe I should have asked one more question: “What do you think about the number of feedback questions – too much, too little, just right?


Phil

You Can Quote Me On That


Fourteen years ago, I began forwarding a weekly packaged goods news summary to fellow colleagues. It was called the Grocery Digest and was novel for its time. A sales teammate and I purchased the service as a way for our company to become more externally focused.


Within a few weeks, I started adding motivational quotes to make it more engaging. After a few months, I started looking for quotes that captured the essence of what our company was going through at the time. If we were behind our financial goals, I would select a quote about adversity; if we were winning in the marketplace, I would select a quote about success. The search for the ‘right’ quote was fun and became a Sunday afternoon activity for the next 14 years. 

Initially, I found quotes in famous quotation books or on internet sites.They were plentiful and well indexed. Over the years, I realized that often the best quotes were found in real time, both at work or in my personal life. I started recording and including these quotes when they fit our business circumstances. I even humbly added a quote of my own: “When you know the answer, why not put up your hand?”


As I was structuring my book a couple of months ago, I was looking for a way to concisely capture insights around the questions that leaders must answer to successful lead a big change project.  The format needed to be succinct and to the point. I realized that the quotation construct did just that. It communicates a single point of knowledge in the fewest amount of words. My “Words of Wisdom” subsections will list quotes that have been publicly documented or ones I have noted over the years. 


I am looking forward to speaking with some friends and past colleagues to ask for permission to include their words. Some may not be famous, but they sure are wise and sure are quotable.


Phil

10 Things I Know About Self-editing

In undergrad, I took a few courses on film theory and criticism. They were welcome breaths of fresh air from the more mundane courses on finance, economics and statistical analysis. Writing, and specifically grammar, was not my strong point. I remember getting a C- for style on my first film paper. I was devastated and went to see my prof for advice. He said, the best way to improve your writing is to keep editing, over and over again. I clearly hadn’t done so and it took me a few years to appreciate his guidance. I finally realized that anything committed to writing, from proposals to emails, was a representation of me, either positive or negative. Once distributed, it was forever.


As I approach the editing phase of my book, I’ll edit the heck out of my draft. There’s comfort in knowing my draft also will be reviewed by friends and colleagues for content, and a professional copy editor for grammar.

Before then, I must do the first edit to the best of my ability (better than a C- for sure!). To orient me to the task, I did some research on how to self-edit. Here are the guidelines I am planning to use:

  1. First, read the entire document for the big picture. Does it make sense?
  2. Proofread a hard copy as well as editing on the screen
  3. Read the work aloud for flow and tone
  4. Keep sentences of varying lengths
  5. Blend shorter and longer paragraphs
  6. Write with nouns and verbs, not with adjectives and adverbs
  7. Get rid of words I don’t need
  8. Remove or change favourite words – the ones I really like and use too often
  9. Expect editing to take longer than I want it to, but know the extra time is worth it 
  10. Remember I cannot be fully objective about what I have written

I still have a week of content writing before I start editing. I think it will be more fun than writing, but I thought writing would be more fun than research. We shall see. Fun or not, it will allow me to test my writing style to ensure it’s right for the book I want to write. As a friend counselled recently, the voice is as important as the content. That makes 11 things I know about self-editing.


Phil

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