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book publishing

What is it about covers that beg to be judged?

I am delighted to share the cover for Change with Confidence, although I can take no credit for it. I can’t think of any other cover that  could capture the contents of and inspiration behind my book. 

Cover design is critical to a book’s success. It must entice the reader to pick up the book or click on it on a screen. It also has to communicate the main benefit of reading it, which for Change with Confidence is building confidence to lead change. 

Two months ago, if you had asked me what the perfect cover would look like I wouldn’t have had a clue. I just knew that there was a perfect cover waiting to be discovered.

The first time I saw my cover I liked the rich blue colour and the white and orange text. I also liked the blue-tinted sun beaming into the meeting room. I didn’t, however, get the significance of the meeting room. As friends pointed out, it is a place where futures are created, decisions are made, and actions are taken. This is true for private and public businesses around the world. I didn’t get that this is an universal image of change and progress.

I tested the cover on everyone and almost everyone liked it. Many even said they loved it. It was a hit. They like the modern look of the room and thought the bank of windows suggested unlimited possibility. They saw the sun as a symbol of a new day where anything could happen and the empty chairs were seats that the reader could take, where he or she could build a better future. The cover represented hope, aspiration and confidence. It represented Change with Confidence.

My Wiley team members were extremely understanding of my request for more design options even though they all loved the cover. They were equally supportive when I finally realized that the one they had expertly designed was the perfect cover for Change with Confidence. What a team. 

The book jacket is a beauty, too. Here is a breakdown of each panel from left to right:

  1. Back Inner Flap: Author’s photograph and bio
  2. Back Cover: Front cover image and testimonials form people I admire
  3. Front Cover: Title, image, author’s name and publisher’s imprint
  4. Front Inner Flap: Overview of book and sample content


I dropped into Hudson Booksellers in Newark Airport on Monday night to study the business book covers that lined the wall. I noticed a range of styles from full-page author photos to all-text covers. I was pleased that there was only one blue cover.  I was also pleased that Change with Confidence would stand out from the rest. It was a cover that could entice the reader to pick it up. It was the perfect cover for Change with Confidence.

Phil

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

Who owns that voice in my head?

I received my first publisher rejection notice this week from the nicest man in the world. My book topic is too specific for the portfolio, however, the proposal was promising and I received some great new contacts to explore. Of all the rejections I may receive, this one will be the best.

My “look on the bright side” perspective is opposite  to how I interpreted not getting a call back from a friend of a friend who works at a publishing house. As the weeks slipped by, I slid from “she is busy” to “she isn’t interested” to “she hates me.” I was aghast when I noticed last night that my email had bounced back and not been delivered. Why did the voice in my head go to the dark side? Why did it move me to the darkest part of the dark side? Why didn’t I check my delivery failure folder? Who owns that negative voice in my head?


I own that voice in my head and am accountable for my perspectives, emotions, and actions. Negativity drains your energy and slows you down. It nudges you off course and blocks your creativity.  I am putting the following mechanisms  in place so this doesn’t happen again.

  • Check my delivery failure folder to make sure my email was received
  • Use more than one method of contact (email, phone, LinkedIn, etc.)
  • Communicate when and how I will make contact again (“I will follow up/call you next week…”)
  • Record each communication and follow up date on my calendar
  • Increase the number of contacts to gain momentum and lessen the impact of each one
  • Assume positive intent
The last one is the most powerful and attacks the negative voice at it’s core. It’s an ongoing battle.
Phil

The Power of Visualization

My first exposure to self help business books was in 1995 when I borrowed an audio cassette (it was 1995 after all) series called Self-Esteem and Peak Performance by Jack Canfield, of Chicken Soup for the Soul fame. He discussed many concepts that are now standard self help fare. 

I had forgotten about Jack until I received an email last week from Steve Harrison, a marketer who is partnering with him on a “how to get published and sell tonnes of books” program. I watched a few promotional videos and Jack is the same likable and knowledgeable guy. 

He shared a few tips that I remember from his earlier program. The one that stands out is visualization. This is a technique of forming a positive mental image of a goal being achieved. An Olympic swimmer might visualize touching the pool wall before his competitors or a home renovator visualize her fully furnished new kitchen. The theory states that when you can see your desired outcome you will both consciously and unconsciously take actions that will move you toward that goal. 

Since visualization has helped me in the past I thought I would try it with my book. I chose to visualize the cover because it’s the most powerful image of the final product. After studying recent business book covers I decided on the following design principles:

  • Bold text that is easy to read
  • One graphic that is a metaphor for the title
  • Only a few colours

It felt strange creating a cover for a book that has not yet been published. It also felt good. Like all things creative, it was fun too. I hope the New York Times doesn’t mind my unauthorized use of their brand on my unauthorized cover.

What have been the benefits of visualizing my book’s cover? It has become a mental hub for all elements of my book, including content, format, tone, and benefits, which helps me discuss them as a cohesive whole. It also has made my book more real and complete, which is a very motivating. And it’s been exciting, which suggest that there is more excitement to come! 

Phil

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