Over the years Infinite Ideas has published dozens of books with businesses and the research we’ve done shows that a printed book is a unique promotional tool. We found that out of ten thousand consultants in the UK 72% of respondents claimed that as a result of being published recognition of their brand increased; nearly 60% claimed that they picked up more speaking events after being published and 65% stated that being published gained them more clients. That’s quite compelling, and it supports some of our own anecdotal evidence. One Infinite Ideas author gained a six figure consulting contract as a result of his book being bought at an airport bookshop; another ended up as a speaker at the World Economic Forum at Davos two years in succession.
Many authors think that writing their book is hard work but soon find that writing is the easy part! There’s no point putting all those evening and weekend shifts in on your book if you then fail to work it to increase sales and brand awareness, and that requires a degree of diligence and innovation. Your publisher will (or should) work hard to secure presence in bookshops and generate media coverage but can do very little to access the constituency that has already bought into your brand – your clients, audiences and followers. So here are some tips for maximizing the impact of your book.
- Send a signed complimentary copy with a personal, handwritten letter to all your clients and prospects. Explain why you have written the book and how you think it will help them specifically. Individualize each letter as far as you can. Writing it by hand rather than typing strengthens the impression that you have taken the time to think about the person who is reading it and their business or professional needs. Nobody gets excited by a generic template.
- Send a copy to each of your media contacts with a note pointing out aspects of the book that you think are newsworthy. In a recent survey 32% of people said they bought a book because they were influenced by reviews in newspapers, magazines and online, so you can’t afford to ignore it. Once again, your publisher should be working the media but you will need to fill in the gaps. So find out what they are doing and work with their PR to generate maximum exposure. Journalists get hundreds of approaches a week so yours needs to stand out and there’s no better way of doing that than by personal contact. If you don’t have any media contacts ask friends and colleagues for theirs and use their names (with their permission) in the subject box of your emails.
- If you’re not already on the speaking circuit now’s the time to start. Speaking engagements are a priceless channel for selling your book. Ideally you should build a free copy for each delegate into the fee you get for the event. If that’s not possible take some books to sell (and make sure you have a facility for taking payment). At the very least you should have some fliers available that give your audience details of your latest book, preferably with a discount. If you have impressed your audience many will want a souvenir of the event and what could firm up your relationship with these potential new clients better than a signed copy of your book.
- Social media is (are) vital. Start promoting your book a few months prior to publication on Facebook and Twitter and encourage as many people as possible to become fans and share your book in their networks. These are more fun social networks and designed to give instant gratification. To stay relevant create a hashtag that is unique to your brand and use it every time you post a tweet or an update. This should develop momentum and you will be able to monitor whether people are responding to your contributions. You should also explore Tumblr and Pinterest which are particularly good at being visually stimulating and easily shared. Make sure the pictures you associate with your brand and your book are relevant to the content, otherwise you may end up with the wrong types of followers, those who are not likely to benefit from reading your content. It’s good to link your posts to what is currently trending, but always link back to why that is relevant to your book.
If your book is designed to promote your business you must engage fully with LinkedIn, which is an essential networking tool. Join groups on LinkedIn that relate to your business. It is an excellent space to share newsworthy items that can help with careers, and members are likely to respond if you write a blog post and share it (always with a link to your book at the end). Promote thoughtful content that gets people to engage with the ideas in your book and engages them in discussion. Reach out to people who you think could endorse your book, such as leaders in your particular field, or an author of a competing title. You don’t get any medals for wanting to do all of this alone.
There’s much more that you can do of course, and I’ll be returning to this subject with more techniques to market your work. Meanwhile we have written two books which are available free on www.infideas.com
We love to talk to authors about their books. If you want to have an informal chat, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how we can help you out.
Last week celebrated cross-cultural management guru Fons Trompenaars rose in the influential Thinkers50 global ranking of business thinkers. Trompenaars climbed to 33rd place partly due to his recent book, written with Charles Hampden-Turner, Nine Visions of Capitalism but mainly, according to Stuart Crainer who created Thinkers50 with Des Dearlove in 2001, due to a significant increase in citations of his work during the last two years.
The Thinkers50 ranking, often described as the Oscars of management thinking, is a celebration of the very best new management thinking as well as those ideas which stand the test of time. Crainer says he is looking for “ideas with a potential impact that extends beyond the business world to address issues ranging from reducing poverty to building a sustainable model of capitalism.”
Trompenaars’ success shows the value to consultants of publishing paradigm-shifting content in an accessible, peer-reviewed context. Self-publishing seems not to have the credibility of commercially published works. Barry Gibbons, former Global CEO of Burger King and author of ten acclaimed business books says: “A published book (accent on ‘published’) can bring a string of powerful indirect benefits. It can boost a CV. It can take the place of a business card, with 1000 times the impact. It can open up lucrative speaking or consulting opportunities. It can enhance an author’s reputation in a defined target market.”
Trompenaars’ ideas on cross-cultural development have been published widely in reviews such as Harvard Business Review and Intercultural Management Quarterly but he has also had a major impact with books like 100+ Management Models: How To Understand And Apply The World’s Most Powerful Business Tools, Servant Leadership across cultures and The global M&A tango: How To Reconcile Cultural Differences In Mergers, Acquisitions And Strategic Partnerships. Most of Trompenaars’ books are jointly published by Infinite Ideas in the UK and McGraw-Hill in the US.
Trompenaars and his team have developed a unique resource in the cross-cultural and other databases they have developed over thirty years. He adopts a measurement and data-driven approach to benchmark, inform, advise and diagnose client problems and provide practical solutions. He maintains that organizations need stability and growth, long-term and short-term decisions, tradition and innovation, planning and laissez-faire. The challenge is to integrate these opposites, not to select one at the expense of the other. You have to inspire as well as listen, to make decisions yourself but also delegate and you need to centralize your organization around local responsibilities. Trompenaars’ work is unique in that his focus has been to use his research on culture to find reconciliation of differences rather than simply identifying them.
John Naisbitt, author of Megatrends, described Nine Visions of Capitalism as “an important and brilliant book. With deep insights on China, it helps us understand a world undergoing extraordinary change.” Trompenaars recently sold his business, Trompenaars Hampden-Turner, to KPMG for an undisclosed sum. It is impossible to calculate the effect of these deep insights in the books and articles on the sale price but it’s fair to say that Trompenaars’ global Thinkers50 ranking which itself depends so heavily on publishing gave it a significant push in the right direction.
Infinite Ideas is thrilled to announce that Game of Thrones on Business by Tim Phillips and Rebecca Clare has been shortlisted in the ‘commuter read’ category for the CMI Management Book of the Year. This award selects the very best in management writing to promote the Management Gold gold standard for books.
We’re thrilled to be on a list among such great writers and publishers. Our inclusion reflects the continuing success of our mission to publish high quality books on business, management and leadership and promote the idea that management writing is essential to good business practice.
Game of Thrones on Business aims to combine popular culture with management lessons. It’s a great book to dip into on the bus or the train on the way to work and offers excellent advice in bitesize chapters. Jon Snow may know nothing but we can guarantee that after reading our book, you will be clued up on how to approach business situations from another angle and tackle problems head on.
It’s Super Thursday in the publishing world, which is a bit like Christmas morning for us. We’re off to the bookshops after work to see all the beautiful, colourful covers adorning the tables like waking up and seeing what Santa has brought us. Naturally we already have bookshelves at home heaving with unread tomes and we look forward to adding to the large stacks that we may take to the beach next year. What can we say, we like choice.
Infinite Ideas does not have a book released this year, however we do have a super exciting Christmas list. There really is something for everyone from business stocking-fillers, to leadership lessons for the business aficionado in the family. However, the title that we are most excited about is all about Christmas or, more precisely, Yule. Catherine Cooper’s new book, The Wichen Tree, will be published at the end of November and is another very exciting Jack Brenin adventure.
Jack, having grown up in Greece, has never seen snow so this Yule is especially exciting for him as well as coming across many magical creatures and places in the lead up to Christmas.
If you’re new to this series, the first book, The Golden Acorn, is available for free on Kindle. There’s just enough time for you to dive into this magical series before the fifth book comes out. We’re nice like that, we thought we’d give you a bit of extra time to get hooked on the series! If you’re already a fan, then there’s still time to put it on your Christmas list and mark it on your calendar as there are just over six weeks until you can get your hands on this great book.
Also, the cover is very cool and very Christmassy, don’t you think? (Not that we’re endorsing getting this excited about Christmas already, but if other publishers are, then we will shamelessly jump on that bandwagon!)
Capitalism in crisis: top culture management gurus map the route to a fairer global economy
Capitalism has been in a state of crisis for nearly a hundred years. The effects of the stock market crash of 1929 were felt well into the 1950s. The turbulence in international currency markets in the late 1960s, which sparked worldwide street protests in 1968, was unresolved until the mid-1980s. And the avalanche of financial crises that followed the failure of Lehman Brothers in September 2008 is still falling on businesses, consumers and communities around the world. In the face of such evidence it would be easy to think that capitalism is a doomed system.
However in Nine visions of capitalism: unlocking the meanings of wealth creation authors Charles Hampden-Turner and Fons Trompenaars suggest otherwise. Capitalism does have a future, they say, but only if the standard Anglo-American model of capitalism is radically transformed. As the authors point out, creating wealth is much more than simply making money. They say, “A community is only better off when it creates wealth through the transformation of money into products and services and the transformation of these back into money via revenue received.” The current model of capitalism has led to a situation where the net worth of the world’s top 10 billionaires stands at over $500 billion, enough to end world poverty instantly twice over. But the global economy is not richer for the presence of billionaires if the money in their pockets has simply been transferred from those of other people.
So how can this failing model be fixed? Hampden-Turner and Trompenaars argue that accommodating diversity is a pre-requisite for the reinvention of wealth creation. China’s spectacular growth, the dynamism and flexibility of the Mittelstand of German-speaking economies, Singapore’s hybridization of East and West, the world’s vibrant immigrant communities and the drive for renewable energy offer different aspects of an authoritative and challenging blueprint for the future of capitalism. Finally, the authors draw on examples of innovation in capitalism such as the Conscious Capitalism movement in the US, the Cambridge Phenomenon in the UK and the Global Alliance for Banking on Values, which has members from Mongolia to Patagonia as well as the US and UK, to demonstrate what can be done to reinvigorate tired models, and provide a realistic, practical and powerful transformation agenda for the global economy.
About the authors
Management philosopher Charles Hampden-Turner was Senior Research Associate at the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge. The creator of Dilemma Theory and co-founder and Director of Research and Development at the Trompenaars Hampden-Turner Group in Amsterdam, he was Goh Tjoei Kok Distinguished Visiting Professor to Nanyang Technological University in Singapore in 2002–3 and Hutchinson Visiting Scholar to China in 2004. He is a past winner of the Douglas Mc Gregor Memorial Award and has received Guggenheim and Rockefeller fellowships. Fons Trompenaars is an organizational theorist, management consultant and bestselling author known globally for the development of the Trompenaars’ model of national culture differences. He was awarded the International Professional Practice Area Research Award by the American Society for Training and Development and Business magazine ranked him as one of the world’s top five management consultants. In 2013 he was ranked in the Thinkers50 of the world’s most influential management thinkers. He is the author or co-author of numerous books including Riding the Waves of Culture and 100+ Management Models.
Today, to mark the twentieth birthday of a small company that you might have heard of, called Amazon, the web retailer is launching its first ever Amazon Prime Day. In order to induce customers to sign up to the £79 a year service, benefits of which include free delivery on purchases and access to Amazon’s TV streaming service, they are being given exclusive offers in a promotion that Amazon claims has ‘more deals than Black Friday’. It all sounds like a pretty sweet deal from Amazon, which claims to be the ‘customer-centric company’.
But what does this all mean for the publishing industry? It may look great from a consumer point of view, with its exclusive free ebooks and highly discounted books (in much the same way that a worm on a hook looks great to a trout). Amazon is pushing the products at customers at prices that are incredibly attractive. But if it looks too good to be true then it might be worth taking time to think about just how Amazon is managing to make these offers. Take, for example, the summer read that everyone’s talking about, The Girl on the Train, which is selling on Amazon for £6, less than half of the RRP (£12.99). The Amazon price is much lower than that of the average paperback book in your local book shop, and no doubt when it is released in paperback, Amazon will reduce it further. How is Amazon making money on this product, and more importantly, how is the publisher?
Well it’s unlikely that Amazon is making much, if any, money on the discounted products. By heavily discounting books like this one and Go Set a Watchman, Amazon is creating loss-leaders that are drawing customers to the site in the hope that they will buy more products that aren’t so heavily discounted. More importantly it’s creating subscribers. The repeat subscription fee (yes, its cancellable but subscription retailers rely on something called inertia – cancelling involves action so only a small percentage will make the effort) and the easy marketing opportunities mean that Amazon can afford to give a few books away for peanuts.
(By the way, ever wonder why books are so ‘expensive’ (the average price for a non-discounted paperback is around £8.99)? There are quite a few parties involved in the creation and selling of a book and all of them need to make money from the deal. So, to name a few there is an author, the publisher, the printer, sales, marketing and distribution. Publishers have to sell books to retailers (such as Amazon) at a discounted price and this is one of the things that makes it possible for Amazon to sell books to customers at high discount. If the RRP of a book is lowered then the returns for the publisher are lessened. As it is books are often priced at a level where publisher margins are small – we’re talking levels that would make the Dragons’ Den investors say ‘I’m out’ right at the start.)
But we digress. The point is that when Amazon discounts greatly it is either not making any money itself or it’s asked the publisher for extra discount as payment for the huge level of publicity garnered through a prominent position in a big Amazon promotion. And don’t forget that Amazon sells many more things other than books. Heavily discounted books draw people in; the hope is that they leave with a more high value item as well. Amazon may not make money on books but as it sells other items it doesn’t have to. That’s not something you can say for your local book shop. Some people on the inside of publishing – publishers and competitor retailers – are unhappy with the pressure Amazon’s pricing puts on the industry. A new app has launched to combat the huge portion of market share that Amazon has, where you can compare their prices to those in your nearest bookshop.
As a small independent publisher, we cannot compete with such a giant. But we value content and we value authors and the time that it has taken us collectively to bring you the best books that we can produce. Perhaps you think that paying £8.99 for a paperback is excessive, but consider those behind the scenes before you rush to see how much Amazon has knocked off.
You might say we are conflicted when it comes to Amazon. We have a working relationship with the site. Given that it is a global brand, our customers are able to buy our books and ebooks through a very effective sales channel and yes, we admit that we use the site as well from time to time to buy books. But perhaps, rather than give all your sales to Amazon, you as a customer have the power to take your patronage elsewhere occasionally. Pop into your local independent bookshop, or visit your local chain. Touch and feel the books; you’re sure to get good advice from the booksellers too if you can’t decide on what to read next. The power is in your hands to redistribute the wealth of the market share. Enjoy your Prime Day deals, tell us whether you think it’s worth waiting for The Girl on the Train to be released in paperback or whether we should join the library waiting list, and when you see a bookshop, think of the publishers and the authors. We love books and value them – we’re not sure the same could be said for Amazon.