I recently published Building Brands: What really Matters to help entrepreneurs, small business owners and economic development professionals better understand how to strategically use branding to achieve their business goals. To date, the book has been exceptionally well received. It has a 4.8 out of 5.0 rating and some heart warming reviews.
My goal is to make the book as easily accessible as possible. To that end, I made the following decisions.
- Price the book low so it is hard to say no. I decided to price the eBook version under $10. I fixed the resultant royalty so the price differences for both the paperback and hardcover versions reflect only the cost of printing and shipping. Said another way, the absolute royalty is the same regardless of what version a reader purchases.
- Have the book reviewed by academic experts to credential the content. Prior to publication, I asked both Dr. Philip Kotler (creator of the 4P’s of marketing model) and Dr. Kevin Lane Keller to review the book. These two gentlemen are globally recognized globally as thought leaders in the subject of branding. Their favorable reviews are included in the book.
- Self-publish to ensure the content reflects my voice. I didn’t want book editors to change my words or thoughts. This is a book about my experience and I felt it would be best communicated in my words. I selected Kindle Direct Publishing as the platform. In part, because for Kindle Unlimited subscribers the eBook version is actually free.
In every branding exercise, unexpected learnings happen. Nothing ever goes exactly as planned. Here are a few of the unexpected things I have encountered and learned from to date.
- Marketing professors are assigning the book to students as a way of bringing a practitioner’s perspective on branding into the classroom. I had not even considered marketing professors as an initial target group for the book, so this was a pleasant surprise. My going-in target audience was entrepreneurs, small business owners and economic development professionals. I think use of the book in the classroom is genius! I believe professors are facilitating a discussion about the differences between how a practitioner views the subject with how the author of their textbook does. I can easily see how this discussion would deepen student’s understanding of the subject matter.
- Advertising Agencies are buying the book for their account executives to better understand how their clients think. This is another totally unexpected application of the book and one I believe makes perfect sense. The more account executives can understand hw a client thinks, the stronger the executive/client relationship becomes. After the book published, I was invited by a few local Agencies to speak at a lunch and learn and answer their questions. Several Agencies have actually decided to gift the book to their clients as a way to start a dialogue on additional services they might be able to provide.
- Businesses are buying the book for their Marketing Staff and subsequently having a team discussion on where their marketing plans might be strengthened. While I had hoped small business marketers would read the book, I hadn’t really thought about the potential to use it to find opportunities for improving existing plans. But, I think the approach makes perfect sense. If even one area is uncovered, the low cost of the book will have paid major dividends.
For perspective, Building Brands: What Really Matters has already outsold the lifetime average number for a self-published book. And while achieving that milestone in only 8 months is laudable, I can’t help but focus my sights on the large number of people yet to be served. I am hopeful readers will help me reach these people by sharing their thoughts through social media channels.
I am in the process of finalizing my new book – Building Brands: Making it Personal. This book will provide guidance and a blueprint for creating a personal brand to maximize your success.