Bryony Thomas knew exactly what she was doing when she wrote her bestselling book Watertight Marketing: 'Lots of people write a book and then go, "Now what?" I thought, "What do I want to be? Ah, a book's a good way of getting there."'
What she hadn't expected was the extraordinary community that she created, and the creative ways in which they've used her principles in their businesses. She reveals how she runs her community to maximise engagement and results, not just the businesses following her Watertight Marketing plan but also the consultants licensed to train her method.
As you'd expect from an author committed to revealing to readers how to create watertight marketing funnels, Bryony's own funnel from book to site to client engagement is perfectly executed, and I've learned a lot from simply walking through her process. She also has fascinating insight into how to use case studies for maximum impact, and the inestimable value of the post-it note.
This is a masterclass in embedding a book in a business for maximum impact.
Sometimes you're not just writing a book, you're starting a movement. That's what Malcolm Durham's aiming for with Wealthbeing, a new way of achieving and measuring success for a more balanced life. The book is the centre, but there's a whole raft of online and offline services around it. In the process, he also created a word that he'll be submitting for inclusion in the Oxford English Dictionary...
In this episode I speak to Brant Cooper, author of The Lean Entrepreneur - which was a crowd-funded book - and founder of Moves the Needle, about treating your book as a startup. Brant has some awesome practical examples and advice for business writers on identifying market segments and needs, building a community and testing out content and so much more. We also talk about how illustrations and format choices impact how we approach a book, and how authors can use other channels such as video to grow their readership.
When I first put out the call for recommendations for extraordinary business books, Gay Hendricks's The Big Leap was one of the titles that just kept coming up. When I read it I understood what all the fuss was about. The two central concepts - the 'Zone of Genius' and 'upper-limiting problems' - are immediately recognizable to any entrepreneur or business leader, and taken together they become a blueprint for understanding ourselves better and putting an end to self-sabotage.
In this interview - recorded in September 2015 - Gay Hendricks reveals how the book came into being, his writing habits, and his unorthodox approach to structure.
Melissa Hood is one half of The Parent Practice - with partner Elaine Halligan she has just been named one of the top parenting gurus in the UK by The Daily Mail. Her book Real Parenting for Real Kids, published by Practical Inspiration Publishing in April 2016, was described by Carl Honoré as 'a blueprint for building families that allow both parents and children to become their best selves. A wonderful book.'
But it nearly didn't happen. Melissa had been writing this book for more than six years when she started working with me on The Expert Author programme last year: in this interview we discuss how she overcame all the fears and doubts that had been holding her back, and how she assembled a team to support her through the writing and publication of the book that meant so much to her.
The Space Within: Finding your way back home is a very different type of business book. And to be fair, Michael Neill - transformative coach and mentor to CEOs and 'creative spark plug' to celebrities, CEOs and royalty - is no ordinary writer. If you're getting tired of chasing after the next 'how to do', if you're finding that no matter how many books you read or courses you take or videos you consume you're still restless and uncertain, this is probably the book for you. As you read it, you'll probably have the sensation that it's not so much telling you something new as reminding your of something you already knew, but had somehow lost or forgotten.
If you're struggling with ways to express your thinking, this will be a particularly helpful episode. We talk a lot about metaphor and the role of writing in balancing what it is you do without necessarily articulating it: 'putting words to the music', as Michael so beautifully puts it.
I don't have favourite episodes, obviously. But if I did, this would be one.
This week I'm interviewing Patrick McGinnis, the only other person I've ever met who broke the Myers-Briggs scale for extroversion. He's got some great tips on finding stories and integrating your book with your website, as well as some fascinating insights into the thinking behind his new work, The 10% Entrepreneur. In a world where no job is risk-free, this is a guide to carving out a portfolio life: balancing the security of the day job with the upside and fun of entrepreneurship.
Promoting your book is just as essential and can be just as creative as the writing of it. In this week's episode, book PR expert Ben Cameron shares a host of practical tips on what to keep in mind as you write your book to maximise your chances of getting effective media coverage once it's published. What do you need to take advantage of opportunities to promote your book, and how can you position yourself so that journalists come to you when the right story breaks?
Get the transcription of the interview over at www.extraordinarybusinessbooks.com.
In this episode, Rachel Bridge, author of Ambition, talks about reclaiming a word that's got a bad reputation. Over the years she has interviewed hundreds of the world's most successful people in all spheres of life and has found a remarkable consistency in their attitude and habits, and this book is based on two simple, central messages: that life is short and you are capable of so much more than you imagine. It's a powerful kick in the pants, and a great example of the 'journalistic' approach to writing.
There's also fascinating detail on how she goes about revising the first draft multiple times (her first reader is her mum!) and how to know when it's time to stop revising and ship the book.
If you're sceptical about social media, you might also be inspired by the story of how this interview came to happen at all: via the magic of Twitter.
Something a little different this week. Marcus Woodburn is Vice Presidents, Digital Products at Ingram Content Group, a company at the epicentre of the global book and ebook ecosystem. One of their most recent and most interesting acquisitions is Aer.io (formerly Aerbooks), which enables publishers and authors to sell their books natively on the social web and from their own sites (unlike Amazon's widgets, this is a direct sale and gives the seller access to the purchaser's data, which is vital for building a relationship for the future).
I think this is revolutionary - it turns the entire web into your shop front, and reduces the friction between the impulse and the decision to buy. It's even more exciting than that: you can create new versions of a book for specific channels, so for example you could create or customise a book for clients on a particular course.
It's live in the US but - frustratingly - not yet available in the UK and EU as Ingram are still ploughing through the Byzantine tax regulations that govern our markets. I'll be first in the queue to try it out on Practical Inspiration titles once it's live.
Marcus and I talk about how bookselling is changing, and the opportunities the new tools and channels open up for business book authors.
Natalie Reynolds, CEO of Advantage Spring and author of We Have a Deal, reveals the astonishing story behind the writing of her book (don't try this at home), the insecurities she overcame, what she learned about herself, how to know when it's time to write your own book, and why she decided to write about negotiation for people, not just women.
How to be a Productivity Ninja is one of the best-known books of its kind, packed with practical, sane advice about Getting Stuff Done in the way that works for you. In this episode Author Graham Allcott reveals the story behind it, including why he originally chose to self-publish and how the book works alongside his business, Think Productive.
Sherry Bevan is the author of The Confident Mother, published by Practical Inspiration last year, and a confidence coach for women. In this episode she talks to me about the extraordinary impact the practice of Morning Pages has had on her life and her writing, and enjoys turning the tables as she coaches ME on writing my own book!
Lots to report this week, with the Quantum Conference and London Book Fair coming up, but despite it all good progress on the book, with the working title and structure nailed down and (whisper it) the first few hundred words written.
In this the official launch episode of the Extraordinary Business Book Club podcast - published 4/4/16 - I interview a legend of business book writing: Michael E. Gerber, author of The E-Myth Revisited. This was the book everyone told me I had to read when I started up my own business, and they were right. Michael reveals how the book came about, how it's shaped his own business ever since, and gives some incredibly powerful, practical and challenging advice for anyone who wants to write a book that makes a change of that magnitude in the world. (This interview was recorded as part of the World-Changing Writers online summit in October 2015.)
At the other end of the scale entirely there's an update from me on how the post-its are proliferating...
In the second episode of the Extraordinary Business Book Club podcast I interview Caroline Ferguson on one of the most fundamental aspects of writing a business book - or indeed any book at all: mindset. What stops YOU from sitting down to write, from finishing your book, from getting it out there into the world? Stepping up to claim your expertise is scary, there's no doubt about it, and Caroline has some great advice to help overcome the fear and beat the procrastination that affects us all. (This interview was recorded as part of the World-Changing Writers online summit in October 2015.) I also give you an update on how I'm getting on with my book, including a disastrous 'first date' with my inner artist...
In this first episode of the Extraordinary Business Book Club podcast I introduce myself and the EBBC and explain what's so extraordinary about it: it's about extraordinary business books, of course, but it's also an extraordinary book club because it's designed for writers as well as readers of business books, it focuses on the process of writing and publishing just as much as the content of the books themselves, and includes insights from authors and a wide range of business and publishing professionals on how the book can work for the business in the information age.
If you're writing your own business book you're particularly welcome - join me as I start on my own very public book journey, getting advice and tips and giving you feedback on the tools and techniques I've been trying out week by week. I'd love to hear how you're getting on too!