The received wisdom is that if you have a book published – even if you self-publish – it somehow enhances your credibility and standing in the business community.
But is this true? I guess it depends, at least in part, on the quality of the writing, the subject matter, and the perceived usefulness of it to the average business reader.
It certainly sets you apart from all those who claim to be writing one, have one in their head, or just have vague ambitions to do so.
But even if you manage to get into print, can it do more harm than good? I delved into one offering recently and found it riddled with grammatical errors and typos, and while I realise that half the population (possibly a lot more) can’t tell the difference between ‘its’ and it’s’, I venture to suggest that key decision makers are still sufficiently edumecated to leave them less than impressed.
If you can’t write half-decent English, why should I trust your opinions and views on [insert subject matter here]?
Why am I introducing such a subject matter now? Because (quelle surprise) I am just about to self-publish a tome of my own. It’s been trailed often enough in previous editions of The Bugle, so if you’re a loyal reader, not only will you be aware of its imminence, you may already have read selected excerpts, courtesy of my blog, where I’ve been publishing advance chapters for some time.
Only chapter one remains there now in its entirety, though there are snippets from the next seven chapters too. If you want the rest, you’ll have to pay!
To be honest, when I started writing a memoir of everything that had happened during the relatively short life (12 years + pre- and post-) of Marketing Principles, the agency I co-founded in 1986, it was mainly to get things off my chest, in as entertaining a way as possible.
It was only as I got into it properly that it dawned on me that, in my current role as business coach/mentor/advisor/consultant, there were potential and valuable lessons to be learned here too.
One person who has read it all describes the content as part memoir, part business handbook, part comic novel, which makes it difficult to categorise, and which is maybe one reason why no mainstream publisher would take it on (or maybe they just hated it.) Hence I am self-publishing, using my own imprint, Hilltop Publishing, which did publish a few novels ten years ago, but has been in limbo since the death of my wife (whose business it was).
If you want to get a feel for it, chapter one is available on my Blog: http://www.hilltopconsultancy.co.uk/blog/chapter-one
You will be able to buy direct from the consultancy web-site using PayPal from June 1st (I hope!), or from the usual alternatives. It has an official ISBN number (978 0 9536850 6 6) so you can order from your local bookshop: they need all the support they can get. It will be on Amazon too: I can’t say I’m a fan, as a publisher, even though I use it all the time as a consumer – you can’t beat it for price or service – but the discounts they demand and the cost of supplying physical books mean I make a loss (yes, you read that right) on every unit I supply, unless it sells in big numbers. Think that’s not a long-term viable business model?
Which is why it will also be available as an e-book, which will be profitable, because there are no production or distribution costs.
Entitled “The Unprincipled” (after the scurrilous in-house newsletter our creatives took to producing occasionally to debunk any of our employees who … oh, just anyone who worked for us, including me), it catalogues the key events in a 15-year period, from planning a breakaway business – initially a sales promotion agency – to its eventual sale, and what happened afterwards.
It’s a doubly appropriate title because of the many unprincipled things that occurred before, during and after the short life of the business. So, given its ‘warts and all’ description of the many failings, as well as significant successes, of our management team, will it do anything to enhance my reputation as a business advisor? Perhaps you’d better be the judge of that, if you can be bothered to read it.
Published by Hilltop Publishing on June 1st, ISBN 978 0 9536850 6 6, you can buy direct through www.hilltopconsultancy.co.uk. Quote ‘Bugle’ on your order form, and I’ll send you a (signed, if you want it) copy for £7.00, instead of the published price of £9.99. (It is a 320-page roller-coaster, and the same dimensions as most hard-backs by the way, in case you think that price is a bit minty.)
David Croydon: 01844 238692 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org