Acting on 1 Idea (Guest Post by Chris Taylor)

Chris Taylor gave me the nudge I needed to start acting on all the books I read. Here’s some background on what he does, and why.
I’m including the feature-length version of Chris’ bio because it’s so cool.

By the time he was 22 years old, Chris was leading a sales team of 120 independent contractors. His team consistently ranked in the top three productivity offices of roughly one-thousand North American teams. He attributes his team’s consistently high performance to a relentless focus on leader and culture development.

Chris left Direct Sales in 2006 to pursue his passion of leadership and team culture development on a larger scale, and founded Actionable Books in 2008. ActionableBooks.com – a company dedicated to using business books as a platform for leader and team growth – earned Chris 2009’s Entrepreneurial Spirit Award, a shortlisting for PROFIT’s Fuel Awards (2011) and has been the topic of articles in the Globe & Mail, Toronto Star and Toronto Business Times, as well as an audio interview for Profit Magazine’s BusinessCast.

In 2010, Chris launched “Actionable Interviews” a video interview series with best selling business book authors and leading thinkers in the business space. To date he’s conducted 42 interviews for the series, with highlights including Seth Godin, Dan Pink, Susan Cain and Sir Ken Robinson. It’s through these conversations that Chris developed The Salaried Entrepreneur™; an innovative team development methodology that’s being used internationally by companies large and small.

Chris currently lives in Spain with his wife, Amy.

What Question Can You Answer Best? (Guest Post by Phil Wrzesinski )

I’ve known Phil for some time. His intense love for his family sometimes outshines the fact that he is a brilliant marketer and incredible teacher.

?My first book started writing itself the day a local childcare owner asked me, “Phil, I shop a lot, and I have to say, your store has the best customer service I’ve ever encountered. What is your secret?”

The short answer was simple. I hire good people.

She pressed me further. “Can you do a presentation to our Child Care Association about it?”

Sure.

Now I needed a longer answer. Fortunately, the answer was there and pretty soon I had a presentation and the outline for a book.

The funny thing is that I never set out to write a book. I think the book had a life of its own, born when the question was asked. At least a dozen times throughout the process I wondered what made me think I was capable of writing a book. Mostly I ignored that thought and kept writing. After all, I was just answering a question.

Your business has the answer to a question, too. There is something you do better than most other businesses. You have a philosophy, a reason, a method for why you do what you do and how it makes your business better. It may be one of your own design, or one you stole from someone else, or one you pieced together from several sources. Someone has probably already asked you why or how you do what you do.

You just have to start writing it down.

My second book started the same way – with a question.

… more … “What Question Can You Answer Best? (Guest Post by Phil Wrzesinski )”

A Fractured Fairy Tale and a Moral Guessing Game

Howard Pyle illustration from the 1903 edition of The Story of King Arthur and His KnightsOnce upon a time in a place you’ve never heard of, a young man seeking fame and fortune and a beautiful wife had the bad fortune to get sucked into a Ponzi scheme which left him penniless.

Rather than die of starvation and exposure, he agrees to marry an ugly crone for her money. He pretends, of course, that this is a noble act; that he, in fact, is giving her a gift by overlooking her hideous countenance.

On their wedding night, he returns from his dressing room to find a beautiful maiden in his bed. Immediately, he leaps into bed with her, whereupon she wallops him in the noggin.

“Hey! Aren’t you curious where your wife is?”

… more … “A Fractured Fairy Tale and a Moral Guessing Game”

Commonsense zero-cost DIY marketing for authors

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/784024 by H Berends http://www.sxc.hu/profile/hberendsI mentioned this a few days ago.

It’s a book, but first, it’s a project.

I believe that the marketing methods which have made my businesses successful will work for my books — but I haven’t tested them yet. (Alex Zabala, author of Treasure of the Mayan King certainly has. Over 3,000 sales to date.)

I need to test and prove these methods, using anodyne as a guinea pig. When I know what works and what doesn’t, I’ll codify it in the book which will be called, surprise, Commonsense Zero-Cost DIY Marketing for Authors.

Here’s Where You Come In

What have you tried that didn’t work? What worked, but not well enough? What have you heard of folks doing, and wonder about it?

Please, tell me anything and everything you think or believe or don’t believe or tried when it comes to marketing your book. Wild or conventional, curious or convinced, tested or tempting.

I have hundreds of ideas, but it’s easy to create an echo chamber, especially if you’re someone who talks REALLY LOUD like me. I want more than my own ideas to experiment with.

Critique Groups: Be Afraid?

Trojans. Can't live with 'em, can't burn them at the stake.It’s terrifying, sharing your art with other people for the first time. I remember one of the earliest songs I wrote for my Best Beloved, who practically worships the water I walk on, so a positive response was essentially guaranteed.

Fail. Couldn’t do it. I had to sit in a chair around the corner so I couldn’t see her while I sang. (I’d done pub gigs where I played and sang for 4 hours, so it’s not shyness, believe me.)

How on earth can you ever share your art with a critique group? You know, those people who think you want their feedback?
… more … “Critique Groups: Be Afraid?”