Welcome to our latest fortnightly eBulletin, posted here on 3 March 2020. In this issue:
A full page advert in a recent Bookseller magazine caught my eye. It took the form of an ‘interview’ with ‘Chinese Furniture Industry Magnate and Author Che Jianxin’ about his English language book Work is Life. The stated aim of the beaming and confident Che, one of China’s richest men, is to reach ‘overseas furniture industry colleagues and readers’.
Quite how he’s going to manage this is a mystery. There is no publisher mentioned, no ISBN number, no publication date or price. ‘Readers at BookExpo America, the Moscow International Book Fair and Frankfurt Buchmesse were drawn to Work is Life’, the advertorial concludes. ‘[It] will also appear at this year’s London Book Fair.’ I guess we’ll never know whether it did or not, since the article gives no clue as to where we might find it.
I think it’s safe to assume that the book has been self-published by an author with deep pockets but no clue as to HOW potential readers find out about books. I couldn’t resist searching for it online, unearthing only similarly vague articles about Mr Che, and odd references to Pace University Press (which turned out not to be the publisher, not yet anyway). No social media presence (he is Chinese, after all), no trace on Amazon.
Is it really possible for an author not to realise that for readers to follow up there has to be a source to direct them to? The answer has to be yes, assuming that Mr Che didn’t set out to frustrate readers hanging off his every word. Authors are always passionate about their book and believe that this will somehow broadcast itself via osmosis. Sadly those of us in the business know that more prosaic tactics need to be deployed, starting with ISBN numbers, bibliographic data feeds, and URLs.
Our Introduction to Marketing in Publishing Workshop is designed to provide a contextual overview of the realities of publishing – with some entertaining examples along the way.
If you can’t resist some searching of your own, and if you have better luck at finding Mr Che’s book, do drop me an email to email@example.com. The challenge is on!
Read Mr Che’s advertorial for yourself.
This is one of the most common challenges I hear from participants on copywriting training courses. Addressing it by editing what you have can certainly be effective, but it’s not guaranteed, and you can introduce confusion when sentences are conflated. It’s better (and may even be quicker) to step away and critique the purpose of the copy before rebuilding it.
Try imagining that you’re giving a short presentation on the topic. You have just 3 or 4 slides, you need them to progress naturally, and you need to be warm and entertaining to win your audience’s attention. Look at the original copy again and highlight (or jot down) headings and bits of content that would work, from stand-out surprising facts, to visual anecdotes.
Going through this process can be a really useful way of finding an appropriate tone, improving the structure of the copy, and being bolder/more radical.
Read more about our Copywriting Workshop.
Several of our training courses just need a further booking or two to run in London in May or June. If you (or a colleague) would like to join us for one of these, get in touch now and we’ll consult you before setting the date.
NB: If you’re concerned about booking now because of the coronavirus outbreak you might like to know that invoices for training places are only raised a month before the course date.
Introduction to Marketing in Publishing
Email Marketing Workshop
Practical Publicity Workshop
Online textbook resources often need to be activated by entering a code printed on the cover of the physical book. Pretty straightforward, you might think. But, says Tamsin Hart from Cambridge University Press, they’d recently discovered that some teachers were attempting to scratch off the printed codes ... Thank goodness for UX testing (usability testing) which will always reveal what we can’t ourselves see.
This discussion happened on an in-house Copywriting Workshop in Cambridge last month. Get in touch if you’d like to find out more about bringing a tailored version of this course to you.