Alignment by Rod Sloane

alignment rod sloane

Rod is a speaker on marketing and sales alignment. It’s an area of emerging importance in larger organisations. He wanted a book that positioned his expertise clearly in that area. His previous book ‘No Bull Marketing’ was aimed at small business so wasn’t a tool he could use to promote his corporate offering. Before we got together, Rod had made the unusual and brave decision of actually writing a book and then jettisoning it when he realised it wasn’t going to do the job. So when we started on the project together we really id begin again with a blank page with no attempt to shoehorn the previous material into it and use just because it was there.

The point we started from was clear: what was the purpose of the book. Everything must come from that. If it doesn’t and you’ just want a book’ – that’s vanity publishing. It’ll briefly feed your ego but won’t promote your expertise or make any sales.

The sole purpose of this new book was to promote Rod as THE speaker on the topic, to open door to the decision makers and to tip the decision of who to book for training and conference speaking opportunities in his favour.

Alignment Rod Sloane

So how did we do it? I normally ask clients to bring along a selection of books they admire from their own collection. It helps us gauge what works and what doesn’t, what the client likes, as well as trends in various genres. Rod didn’t bring four or five books. He brought fifty. We played a simple game wit them. I asked him to assume he had never read any of the books. I asked him to assume he had never heard of any of the authors of the books. I asked him to assume that each book represented a speaker who was pitching to speak at an event he was organising (where the actually topic wasn’t relevant). Then I asked him to decide just by picking up and putting down each book, which ones he would be interested in booking. Clearly we were judging each book on the look and feel they gave off in just two to three seconds.

We got through the fifty books very, very quickly. Rod did what almost everyone does in these situations. He looked at the cover. He turned the book over and looked at the back cover. Then he flicked through the pages from back to front. He then put the book down making comments such as, “too boring”, “old hat”, “style over substance”, “sloppy”, “tedious”. What he was doing, is what most people do: judge. We make judgements all the time, subconsciously and intuitively. He was making the (false) assumption that the book in his hands directly represented the performance and quality of the author and their possible talk. Actually, it’s usually quite an accurate indicator, but that’s not the point here. It’s the assumption that’s important here. Rod assumed that cramped info and difficult to understand diagrams in the book meant hard to understand Powerpoint slides in a presentation. He assumed that a book full of waffle represented a speaker full of waffle. Out of the fifty books we were left with two that he would book for his imaginary event. Of those two we chose one that had an approach suitable for our needs. We then dissected that book to discover why it had worked and built as many of those learnings into our new book.

Rod uses the book as a marketing tool. He sends it to some of his top prospects. The idea works – the right people are impressed. The easy to digest nature, the imagery and the small size have all been appreciated by the top executives that Rod is aiming his material at. It’s resulted in some high level bookings that he would not have been able to get had the book not been there to open the door.

Call us today on +44(0)1865 779944 to discuss how we can turn your expertise into a brand or create a book with selling power.

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Improv and Reading People by John Cremer

Reading People John Cremer

What was most remarkable about this project was that it was done so quickly. Within four weeks of our discussion and agreement, John had written the book, I’d designed and set it, we ordered a batch and he had them in his hands. That timescale is very quick, probably too quick, but it does show what can be done when decisions are made. It also highlights the beauty of self-publishing, that the deadlines are your own. The only delay to you having and using your product to further your success and make money with it – is you.

John Cremer is an improvisation expert and performer. He had recently turned his expertise into training workshops which had proved successful with chief executive groups. He created new material on a new topic of ‘Reading People’ where some personality attributes and motivational characteristics can be gleaned from and understanding of the physicality of the body. He came to me to ask for help to brand this new programme. Although it sounded complex it can be explained very simply. But the danger there was that we made it too simple that it got confused with other systems or with the study of body language.

The approach we took was to treat the material as ‘ancient wisdom’, which the essence of it was, and brand it classically to reflect that. The device used for the cover of the book comprises a glass ball with engraved metal surround. The idea was that it hinted at being some kind of device like an alethiometer or the Antikythera mechanism. The background of purple velvet reflected the type of material you would find lining a wooden box that housed such a device.

Improv John Cremer

The purpose of the book was to sell at the back of the room after John’s events as well as use as a promotion tool to gain a wider audience for the programme. It worked: John recouped the cost of design and production within a month from extra workshop sales as well as doing the same again from profit from sales of the book. The fact that Reading People became a usable brand for John meant that all his promotional materials carried the purple velvet and the gold; his website, business cards and exhibition banners and marketing flyers.

It was such a success that we did the same for his previous product, Improvisation. A decision had been made early on that unlike many professional speakers we decided to brand the programme Reading People, i.e. the expertise, and not John himself. The brand puts the expertise first with John’s name as almost a signature. This strengthened the product and made it straightforward to add a second offering. ‘Improv’ became the second book. Like the first it took the same classical approach. We created a new device, a gold embossed symbol of ‘the fool’ stepping out into the unknown. The velvet was retained but the hue shifted to blue.

This book was an even bigger success than the first. It helped strengthen John’s approach to improvisation as a relevant creative tool for big business: you need to be able to think of your feet, accept change, stay positive and be able to perform well in the most stressful of situations.

The books we created help John to prove that his expertise is not only of interest to business, but actually essential. The brands position him as the most unique, definitive and most able expert to deliver those messages.

Call us today on +44(0)1865 779944 to discuss how we can turn your expertise into a brand or create a book with selling power.

Turn your Blog into a book: 

Book Ayd to speak at your event.
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How to Beat Bedlam in the Boardroom and Boredom in the Bedroom by Jane Gunn

Bedlam Boardroom Jane Gunn

Jane Gunn is a lawyer and speaker on conflict resolution as ‘the Corporate Peacemaker’. her book was a comprehensive collection of her expertise on how to resolve conflict in the boardroom in business and at home with family and personal relationships. The concept of the book is that the two are inter-related; problems in the office affect relationships at home and vice-versa.

The title came early on. It’s long and a bit of a tongue twister for some. But as Jane was writing the early drafts of the book, the title seemed to resonate with those she was working with. It’s weaknesses of being long and odd made it stand out. It also gave an impression alluding to something salacious. This too became an advantage.

Jane was keen that the book had a solid feel. After all, the topic was serious and her reputation and experience was in law, quite a sensible and serious profession. As the brand for the book was going to be, from the start, used by her to promote her speaking, it had to straddle this respectable ‘weight’, with the novelty of the Bedroom/Boardroom metaphor and Jane’s personal brand. The result was to wrap the book in what looks like black leather. It give it a seriousness and alludes to the depth of legal expertise that the book draws on. The other colours on there are gold and pink. They certainly stand out and give a hint of the quirkiness and personality of the way the book is written.

Jane Gunn

When the title for the book is written out as a sentence it can be perceived as being ‘difficult to read’. This is of course a nonsense. It’s no harder to read than any other sentence. What’s different here is that the title is not short and punchy. This means that the brain can’t capture it in one glance and process it. You have to actually read it. So it’s not difficult to read – it just needs to be read. By stacking the words in the square block I managed to mitigate this. So now a glance at the book gave you the black leather, the gold and pink and a block ‘logo’ of text with Bedroom and Boardroom prevalent.

Inside the book, the layout is clear, clean and fresh. Flicking through, the potential reader sees that the book is easy to read and yet has a lot to read. The separate sections of personal stories, information and examples of bedroom and boardroom mishaps and solutions are clearly delineated with attractive use of boxes and shading. It proves that in most cases, a lot can be done with good typography and greyscale within a business book. There is often no call for colour unless images depend upon it.

With the production of the book we opted for a couple of extra features that helped add gravitas. They are small things but have really contributed to the success of the book. The cover is matt laminated. It feels cool and smooth to the touch. The logo block has a shiny coating (applied by a process known as UV). This means when you run your fingers over the cover you ‘feel’ the difference in finish as well as see it. The pink on the cover was applied as a ‘spot’ colour, i.e.. a pure ink rather than a colour mixed from the four colour process. This has a subtle advantage of making the pink brighter than it otherwise would have been.

The other treat that the book employs is that the cover has 100mm flaps folded inside. This not only allows more surface area for colour (we added a large portrait photo of Jane, and varnished that with UV too) but it also thickens the cover giving an impression that you are really holding a hard back book and not a paperback.

Call us today on +44(0)1865 779944 to discuss how we can turn your expertise into a brand or create a book with selling power.

Turn your Blog into a book: 

Book Ayd to speak at your event.
For more interesting info see: