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.

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Rubbish looking books are selfish

How to make your book look rubbish

Get the free e-book "How to Make Your Book Look Rubbish" here:

Most self-published books are rubbish. Or at least they look like rubbish. By rubbish I mean garbage, trash, litter, junk, waste. Let’s take it further: excrement.

Some self-published books might have some good content in. They might. But who cares? They look like pap. Let’s face it. If the author couldn’t be bothered to package the content properly, what level of care do we assume went into the information contained within. Would you look forward to enjoying a sandwich if it was wrapped in toilet paper? You’d assume, quite rightly that there was a risk that the food was less than palatable, perhaps even poisonous. We judge a book by it’s cover too. And quite rightly so.

If you’ve ever bought an Apple product you know they have spent an awful lot of time and effort on making the unboxing of it a wonderful experience. The author of that cruddy looking self-published book didn’t give two hoots about your reading experience. All they cared about was their own content. How selfish is that?

They used to make me laugh. Now they make me sick. Here’s why.

Producing a cruddy book is selfish and arrogant. It’s as if the pig ignorant author is so haughty that they believe you should perceive them as an expert based on such flimsy evidence. It’s like they just couldn’t be bothered. But they would probably expect you to pay them extortionate fees for their consultant service or whatever new-media snake oil they’re flogging. Now they’re offering you something that’s going to lower the tone of your bookshelf.

It’s also selfish to the rest of us who really want to use self-publishing to deliver our excellent books to our audiences. The self-obsessed cheapskates are ruining the marketplace for us. Sooner or later, when people who hear your book was self-published may assume it’s total tut before they’ve even seen it.

This is why your books and products must not look like they are self-published. It’s not hard. You wouldn’t go to a business meeting dressed in a previously used big bag, so why send your expertise out in one?

Get the free e-book ‘How to Make Your Book Look Rubbish‘ here:

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Image is everything

Everyone loves the Royal Family. Or at least they do now. We saw that wonderful wedding. What a lovely couple. The Queen has gone to Ireland. What a nice old lady she is. It was only a month or so ago when nobody gave a monkey’s. So what’s changed? The Royal Family hasn’t changed. We’ve changed. We’ve changed the way we think about them. We’ve shifted our old view of staid, old and irrelevant to something else. They suddenly seem exciting, vital, relevant, nice.

So how did they do it? Was it by delivering clever sound bites? Was it great oration, wonderful storytelling? Was it by giving great case studies, testimonials? Was it by giving the top tips on this or that or the answers to some carefully compiled FAQs? Was it a re-telling of a story of triumph over adversity? Did they climb a mountain or win an award or medal? Did they have a hit record or tell some great jokes? Were they top TV pundits or political insiders? Was it particular industry information that they gave us or insight into the future? Was it tips on psychology, fitness or weight loss support? Did they deliver cutting edge info on NLP? Did they teach us how to sell, how to increase profits, be more creative, use social media?

No. They did none of these things. They did nothing. Said nothing. They just looked good.

You’re probably used to crafting your speech, delivering your training or providing your consultancy. But when it comes to your book, you need to really think, really think about image. Image makes people feel. If they don’t feel good, or whatever the relevant emotion is for the right state of mind for them to take on and read your book, it will all have been for nothing.

You have to start thinking like this or you’re just in the vanity publishing game. If you really think it’s all about the words you’ve written just email it to your readers. Just take it down the local photocopy shop and print out a load of copies of your Word doc and stick a spiral comb down the side. If you think image isn’t important why do you want to waste time making it into a book?

People judging a book by its cover? Forget that. The cover IS the book. The stuff in between is just padding whose sole purpose is to separate the front cover from the back.

Get the free e-book ‘How to Make Your Book Look Rubbish‘ here:

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:

7 tips on what not to do when commissioning a designer

1. Vague meaningless brief

Giving a wide or vague brief won’t get more creativity out of your designer. It will get less. The designer will freeze and produce only safe and conservative ideas.

2. Imposed restrictiveness

A brief needs to restrict. That’s what it’s there for, to say what you want and don’t want. But don’t put artificial restrictions on it such as ‘it must be red’ if there’s not a compelling reason that it should be. You’re just losing put on it being blue, or whatever which could work so much better, but you’d never know.

3. Demand free pitches

Would you want to do your work for free with the hope that after you delivered your service, you might get paid? Probably not and we should question designers’ abilities and motives who are prepared to work like this. Aren’t they good enough to get market rates for doing a proper job? Like everything, you get what you pay for.

4. Variety of decision makers

You’ll waste time and money if you go down a route of revision and change without consulting your real decision maker. You’ll so easily end up back at the beginning having wasted a load of effort.

5. Loose deadlines and unknown availability

Set reasonable deadlines and inform everyone involved. There’s no point in getting a design team to rush the job only to find the decision maker is away for two weeks. Unavailability like this can sometimes mean delivery deadlines missed. The job was done, but there was to-one around to sign it off.

6. Can we just…

Don’t assume that any and every change is simple and easy. A good designer will do what is necessary for the job to work, but saying “can I just… see it in blue” may mean hours of work.

7. Assume large prices equals more creativity and quality

A large agency with a wonderfully exquisite marble reception needs more money to keep operating. What proportion of you fee do you want to be spent on agency luxuries? It depends on the job. Placing what to you is an important and expensive job, costing you a few thousand to an agency whose average job is worth tens of thousands means you’re gong to go to the bottom of their attention pile. Your job will probably be handed to a junior where with a more modest agency, you’d get the creative director on your case. Chose the right kind of designers for the right kind of job. How much should you pay for a piece of work? Like anything you’d buy – shop around.