We are grateful that clients all over the world favor us with their confidence. While it’s well known that we help for-profit companies, non-profits, social enterprises, and high net-worth individuals with their tax planning and compliance, wealth planning, corporate and governance issues, intellectual property protection, and business decisions, we are equally proud of our ability to help our clients grow. Increasingly, we are helping fuel growth by helping our clients become authors.
We believe in publishing books as a key tool in reaching desired audiences and driving business growth. Our client authors are using book publishing to communicate with stakeholders, call audiences to action, and grow their platforms and businesses.
Part of our success stems from leveraging every possible opportunity to connect with key audiences. While most authors know they need to develop a strong, creative, long-term marketing plan well before their book’s publication date—and, after publication, to execute that plan with passion and determination—too many authors miss some of the simplest and best promotional opportunities of all: the ones inside the book itself.
Starting with the title, subtitle, and design of the front cover, and continuing through to the endorsements, product description, and bio on the back cover, both the printed book and the e-book offer a number of promotional opportunities for the savvy author:
Title and subtitle: Among the steps we take for our clients in crafting compelling titles: prioritize key audiences, compile a rank-order keyword list, and search competitive titles.
Cover design: Similarly, choose the front cover design that best resonates with your highest-priority key audiences. While it’s important that you like the design, it’s crucial that the design appeals to your target buyers.
Typography: Having a clearly defined understanding of the expectations of your audience and the look and feel that will resonate should help you choose the right interior design—and avoid turning off potential buyers by choosing the wrong design.
Front matter: For many books, we recommend turning typical front matter into back matter, and shifting elements that traditionally appear in the first few pages—like the copyright page, acknowledgments, and author bio—to the very end of the book.
Foreword: The foreword is one of the most important strategic tools; when chosen wisely, the foreword can enhance your credibility with your most important audiences.
Brand elements: Consider including graphical references to you, your brand, or your other works, not only within the cover design but within the interior design as well.
Sidebars: Brief interviews with experts or thought leaders enhance your own credibility, and may help make these experts more likely to recommend your book to others.
Acknowledgments: We generally suggest that our clients take an expansive view of their acknowledgments, and credit generously not only those who were directly involved in production of the book, but those whose work, writing, and speaking influenced the content of the book.
Links: Include paths for the reader to engage with you and with your content after reading your book. Connect your reader with ways to continue the conversation, with you and with the community within which you are engaged.
Extras: Offer your reader additional content, to be found at your website. The idea is to provide value, to engage with the reader outside of the book, and (hopefully) to create a longer relationship.
Social media channels: Include your SM handles prominently inside the book. Don’t make your reader search for you.
Services upsell: Particularly for business books, be explicit about the business you are in and the services you provide to clients. This can appear in your author bio, or can appear on a separate page in the back matter. If you are publishing your book in part to elevate your platform and attract new clients, why not clearly describe what you do for clients, and what you might do for the reader?
Author bio: Craft a new, unique bio for each book you publish, with the content tied directly to the content of that book and its key audiences.
Endorsements: We encourage our clients to obtain as many endorsements as possible, and to gather and display them strategically. Endorsements should be sought in accord with each key audience segment, and prioritized and displayed strategically within each segment.
Making good use of the opportunities available inside your book will in turn aid every promotional activity you engage in after it’s been published. These opportunities can be easy to miss—and unfortunately, many authors do miss them, far too often. We can help you take advantage of these strategies, and ensure that you’ll be ahead in the game.
[This article is adapted from a longer guide for authors, available here.]
Tim Brandhorst, J.D. is Of Counsel to the Firm. A publisher, editorial director, and writer, Tim is an industry insider who counsels the Firm's author clients. He holds a B.A. from the University of Virginia and a J.D. from the Loyola University of Chicago School of Law.
Mandy Lane is the Brand Strategist for the firm. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from National Louis University and a M.A. in Psychology from The Adler School of Psychology. She serves our clients by creating opportunities to help grow their brands, developing what makes each of them unique, and showcasing their expertise.
The world's first social impact bond, or SIB, was introduced in 2010 to fund innovative social programs that realistically might reduce recidivism by ex-offenders in Peterborough, England, and, with it, the public costs of housing and feeding repeat offenders. Prudently building on the strengths of that initiative, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is rolling out SIBs to help solve some of the state's most vexing social problems.
A SIB isn't a traditional bond where investors are guaranteed a fixed return but a contract among a government agency that agrees to pay for improved social outcomes, a private financing intermediary and private investors. SIBs shift the risk of experimenting with promising but untested intervention strategies from government to private capital markets, with public funds expended only after targeted social benefits have been achieved.
Peterborough's problem was daunting: Sixty percent of prisoners serving short-term sentences historically had gone on to re-offend within a year after their release. But policymakers were confident that a solution was within their reach. They attracted private investment to pay experienced social service agencies to provide intensive, multidisciplinary support to short-term prisoners, preparing them to re-enter society and succeed outside the penal system.
The government decided which goals would be supported, but exactly how those goals would be achieved was left to the private sector. It was the investors, through a bond-issuing organization, who ultimately endorsed the allocation of investment proceeds — how much would be invested in job training, drug rehabilitation and other interventions.
If the Peterborough plan eventually shrinks recidivism rates by 7.5 percent or more, the government will repay the investors' capital and share the taxpayers' savings with them, delivering up to a 13 percent return. If the target isn't hit, the investment will have failed and the government will owe the investors nothing.
Illinois' SIB effort was spearheaded by the state's Task Force on Social Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Enterprise — the governor's think tank on social issues, which I am privileged to chair — with support from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Aurora-based Dunham Fund. A request for information issued by the Office of Management and Budget on May 13 yielded responses from service providers eager not only to reduce recidivism here but also to create jobs, revitalize communities, improve public health outcomes, curb youth violence, cut high school dropout rates and alleviate poverty.
Now the governor has issued a request for proposals intended to spur better outcomes for Illinois' most at-risk youth — by increasing placement stability and reducing re-arrests for youth in the state's Department of Children and Family Services, and by improving educational achievement and living-wage employment opportunities justice-involved youth most likely to re-offend upon returning to their communities.
Kudos to Mr. Quinn for bringing SIBs to Illinois. May they soon start delivering on their promise.- See more at: http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20131007/OPINION/131009850/a-new-kind-of-futures-contract-for-illinois#sthash.ThgxeiFt.dpuf
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