Tag Archives: publishing

Help me name my new book about blogging!

Can you help me please? I need help naming my new book!

I’ve been working on a new book about blogging for a while now and I expect to finish it off next week – the main draft at least. The focus is on content marketing and how more CEOs than ever are blogging and appreciating that blogs and social media are a very important way of reaching out to their customers *and* the people who influence their customers.

I need to think of a title for the book so does anyone have any ideas? I was thinking of ideas like ‘Your boss – the blogger’ but I need something catchy and creative… all comments appreciated and if I do actually borrow an idea then I’ll make sure you get a credit in the book!

You can comment here on the blog or if you follow this link to my Facebook then feel free to comment there – thanks in advance!

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Only an Englishman would write about pubs in a book about Brazil

Anyone who does anything creative is always interested in seeing what others think about their work. Not just the supportive comments from friends and family, but the online reviews and comments from those in the media – and just regular readers. I’ve got musician friends and I know that they are just as interested in how people react to songs as I am when I publish a new book.

Reality Check: Life in Brazil through the eyes of a foreigner [Kindle Edition]

I have been really delighted with the reaction to the Reality Check book. There has been some good press coverage, many journalists are looking at the book now because they have expressed an interest, and all the reviews on Amazon itself are 5 or 4 star. It all looks good. And knowing that it has been spending some time in the number one slot has also helped. To see that it’s the best-selling book in English on the subject of Brazil is quite something.

But one review on the Amazon UK site really stood out for me. It’s by someone named Socrates – I don’t know who Socrates is and what country he is from, but he has clearly read quite a few books about Brazil as he references them in the review. He wrote an interesting comment on the book and how it has a certain ‘charm’ though:

“Any faults with the book are part of its charm. It’s does feel like a sketch for a longer book, but at the same time this is a great example of how self-e-publishing means a book like this can get on virtual shelves without an advance from a publishing house. It is also very fresh. Many of the issues discussed, like the June 2013 protests, are still news. Also Mark’s guide to bars and drinks is something maybe only an Englishman would dedicate a chapter to in such a brief guide, however as someone that also lived in London for much of my adult life I found this very useful and charming.”

I like this comment. The reviewer has noticed that maybe there are some quirks in the book. It’s more focused on the reality of my own induction into Brazil rather than some laborious run through the last 1,000 years of history, or a detailed analysis of the work visa application process.

I think there is plenty of useful information in the book and it really does include stuff on visas and going to the pub – because as a Brit moving to Brazil, these were both topics that fascinated me.

The idea of it as a sketch for a bigger book is interesting though. I have published big fat books with regular publishers and I deliberately wanted to avoid that experience in this case. As the review mentions, I really did manage to keep some of the comment right up to date – making some final edits just before the publication button was pushed. But it is a full-length book that feels short – it can be read pretty fast because it is punchy and direct, but it would be almost 200 pages if it were a regular paperback so there is some meat on the bones.

I felt that the personal nature of this book and my desire to release it globally as soon as I possibly could meant that it had to be released using Amazon. But it is doing well. There will be a lot on attention to Brazil in the next couple of years so if a big publishing house came to me now and suggested I add some additional content so they can release it as an airport paperback then I wouldn’t refuse – how could I?

But for the moment, I’m already working on a new book anyway. All my writing projects stretched into the future are exploring how work is changing – with the Brazil one fitting into that agenda just by exploring the difficulties of moving across the world and trying to slot in.

It was never meant to just be a sketch, but maybe it could be a stepping stone to a much more detailed analysis of Brazil? Maybe that’s an idea for 2014…

Reality Check

My book ‘Reality Check’ is at number one on Amazon!

When I got up this morning I had a quick look at Amazon to see how my Reality Check book is doing. It was only published a few weeks ago on September the 1st, but has been steadily getting more attention.

It has been in the Amazon top 20 books about Brazil since publication so I knew that people were noticing the book, but this is what I saw this morning…

Reality Check: Life in Brazil through the eyes of a foreigner [Kindle Edition]

It is now the number one book about Brazil and number two book about South America. That was a great start to this week 🙂 Excuse me while I enjoy some Champagne…!

And all of this for a book that has only been released on the Kindle. I’m planning to also release a paper version of the book, but it will not be until the second edition – planned to come out just before the World Cup football competition in June next year. For now it is electronic-only, but doing spectacularly well.

If you are interested in the book, or my next book project, or any of my old books, then please do come and join my Facebook here:

www.facebook.com/markhillarybooks

Champagne na praia #praia #beach #camburi #cambury #saopaulo #newyearseve #reveillon #champagne

Another book on the way…

It’s not mine, but I’ve spent a lot of time helping Angelica Mari produce her new book. It’s her book, but I’ve been helping with the mechanical process of getting it from the word processor to a book available in retailers.

Angelica was keen to use Lulu.com to publish her book and as I’ve published three books on there now, I was fairly well placed to advise on how to format the documents and cover.

This has, once again, got me thinking about the future of business books. So many people churn out books about their industry, declaring themselves a ‘guru’ on the cover. But most business books are out of date by the time they hit the shelf and can’t be regularly updated. So after a year of being on sale, you might be reading text that was written over two years earlier.

I have an offer from a big publisher to do a new business book and I’m stalling on it, unsure if it is really of any value today. I know of a very senior CIO who has a similar offer from a publisher, though his is part of a 2-book deal. The publisher wants something and he is not sure if he wants to commit thoughts to print because the format of the old-school publisher just doesn’t work anymore.

I know that Angelica was still editing and changing her book a week ago. From the final tweak to the book launch and physical copies being in the hands of punters will be under one month. And she has had it professionally edited and proof-read during that time.

So what value does an old-style publisher offer?

Not much. They do spend money on marketing and trying to place the book in retailers in a way that will sell more copies, but lets face it, for most business books the market is not a casual browser in Waterstones. Lulu makes books available on all major retailers, including Amazon. And the author takes 80% of profits after printing costs… compare that to the 15% of gross sale price you might expect from a traditional publisher.

I’m still thinking about whether I should do the more traditional book, but I know for sure that my next two books will be on Lulu. I have the ideas in my head already and the plans sketched out. I want to write them and see the books out there, not wait a year for a publisher to work on the text…

My books

How to get your book published

Friends and business associates often ask me how they can get their book idea into print. The assumption is always that because I have published a few books, I can offer some magical nuggets of advice on how to get into print. And I guess I do have insights from experience, but I have tended to stay on the non-fiction side of publishing. I haven’t published a novel or tried to get in a Booker shortlist.

But if you are thinking of writing a book then here are a few things to think about.

  1. You are unlikely to make a lot of money, despite what you see JK Rowling making. Business, management, and other non-fiction titles don’t sell in huge numbers so you need to consider publishing non-fiction for the joy of contributing to the pool of knowledge in that subject, plus it may become a valuable calling card that gives you work in other areas – such as consulting or speaking.
  2. You need to think commercially. Publishers are not in this for the love of it. They want a commercial product they can turn into real returns… so they are unlikely to be interested in uncle Tom’s memoirs of fishing on the river Thames – unless there is some way you can prove that the book-buying public really needs to see this title.
  3. You need to take advice from people who have published in the area you plan to publish. As mentioned, most of my work has been in non-fiction management titles, but I am straying outside this zone gradually. If you are thinking of fiction then I would recommend reading how horror author Stephen King started out in writing and also the views of literary agent Carole Blake. This kind of advice gives you a much better idea of how to balance the idea of what you are producing as art against what will actually sell. The Blacks guide is also essential reading.
  4. You need to think about marketing. Sure, the publisher has to do a lot of this, but the author can really help with networks, media contacts, social media… The author can make all the difference.
  5. You don’t always need to get an agent first. In fact without any track record it can be almost impossible to get an agent. If you can show samples of what you can write and you can show a good synopsis for an entire book then publishers will listen to you.
  6. If you can’t make progress quickly on much of the above then you may want to consider self-publishing and then using your published book to secure a deal at a major publisher. Sometimes it can help just to have it out there and available on sites such as Amazon. Lulu.com is a great site for this because they will publish your book with no upfront fees – just shared royalties on sales. It’s proper publishing, just the distribution is harder because it’s going to only be at online book stores.

My books

So who wants to publish me in India?

The past couple of books I have written ‘Who Moved my Job?’ (Lulu 2008) and ‘Global Services: Moving to a Level Playing Field’ (British Computer Society 2008) have both been published under license for South Asia by Viva in Delhi.

Viva took a look at my most recent book – Talking Outsourcing (Lulu 2009) – and said they are not interested in publishing it because they don’t feel it connects to the reader in the same way as the other books I have written.

That’s fine. They have their opinion. Only I think they are wrong.

Here’s why.

I don’t think they understand that this was a book of a blog. This book is drawn from the best of my ‘Talking Outsourcing’ blog in Computing magazine, featuring blog entries from 2006 to 2009. It’s written and presented as a chronological business diary. Everything that’s going on in the world of services globalisation and outsourcing from my point of view over that three year period.

It’s worth pointing out that the British national tech magazine Computer Weekly thought so highly of my blog, they shortlisted it for blog of the year in their IT Blog Awards 2009. The launch event at London South Bank University was also very successful – take a look at the video here.

Clearly there are a lot of people involved in the hi-tech service sector in India and I am sure they would like to see this book.

It highlights the issues, the trends, the failures, and the successes of the past three years in the global hi-tech industry and India gets a fair share of that business.

Sure, it’s a book of a blog and not written with a new narrative focused on a single topic, but that’s part of the idea here. Take the content from the blog and make it work in a different way by putting it all in one place, so it can be quickly skipped through.

If you are a publisher in India and you are interested in the South Asia rights for this book then get in touch with me. I’m planning to be there in February so if you move fast we could do some personal appearances around the launch. You can reach me here…

Talking Outsourcing

Launching a new book is always a nerve-wracking experience. My new one is based on the blog I’ve been writing in Computing since 2006, so it was a bit easier to put it together than starting from a blank page, but it’s still a lot of work getting from the conversations around “I’m going to do a book of the blog” to actually seeing a book out there and available for people to buy.

Well, I have just about got there. It should be ready for printing next week and as soon as I’ve checked the results, it should begin distribution and start becoming available for sale. I believe it will be at the end of the month, so I’m hoping to arrange a launch party in July.

In the meantime, take a look at the cover here and let me know what you think.