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Chapter One – book review

Chapter One by Daniel Flynn
Chapter One by Daniel Flynn

A few blogs back, I talked about a book called, Chapter One by Daniel Flynn and I promised a review of it once I’d read it. I saw Daniel at a breakfast event in June where he was guest speaker. He presented an inspirational keynote about the social enterprise that he and two other people started called ThankyouTM. At the end of that event I purchased a few copies of his book because I felt compelled to support this enterprise. Maybe he’s just a good salesperson.

Chapter One is about the journey (first chapter) of Thankyou and the many obstacles that they have had in the pursuit of their mission: to provide safe drinking water to places that don’t have it.

The first thing to note about this book is that it’s formatted landscape rather than portrait like most books in this genre, or most trade books for that matter (I put it in the business/self-help category). When I first saw this I was intrigued and felt a little boring having not thought of doing this before with any of our own books. After having read it, I’ve decided it doesn’t work so well and found it physically cumbersome to hold. While it’s good to challenge the status quo, some things do work well as they are.

But these guys have challenged the status quo in many other ways that are commendable and that do work. It’s what has taken them to a million dollar business. Chapter One is part of a great marketing campaign that has already brought in around $1.5 million and sold about 50,000 copies.

I didn’t expect too much from this book because of the marketing strategy behind it, so it was a pleasant surprise that it’s a good read. Daniel’s writing style is conversational and easy to read, much like his speaking qualities. The story includes great marketing ideas that businesses can take on board. It also follows their journey to get to the end of this chapter and still be in business, which demonstrates that persistence, tenacity, passion and stamina are key ingredients to success (a little naiveté doesn’t hurt either).

What resonated with me most was that if you know why you are doing something you have a much better chance at success. Most of all, don’t give up!

Chapter One is a ‘pay what you want’ scenario, putting it into the crowd-funding arena. This has paid off very well and will see them funding their next chapter, as hoped. If you’re running a business, or feeling a little lacking in mojo, this book is a good read for inspiration and practical ideas.

Blaise, the book chick

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Why the media is important for your book

Media is important for your book
Media is important for your book

Digital technology has allowed the world to be so much smaller and for news to travel very quickly. Because of this many people think that all you need to do is put a few posts up on social media and readers will rush to buy your book.

Not everyone is on social media and not all on the same platforms either. And because there are streams of newsfeeds, your post can easily be missed. Social media platforms seem to change things frequently too, so just when you get the hang of what you’re doing, you find out that Facebook is doing something that means people aren’t seeing you.

The good old-fashioned media release is still a valid step in the marketing of your book for print, digital, television and radio media platforms. The more of these platforms that you can get onto, the more publicity you’ll get and the more likely bookshops will take on your book (because they may have heard of you). It doesn’t matter how brilliant your book is, if no one has heard of it no one will buy it.

Here are a few pointers for planning your media ‘attack’:

Create a media list. Make a list of each area of media that might be interested in your story. Start with your local paper, then magazines and journals (print and digital), TV shows, radio stations, bloggers, book reviewers and social media groups. Make sure they fit your book. It’s no use sending out information about a YA novel to outlets that deal with finance. Try to find out a contact name to send information to.

Write a media release to suit the outlet. There are two kinds of media releases you can use. One is an information sheet that outlines information about the book (sometimes called a ‘title release’) including a cover image, short synopsis, about the author, selling points and purchase details. This should only be one page and is usually sent out with the book once a media outlet has shown interest, or if someone has agreed to review a book.

The second media release is the more common form that is used to entice media to run a story. Don’t make this too salesy. You want to create a hook and some emotion around the story. If there is a theme or topic that is on trend in the media, use that as the hook. The media release should be written in third person and a quote from the author is worth adding. Include ideas for photo opportunities and contact details.

Send out media releases. Work through your list by sending out your media release to each of the outlets. Remember to use your hook in the subject line of emails to get the recipient to actually open it. If they are interested to know more, mail them a free copy of the book, with the title release.

The earlier that you start your media campaign the more chance you have for success. It’s all about momentum. Getting some media attention will alert bookshops to your story and they may stock it. Even small media attention can be used to convince bookshops to stock it, or you can brag about it on social media. As you add to your list of media appearances, more people will take notice and will want to talk to you (people are essentially sheep after all).

It takes time to create a media plan and implement it but it will sell books – they are no use to you in a box under the bed.

Blaise, the book chick

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