Wednesday, 22 December 2010


If you are thinking about writing a book, or if you are indeed in the process of writing, pause for a moment and consider your book's personality.

Is it contained within the subject? Your style of writing? Perhaps the cover design or even the paper that the book is printed on?

You might take a dry, authoritative tone, a bright chatty tone or even an uplifting and inspiring tone. But this alone is not your book's personality.

When your reader picks up your book, they are entering into a relationship, a conversation with the author that transcends space and time. The connection is made in the here and now, regardless of how long ago you sat down in front of a keyboard.

The book's personality, then, is this. As the reader engages with the book, they create an imaginary narrator. That narrator is the personality of your book.

The personality of the book is made up of its title, cover design, size, format, paper weight, chapter headings, writing style and possibly more.

Don't worry though, getting it right isn't difficult. Just imagine that you are holding your book in your hand, and feeling just right about it. Perhaps proud, perhaps excited. How does it look? How does it sound? How do you feel about it?

Let all of those design elements come naturally out of the book's personality, and you'll ensure that you always create the right connection with your readers.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Latest Fry results - Jungle celebrities versus Internet marketing experts

Following the interest in our introduction of 'The Fry' as the standard unit of Internet value, we have been researching who would be the best person to invest your social media marketing budget in.

We have compared the Fry ratings of the 13 celebrities to appear in this year's 'I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here' with the top ten Internet marketing experts, according to Google's search results for that phrase.

You can click on the graphs to see a larger version.

I'm a Celebrity 2010
Internet marketing experts
To compare our experts and celebrities side by side, we have to use a logarithmic scale, because if we showed them on a normal geometric scale, you would see this:

Celebrities v Experts (Geometric scale)

Here's the logarithmic version, so each vertical line is ten times the value of the previous one.

Celebrities v Experts (Logarithmic scale)

So, there you have it. You would be better off investing in 11 out of 13 celebrities than even the most successful Internet marketing expert.

Our selection criteria for the experts is that they call themselves an expert and they are within the top ten names to appear. Interestingly, while there are fewer people calling themselves an 'Internet marketing guru', their performance is no better.

The highest rated 'guru' is still no better than the experts, and the lowest rated of the top three 'gurus' is actually the worst of all, although his rating is perhaps understandable when you see that his website boasts, "His true specialty is his mastery of the Internet as a complete tool".

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Introducing a new book from CGW and ABSEM

Following the interest in our research into Internet value, CGW and ABSEM have decided to collaborate on a new book.

It will be aimed at start-up business owners and entrepreneurs and will strip away all the hype of marketing, especially Internet marketing. It will give you the practical reality of how to give your business maximum exposure and still leave you time to deliver your service or sell your product.

Between us, we have unique experiences that you don't see anywhere else, simply because everyone else is just selling the hype. We have both built successful businesses and we're going to capture that unique combination in the new book.

We haven't chosen a snappy title yet, perhaps you can suggest one? Leave a comment...

Friday, 3 December 2010

Announcing 'The Fry' as the unit of Internet marketing value

(Read more on the Fry, Twitter and internet marketing here)

As social networking becomes the latest battleground of the Internet marketers, the value of individuals will be measured and quantified from the amount of news and relevant information that they contribute to the world.

To counter the hype coming out of the Internet marketing guru's camp, we've developed a simple way for anyone to understand the truth about Internet marketing through social media and ensure trust and credibility are given to the right people.

In the summer of 2010, we were working on a new book for hopeful business authors called Write For You. In writing the chapter on marketing, we began to research the 'Internet marketing gurus' who advocate using sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn as marketing tools, and what they found was startling. It turned out that the Internet experts had next to no value, while individuals who were traditionally newsworthy were very valuable.

Let's continue with the press release...

“This all started when we received a newsletter email from someone we know, a sales manager turned small business consultant and social media marketing expert', says Greenaway. “We knew that the image he portrayed bore no resemblance to the reality of his business, and so we started to look into what he was really up to”

Hartley adds, “We began to research Twitter, since this was the tool that the marketing experts seemed to be pushing most”. What she quickly found was that the Internet marketers were using a very simple and a very old trick to make it appear as if they were popular, when in fact they were extremely unpopular. In many cases, their real popularity was so low that they have a negative effect on the amount of information in the world.

“We live in the information age. We have twenty four hour a day news, advertisements pushed to our mobiles, advertising on just about every Internet page and TV program and possible more blogs, Facebook profiles and Twitter feeds than there are human beings on the planet. Socially, we have developed a thirst for knowledge, and therefore the marketers of the world have evolved to meet that need”, say Greenaway and Hartley as they expand on their idea. “In the information age, we value people for how much information they add. This isn't a new idea – we've always valued people who had news from the front line or gossip from the manager's office. Technology simply adds a new level of immediacy to the problem.”

Greenaway and Hartley continued to piece together the different pieces of this puzzle, and in July 2010, they developed a simple system that anyone can use to determine the true value of someone who purports to be an Internet marketing 'expert'

(See the chart at the bottom of this post for more Fry ratings)

In their book, Write For You, they tell the story of what happened next.

“The most popular British writer on Twitter, Stephen Fry, who on July 16th 2010 was following 53,497 people and was followed by 1,616,454 people. This meant that Stephen Fry generates 30 times more interesting thoughts than he consumes, so we decided to use Stephen Fry as a measure of newsworthiness and give him a value of 1 Fry.

In comparison, Jerry Springer, the American TV host, is worth 50 Frys. He contributes 50 times the amount of news as does Stephen Fry.

Oprah Winfrey, the American TV talk show host, is worth 6,625 Frys, or 6.6 KiloFrys.

Clearly, people who are traditionally popular carry more authority, because people want to hear what they have to say.

Paul O’Grady, the British comedian turned TV presenter and author, changes the picture quite significantly. He has only 13,340 followers, but he isn’t following anyone, so his value is infinite. But for the purposes of calculating a number, we must assume that he is somewhat interested in at least someone, so we added an arbitrary variable to our formula which gives him a value of 441 KiloFrys or 0.44 MegaFrys.

The singer David Bowie, by our formula, has a value of 1.54 MegaFrys. He contributes 1.54 Million times the news value of Stephen Fry.

At the other end of the scale, an Internet marketing guru in America, who has lectured at Harvard Business School on the value of Twitter to businesses, scores just 0.03 Frys or 30 MilliFrys.

She is followed by 59,427 people but is following 59,080 people, a difference of just 447. While Internet marketing ‘experts’ focus on the 59,427, what we need to look at is the 447, because this indicates the value that the person adds.

The Internet marketers try to convince us that having 59,427 people following you is good for publicity, but the fact that she needs to follow 59,080 people in order to attract her followers is very bad indeed.

The way that Twitter gurus advocate building a following is to say to each other, “Hey, if I follow you, will you follow me? It will be good for both of us!” No, it won’t.

If you're lost in a remote jungle, you won't survive any longer by saying, “Hey, if I eat your leg, you can eat mine!”

A British sales manager turned small business consultant and social media expert has 1,216 followers who enjoy reading about the fact that it’s sunny today. He is following 1,235 people, so he produces less news than he consumes. His news value is less than zero Frys at -0.02 Frys, or -20 MilliFrys. What’s worrying is that he advises businesses on the importance of social media marketing.

The smaller the number of Frys, the less interesting the person is. A negative number means that on top of being grossly uninteresting, the person actually detracts from the amount of news in the world.

An American Internet marketing guru who says that he “helps businesses to elevate their status in the online world to maximise their marketing exposure” as he “travels the world imparting his wisdom” is worth -0.05 Frys, or -50 MilliFrys.

His unnewsworthiness is surpassed only by the British singer and TV presenter, Cilla Black. She measures in at -1.76 Frys.

In fact, none of the Internet marketing gurus who we found advocating Twitter as the latest business marketing tool scored any higher than 9 MilliFrys, which is disappointing when you notice that Dick Van Dyke of “Cor blimey Mary Poppins!” fame scores just over 3 Frys.

A dancing chimney sweep is a factor of a thousand more important than the most successful Internet marketer.
This is especially disappointing if you have paid Internet marketing experts people a lot of money to build a social media marketing campaign for you. You would literally be better off spending your money with a man who dances with penguins.”

A simple calculation of the difference between creation and consumption, between import and export, immediately reveals who is actually creating value. And in any business, creating value is the way to make a living.

The key is to use these tools to create a genuine following. Don’t simply follow other people, concentrate on saying something of real value. If you're not already interesting, and let's face it, most people aren't, then having lots of people following you doesn't make you interesting. Remember, in the world of social media, they're not following you; they're stalking you.

CGW Publishing is a British independent publisher of business books, working with expert authors to create a service business around their intellectual property.

(Read more on the Fry, Twitter and internet marketing here)

Fry ratings chart: click on the the chart to see a full sized version

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Service Sales

We have been developing service businesses for over ten years, and one of the biggest challenges we face is in overcoming all of the sales literature out there that treats service sales the same as product sales. Time and time again, we see our clients using product sales language on their websites and in their brochures.

For a service business, the single most important thing to achieve is to establish credibility.

Service sales is fundamentally different to product sales. You are not selling a tangible thing, and so the customer is not buying a thing. They are buying a result, and since they can't touch and see that result yet, you are essentially selling a promise.

And why would a potential client trust your promise?

Therefore the most vital thing is to establish credibility.

At CGW Publishing, we help service business owners to capture their expertise and credibility in a book, and there are some other ways of doing this that are important too, especially in creating a brand around your book.

Case studies are valuable, and by writing the case study around a clear purpose, you can position yourself clearly as a business partner rather than a provider of technical components or commodity services.

For example, here's a quote from a case study which sums this all up perfectly:

“We want freedom to move on and do different things, to grow our business and explore other ventures and ABSEM have given us that freedom”

Compare that with, "The widgets that XYZ supplied us with were very good and their price was the best in town".

If you want to sell on price, the latter is fine. The problem with selling on price, though, is that you are easy prey for your bigger competitors who can exert price pressure and not feel the pain as much as you will.

Many service owner businesses offer a free consultation, but if you do this, it marks you out as a small player. A free consultation is not a try before you buy, because you can't take your time and expertise back. Free consultations are a lazy way to sell, and you won't sell any more because of them. In fact, you'll just end up giving away a lot of your valuable time for free. Preventing our clients from giving away their time is one of the toughest things to do, because time=expertise=value.

Bakers don't give away free cakes - they give away tiny samples. This serves three fundamental purposes:
  • If you like the sample, you'll buy the cake and share it with your friends
  • If you don't like the sample, you won't buy the cake which saves the bakery from the negative impact of you telling your friends you didn't like it
  • It allows the bakery to get rid of yesterday's cakes

Service business owners consistently undervalue their expertise, and in doing so have no idea what to give a client that is analogous to a 'free sample'. The most important thing to bear in mind is that free samples are NEVER free. They are merely a way to reduce the risk of a decision.

How you describe your business is vital too, and the mistake that many people make is to describe what they do instead of what they achieve.

If you introduce your business by saying 'we do XYZ' then what you attract is people who just want to buy the components of XYZ, as cheaply as possible. If you start with a business proposition, you are more likely to attract people who are looking to invest in a partnership.

For example, in choosing to work with CGW, you chose to invest in a partnership. We're not the cheapest supplier of copy writing or editing services, compared to self employed providers from India and part time working mothers from America, which you will find in abundance on marketplaces such as Elance.

Marketplaces such as Elance, Freelancer and PeoplePerHour are overrun with job requests for SEO article writing at $1 per article. We're not in that market and so we don't say anything that suggests we are. There's nothing at all wrong with that market, it's just not for us. The bottom end of the market will always be under attack. Because clients are buying on price, they will always look to drive the price down, and there will always be suppliers willing to write articles at 99¢, then 90¢, then 75¢ and so on.

If you lead with what you 'do' then you are caught in the same problem; there will always be someone else willing to do what you do for less. But no-one can easily replace a relationship that you develop with a client at a business level.

Some service business owners try to demonstrate credibility by showing that they have a methodical process, but it doesn't work. A method is implicit in the nature of your business. If you go to a cake shop, you are already assuming that they know how to bake cakes. Bakeries don't tell you how they make their cakes, unless they have some special ingredient like locally produced organic flour. But even then they don't tell you how long they are baked for, how hot etc. They deliver an end product and the process to create that is implied.

Companies only list an ingredient or a process if it is a unique differentiator, e.g. beer being triple filtered or meat being 21 day aged.

If you are an Internet search marketing agency, your knowledge of search engine marketing is implicit. If you are a presentation skills expert, your knowledge of pitching is implicit. If you area hotel, the fact that you have bedrooms is implicit.

On your website, you need to distinguish between what the visitor already knows by the time they land on your home page and what they need to know in order to make a buying decision, which they have largely done by the time they contact you.

CGW and ABSEM working on a marketing partnership

One of the biggest problems that faces any business is marketing, and marketing comprises two key factors: Credibility and Visibility

For your business to be successful, you need potential customers to be able to see you. On top of that, they need to believe what they see.

This is especially vital for service businesses who don't have a tangible product.

CGW Publishing gives the owners of service businesses a tangible product by encapsulating their knowledge and expertise into a book and using that as a marketing platform.

What about visibility? We still have to market the book, even though it gives the author the credibility they deserve.

Today, the Internet is probably the most important marketing channel, so we are working with search marketing experts ABSEM to deliver a complete package to businesses.

As this partnership develops, we'll let you know more about what it means for you as a business owner, marketing professional, expert or author.

Ebook distribution options

We've just set up some new ebook distribution channels.

In addition to Ingram, who distribute through many of the major ebook retailers, we have added two large niche providers.

I say large niche, because of the ebook formats that they use.

The first is Amazon, who are advertising their new Kindle ebook reader aggressively on TV and in the press. Priced at £109, the Kindle device is an ebook reader, plain and simple. We've seen ebook readers come and go in the past and the key to success really has to be title availability. Kindle uses a proprietary 'AZW' file format, hence the niche position.

Unlike ebooks that come as ubiquitous PDF files, the Kindle format only works on the Kindle reader. Luckily, a software reader is available for a few other hardware platforms.

The second is the Apple iBookStore. Apple are rather more difficult to trade with because they only accept submissions to their AppStore and iBookStore via their authorized agents. Ingram have just signed up as an agent, and so we have signed up with Ingram. This means that you can get your book onto the Apple iBookStore through a professional and credible publishing imprint rather than one of the horrible imprints of some of the rather amateurish distribution channels that are available.

Apple iBooks use a rather stringent version of the 'epub' file format, so getting books published on the iBookStore is actually more complicated than getting a book into print.

One of the biggest problems is graphics; ebook readers are really designed for text novels, not for books with illustrations, so if your book has diagrams, charts and graphics in, we have to do a fair bit of work on the conversion. Also, if your book contains fancy fonts and formats for chapter headings or callouts, don't expect to see them in the ebook version unless you're talking about gold old fashioned PDF, where the ebook will look just like the printed book.

iBooks are available for iPads, iPods, iPhones, iMacs and probably anything else that begins with an 'i'.

The first title to hit Amazon Kindle and Apple iBooks will most likely be The Pitching Bible by Paul Boross.

Print on Demand in Australia

We've been printing books in the UK and USA for the past 8 years, mostly using the services of Lightning Source.

Ingram, Lightning Source's owners, have just announced that they are opening a POD facility in Australia, which is excellent news for our authors and readers in that part of the world.

Their press release says, "Ingram Content Group Inc. today announced it will expand its presence in the Asia-Pacific market by establishing a full-scale Lightning Source print-on-demand book manufacturing operation in Australia.

Locating a print-on-demand book manufacturing facility in Australia gives publishers options to reduce or remove the need to warehouse local inventory and reduces transportation and potential stock write-off costs. For publishers that currently take advantage of book manufacturing and distribution from Lightning Source, adding expanded distribution to this new market will be seamless and straightforward.

The Lightning Source plant in Australia will be Ingram Content Group’s fifth networked book manufacturing facility. Lightning Source North American facilities include its headquarters in La Vergne, Tennessee, and a plant in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Lightning Source international locations include a large-scale operation in Milton Keynes, UK, central to London that serves the European region and a facility in Maurepas, France, a joint-venture with Hachette Book Group.

Ingram Content Group’s Lightning Source facility in Australia is expected to begin operation in June 2011."

This will make worldwide distribution of Print On Demand titles even more cost effective and we're looking forward to continuing to work with Lightning Source.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

The Pitching Bible

Paul Boross' new book, The Pitching Bible, is now ready for ordering.

It captures Paul's 25 years of experience in business pitching, bringing together his expertise from the entertainment, media and corporate worlds.

Paul, also known as The Pitch Doctor, has based The Pitching Bible on his successful lecture series, The Seven Secrets of a Successful Pitch, which he has delivered at various media and corporate events around the world.

The Pitching Bible is priced at £14.99 and is available from all good book shops now.

ISBN 978-0-9565358-2-5