Perfect Book Proposal, Part II
Picking up where we left off Monday, it will come as little surprise that we (Portfolio) ended up making a very fast bid on the Nice Guys book (the book forever became known as the “nice guys book” within our company). We worked for weeks, perhaps months on perfecting the title (it took less time to edit the book!). The final title we all agreed was best for the books was:
Eight Strategies for Winning in Business without Being a Jerk
That title really tells the story of the book. It is important to be nice, but managers have to draw lines, establish acceptable levels of performance, etc. The key is finding the balance between being nice and not being an ass____. That title says all of that. The book also received some strong endorsements, inlcuding one from Stephen R. Covey, author of the 15-million copy seller, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. When you get an endorsement in that league, you put it on the cover of the book (with the endorser’s approval), as we did with this book.
The book will be published in two weeks, and will help answer the question: does a great business book proposal translate into a great book? And how about book sales? We will have those answers in a few months and I will keep you posted. No one is more vested in the success of this book as I am, not counting, of course, my favorite authors from the firm of Edelman, Hiltabiddle and Manz.
One more thing: before this became a book it was an article in The Harvard Business Review. That’s a great way to establish a foundation for a book—and that was how the authors were able to paint such a vivid picture of the finish line. They already conducted a great deal of research. However, not all articles are books. Some articles are just articles and it is the job of the editor to discern the difference. HBR, though, is in a class of its own. Many of the pieces published there turn into books. But it isn’t only HBR that can help give birth to a book.
The first book I ever wrote was inspired by a single sentence that appeared in an Op Ed piece that I wrote for The Wall Street Journal, commenting on Jack Welch’s selection of Jeff Immelt as a successor (that book was called The Jack Welch Lexicon of Leadership). I had written “Jack Welch had done more to advance the leadership body of knowledge, he had created his own lexicon.” That prompted my boss to come running into my office declaring “there’s a book there.”
A new feature on the site: I have been doing more pre-dawn surfing, when I do my best work, actively looking for more publishing Websites that appeal to the same kind of people that read this site. First up: Joe Wikert’s 2020 publishing blog, subtitled: A Book Publisher’s Future Visions of Print, Online, Video, and all Media Formats Not Yet Invented. He has some great stuff on what it is like to be an author and ghostwriter and other cool links to great “inside-publishing” pieces.