Monthly Archives: July 2012

Legally Branded- The Book Writing Process

I have finally finished writing Legally Branded, and it feels so nice to hold it in my hands at long last.

Unless you’ve written a book you would not believe how much effort goes into producing one.

There is a huge amount to learn about book publishing as I mentioned in my post on Azrights.  Early on I decided to self publish the book, and got straight down to writing it.

First there’s the sorting out the book’s structure, and content.  Next is to carve out the necessary time to write it.  I then showed my book to an experienced publisher, and she recommended working with an editor.

So, then your editor picks you up on sense and meaning, and structure, and you have to go over the chapters reworking, and clarifying the meaning for readers.

Writing is only half the battle

When you’ve finished writing the book you naturally assume that’s the end of it.  But no.  This is when you realise the writing of the book may have been the easy part.

Typesetting the book is the next hurdle.  The typesetter expects you to provide instructions as to how the internal pages of the book should look.  Will you feature illustrations?  How will you break the book up and make it look more digestible?  I was stumped.  Luckily, my copy editor came to the rescue here and took charge.

However, there was a lot more of my time involved than I had realised to further review and clarify, following her comments, and typsetting suggestions.

Each time someone does anything on the book you have to review it.  After the typesetting was complete, I had to find someone to professionally proof read the book.

I assumed this was merely the type of work a careful junior secretary might do to pick up typos, but it seems the job is a lot more involved.  The proof reader will look at the page proofs and pick up page breaks, end of line breaks, unwanted double spacings, running heads, and notice whether text is correctly justified, centred or whatever.  She is the one who ensures there’s consistency in font usage, sizes and line spacings.  Awkward widows and orphans (publishing jargon for words or short phrases left hanging alone at the beginning or end of a paragraph or column) are picked up as are spelling mistakes, and typos.  Then, once you’ve reviewed the typesetter’s implemented changes, there is the index’s work to slot in.  If page numbers in the book have changed, this is going to impact on the indexer’s page references so you have to be careful to sort these details out before releasing the final product.

Finding the time

I commenced my journey to produce this particular book back in July 2011, and have been working on it since. I left it to one side for a 2-3 month period when I realised I hated the first draft, and had no clue how to move on from there.  But eventually, if you want to write a book strongly enough, you find the answers you’re looking for.

It wasn’t easy to find time for all this. My weekends, evenings, and any time not spent working in the business of running Azrights, was spent writing, editing, redrafting and finalising the book. It definitely feels like an accomplishment to have come to the end of this marathon task.

But funnily enough now that I’ve learnt the way, I’m already planning the next book….

Why write a book?

I decided to write Legally Branded when I noticed there were no accessible books for business owners on the legal aspects of branding. I wanted to use my expertise and knowledge in the field of IP law to guide small business owners on the laws relevant to brands and online business.

I love helping people to achieve their dreams.  My guidance can make their path a lot easier.  Having founded and run Azrights for over 7 years, there’s a lot of help I can provide to a new business in terms of understanding the internet, and identifying the legal issues that are too important to ignore, or address by buying a template.

The way I regard my role of adviser to business owners is by analogy to someone who can see potholes and mines ahead, as well as bridges and the odd oasis.  I want to warn them to avoid the pitfalls and dangers, and to guide them towards the bridges and oasis.  Some choices entrepreneurs make in terms of IP law issues can help them achieve much more substantial and rapid success than others.

If only more business owners saw the point in taking IP advice, more of them might avoid the pitfalls and mistakes that regularly trip up the unwary or which reduce the impact they might otherwise have had.

I help early stage businesses to overcome legal claims, such as for infringing on the rights of others.  If they paid a fraction of these fees before they started up to avoid infringing on others’ rights they might ultimately stand a better chance of succeeding. It’s so important to get a business off to a proper start, and I hope my book will help business owners to understand why.

The final push

Work is far from over on Legally Branded. Yes the content may be there, but now comes the really time consuming bit – namely, marketing the book.  Review copies need to be sent out, the book launch needs to be organised, guests invited. The list is endless.

But that’s not to say it’s not exciting, it certainly is.  The British Library has been booked for the book launch by my firm Azrights, who are sponsoring the event.  As this press release explains, the launch will be on September 11th.  There will also be a virtual launch which can be attended by everyone from all around the world.  We are hoping to feature a live stream from the main event, if the internet connection of the venue will allow this.

I am very excited to be able to celebrate the book’s launch at long last and am pleased to have pushed myself to the end to complete the book, and it feels well worth the task.  As they say, nothing worthwhile in life comes easy.

Permission marketing and networking

Letters printed on small cubesA friend recently made a general comment on a social media site that I’ve sometimes heard voiced. She was expressing surprise about being added to people’s mailing list without her permission. As she put it “You may be a friend, you may have the most interesting thing in the world to share…still let me choose. If you don’t have my permission then you’re pretty much spamming me”.

This is a difficult one for business owners to get right. If you network and exchange cards with hundreds of people, you need a system to stay in touch with them, and to grow your list. But clearly simply adding them to your list upsets some people despite the fact that you will have an unsubscribe button that they can simply click to stop receiving further mailshots. However, to those who are sensitive about being added to lists, the issue is why should they have to unsubscribe? “Don’t add me in the first place?”

My take on this is as follows.  Email is arguably one of the most harmless forms of marketing message because it is so easy to unsubscribe. If only it were so easy to stop robo phone messages and cold callers! Permission marketing is an excellent concept in theory. When the concept was introduced by Seth Godin it brought fresh thinking to marketing. However, the world is changing rapidly, and it’s very noisy out there.  We are exposed to more and more marketing, as every website seems to have an eBook which you may download in exchange for contact details and consent to be added to a list, sometimes using a double opt in.  In this climate it can be easy to forget to whom we gave permission, or to want to withdraw permission if the list owner sends too many emails. So, when an email arrives and you happen to be in a bad mood, or no longer find the communication source relevant, it is easy to get upset about receiving that email.  I’ve known people to report email senders to ISPs, despite the fact that they had given consent…

I’ve gradually developed a systematic process to handle new contact details as I meet new people. We enter people’s card details to our database, and send an email to most of them (some I automatically unsubscribe for various reasons) saying it was good to meet them… and that I’d like to stay in touch. I attach a copy of my latest newsletter or ezine, and say that I’ll add them to our mailing list to receive these in future. I then go on to say they should feel free to add me to their list. and that I will not be at all offended if they want to click the unsubscribe button so as to not be added to our mailing list.  Likewise if they add me to their list and I’m not interested I will unsubscribe. One or two reply to say please don’t add me, but otherwise, I’ve found it a useful way to keep in touch with contacts and to get and give referrals.

I’d love to know how other businesses deal with this thorny issue.  What system do you use in your business to grow your list?