This is a useful book in terms of helping startups to negotiate how to get better coverage for their business. Having dealt with many of the situations where things take an unexpected turn Ross writes from the helpful perspective of potential mess ups you might just want to avoid. Startups still need to more to effectively communicate to differentiate themselves from all the noise out there. Being one of 40,000 at a conference does not seem like the optimal way to achieve the exposure you need. This book does a good job of showing you other, more effective and strategic ways to achieve the attention and exposure your company needs.
We enjoyed reading it and would happily recommend it to startups to read. Below we caught up with Leanne to see how things had been since it was published.
How is the book doing?
The book has done well (I think – the royalties are a couple of months behind so it’s difficult to know exactly!) but I have had a lot of emails, tweets and some reviews on Amazon from people I don’t know which has been encouraging, if not a bit weird to see photos of a book you wrote on people’s desks! It did reach number 5 on the PR section best-selling list on Amazon in week one though, and that was a real buzz as a book lover myself.
Why did you decide to do the physical book option as well as the book?
The physical book option is made very easy with Amazon’s Print-On-Demand service, in that it doesn’t cost investment upfront. OK, there’s a longer wait time for customers as it comes from America, but despite my own love of technology I do personally enjoy a real book, especially an industry one, to make notes in and pass on to friends. So I wanted to have that option for people. Profit-wise, you earn more from eBooks as long as they’re less than a certain price.
Which format is doing better?
Kindle is doing much better because I opened the book out to their Kindle Unlimited service where customers can borrow the book for free from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL) as they pay a monthly subscription. I don’t earn royalties from that but it does encourage more recommendations and reviews, and in one day alone in April there were 80 copies downloaded that way. But in terms of paid-for books, the paperback is actually outselling the e-reader version 3-to-1.
If you were to do it again is there anything you’d do differently ?
I would probably spend more time editing before uploading to Createspace for publishing! Even though I hired a proofreader, trying to edit one or two small errors that were noticed in the paperback proofs meant changing every page’s alignment and contents page numbering, one by one. It was way more time consuming than writing the book! I would probably also buy in stock myself prior to launch. Authors can buy stock without royalties at production price ($2.68 + shipping from US). It’s not such an issue now as Amazon retailers have noticed the sales and are stocking the book in the UK to ship it more quickly, but in the beginning, at launch, each book was printed on demand and took on average two weeks to arrive. That slowed sales take-up initially.
— Leanne Ross (@aCupOfLee) May 15, 2016
You have a lot of good advice in the book, how successfully do readers manage to follow it?
From the small businesses and entrepreneurs I’ve had messages from, I haven’t had anyone say it’s not been useful. If anything the only complaint was that I didn’t go into more detail (but then I thought people wouldn’t have time to read a big book!) Obviously the practical tools online or the real-life examples of email pitches and content calendars are the most popular elements, and they’re extremely easy to replicate. The feedback from businesses who have outsourced PR and Marketing in the past and been “burned” as it were, who then tell me this book would have informed them better of what they needed and what to pay for it – that’s the feedback that has meant the most, as that’s what I wanted to arm the business community with – knowledge.
Top tips of things to do / avoid?
Avoid doing PR or Digital Marketing for the sake of it! Since I’ve been freelance I’ve turned away more work than I’ve taken on, like an online training company who needed SEO more than they needed their mugshot in the local newspaper. Or the eCommerce gift site who actually needed a site revamp and mobile optimised commerce rather than social media or content marketing (which they were already doing well). But do find trustworthy advice from an outsider’s point of view, so you can see which tricks you are missing, because I know how hard it is when you’re on the inside to see the wood for the trees.
— Leanne Ross (@aCupOfLee) April 25, 2016
What’s next for you?
Unfortunately I don’t know just now! My husband (from New Zealand) is a professional rugby player (at Ulster) and, if we don’t move with that then when he retires we may look to seek work and a new family life elsewhere. The only world that changes as fast as digital is probably sport! At least with the book, I can feel that I’ve left something useful behind to help Irish businesses do great things. And if the husband needs some marketing help for his own work, he’s got it on tap!