In this weeks show, join Dean & Stuart as they look through the gallery of 90-Minute Books and discuss what make a compelling title & killer cover.
For those joining in at home you can see all the covers in The Gallery.
- The Focus Edge - Phil Randazzo
- The Rent Free Solution - Tyler Osby
- Staying Here - Jim Hacking
- Boost Your Sales - Lisa Sasevich
- Return on Safety - Doug Crann
- Live to 126 - Dr Jim Morris
Transcript - Book More Show 003
Stuart: Hi, everyone. Welcome to another edition of the Book More Show. It's Stuart here with Dean. Today we're going to go through some of the titles and covers that we particularly like from the books that we've done so far. We get quite a lot of feedback and Susan, certainly when she's dealing with people on boarding, talks about titles and subheading quite a lot to really communicate that message. I thought this would be a good, fun play along at home show to talk about some of the ones we like and why you like them. I probably should start with an apology ...
Dean: It's all very exciting.
Stuart: It is, and I'll tell you what. It's been interesting, looking down the list, when we were just getting ready to do the show. Looking down the list, it's difficult to pick because there's so many. The designers, Glen and Sarah over here, have done such a fantastic job. Yeah, I probably should apologize to Susan when she listens to this, because we've been directing this show for a while, and I've kind of jumped ahead and pushed her off, so Susan ...
Dean: Well, forget about that. You should be apologizing to me for doing all these episodes and this is my first time.
Stuart: That is a very good point. You're in demand.
Dean: There we go. Yeah, exactly. I love it.
Stuart: We were warming people up for the good stuff.
Dean: It's all very exciting. There we go.
You want to start? Pick up.
Stuart: Yeah, I think so. For those playing along at home, if you go to 90minutebooks.com/gallery, and then you can see the particular titles that we're looking at, so when you're thinking about a cover and a title for your own book, then that will give you something to go against. The first one I picked out, I think because it was a visual one, was The Focus Edge by Phil Randazzo. To me, every time I look at the gallery, this one stands out. It's very eye-catching. I was saying to someone last week that when thinking about covers and designs, it's kind of the cover's spark, the reaction, the kind of emotional reaction catches the eye, and then the title and the subheading has an action. You've kind of got that reaction-action synergy thing coming together.
The next one, really, because there's a lot of dynamic movement in the cover. It really catches the eye. Then the title and subheading. The title is The Focus Edge. The subtitle is How Entrepreneurs Get Shit Done. It really is quite to the point. There's not really much messing around. Phil's done a couple of books quite well, and that's ... His emotion of getting stuff done really comes through in that cover. It's always interesting, that kind of blend between being overly designed and just the right amount of design to catch attention.
Dean: Yeah, you know, I think part of the thing about the covers is that it's really got to be about the title. That's really the first step, because that's what's going to tell the story about what the book is about. The Focus Edge definitely gives you a sense of what this is, especially when you say the subtitle. The only thing that people have to kind of make their decisions based on is the cover and the title of your book. It's the only thing, and that's why I put so much emphasis on really thinking through what the title is and what the benefit of actually reading the book. I've always said that the reason that the 90 minute book is such a great tool is that it gives you 80% of the value of the book is the fact that you have a book and the title and the cover. When you look at those things, that's what people are going to make that decision based on.
I'm looking through the gallery here. We have 2 really great designers, who I would put these books up against any books that you see anywhere. These are just outstanding. When you see them, this isn't even all of them for sure, but the way that when you look at this, you can see. These are really great, professional looking books. There's something about the psychology of that when people are making a decision or presented with the opportunity to get a book. They look at the title, and if you can convey to people that there's a benefit to it, that it's going to be valuable to them, that upon seeing it, people who you want to be in a conversation with immediately say, "I want that." The Focus Edge does that. 'Focus' is one of those great, emotionally loaded words.
Stuart: It's the promise of an answer to your question, I think isn't it, with no ambiguity. It does what it says on the tent.
Dean: Yeah. If I'm looking through here, the first one that jumps out on me is Lisa Sasavich, Boost Your Sales: How to Use Irresistible Offers Without Being Sales-y. That just says everything that you want it to say, you know? You see that there's an immediate benefit for reading this book, and you're going to say, "You know what? If that's something that I'm interested in, then this is going to be a good tool for me." Part of the benefit of putting all that emphasis into the title and the cover is that nobody knows whether this book is 50 pages or 250 pages. It does not matter. That's why the 90 minute book works so well, because it doesn't make the boat go faster. When I say that, it's a term that I use all the time.
If we're looking at the purpose of the book is to get you engaged in a conversation with the ideal person that you can help, the book is just a gateway into a relationship. The people that you want to be in a relationship with are, if you can tap into a title and a cover that speaks to them in a way that says, "That's for me, I want that," it's not making the boat go faster, meaning it's not improving the response to the book if it's 250 pages versus 50 pages. It doesn't matter, because nobody knows. They don't know that. All they see is it's a book, which is immediately embedded in our consciousness that this is valuable, and this person that wrote this book is an expert. I want the benefit that this title is offering. That's all that matters there. The fact that it's 50 pages or 250 pages doesn't matter.
Stuart: I think we had a conversation last week with Betsy, I think it was, about the effectiveness of a bigger book versus a smaller book. For a lot of people, the downside of even trying to do a bigger book is that there's so much resistance. It's such a big job. It's such a difficult job. Then you run into the risk of trying to be all things to all people, rather than specifically answering one question. As you say, starting the conversation.
Dean: Right. You can, but do that. If you've got more to say about something, then package it differently. Use this as a lead-in, and then save all that other good stuff that you have and put together a modular training course that you can sell for $500 or $1,000 or $1,500. I mean, I'm a user of this exact system. We have our email mastery book is essentially a 90 minute book, transcripts from the I Love Marketing podcast, when Joe and I did a few episodes about email, but run full page ads in Success Magazine. Run Facebook campaigns. People download the book for free, and then offer them a $1,500 blast or course on email mastery. That has been far more useful for people and profitable than putting all of that information in a big, 250 page or 300 page book.
Stuart: Exactly. Even from the receiver, the consumer's point of view, the likelihood of reading that 250 page book is ... Again, I gave the example just a couple of weeks ago. I've bought endless numbers of books. Since the invention of Kindle, it's even worse, because there's not the guilt of having it sit visibly on a shelf. The amount of books I've bought with the absolute intention of reading every page, and then not, because life happens. Delivering something afterwards ...
Dean: I just saw really great stats about the readership of books. Now that everything is going to Kindle, they showed the thing that some crazy number, I want to say, and I reserve the right to be wrong, but you have to include this, is that 20 or 30%- it was definitely less than 50% of people- ever read past the first 100 pages of a book. That's measured data from all the Kindle and e-book users. They can see how far you get into a book. Those are bestsellers. Books that aren't bestsellers fare even worse.
Stuart: Again, say it comes back to the job of work. The next one I had on the list kind of reinforces that don't get carried away with a design and just offer a title that sells a solution. That's Tyler's book, Tyler Osby's book, The Rent-Free Solution. This one keeps coming back because it's such a perfect incarnation of this approach. The title is The Rent-Free Solution. The subheading is How to Stop Renting, Buy a Home in Des Moines and Live in it for Free. Every single word on that page conveys the meaning to this single target market that Tyler is looking to engage. It's relatively blank. It's a white background with just a key fob and a key up in the top corner. I think he's using every single last bit of real estate there to get the point across and identify the exact people that he can help.
It's a really great example of it does exactly what it says on the tent. It's targeted to a single target market. He's got a very clear understanding of who he's trying to target, and then can quickly and easily get this book out, start collecting leagues. If he's got a second market 6 months down the track, then there could be another book that looks at maybe a different area instead of Des Moines or a different solution.
Dean: That works perfectly with postcards, with Facebook campaigns, all within looking for the specific target market. Of course Tyler is able to help people get a loan. That's what his core business is, and that's what his intention is. He wants to be in a conversation with people who are renting right now because they think that it would cost more money to buy a house, when he's got a way to actually show them how to live for less money than they're paying in rent right now, and in some cases for free and own the house. That's a really great example of a specific solution-oriented kind of cover. I like it.
Stuart: It really hits the mark. I think this single target market approach as opposed to a broader book really appeals to the group of people that you can best work with. Being able to do this quickly and easily and have something that's very targeted like this. Perfect example.
Dean: I like it.
Stuart: How about number 2? Do you have a second one, perhaps, rather than number 2?
Dean: I do. I would say ... Yeah, yeah. I like the title Return on Safety: Insuring a Positive Return on Your Investment in Workplace Safety. That originally, I think I talk about this one. I actually, now that I look at it, I think I'd give it a better subhead than Turning Workplace ... A subhead for that one was Turning Workplace Safety into a Competitive Advantage and Bottom Line Profits. Taking something, and this was one of the earlier books that we did. Doug has really had a great experience with this, because it elevates something that is decidedly un-sexy, workplace safety, which is nothing more in the mind commoditized than posters and you know, when you think about that, that kind of thing is people think about it from we've got to do our compliance there. Doug is very passionate about it. He's very skilled at it and knows how to do things in the way that you approach it that actually does create a competitive advantage and creates bottom line profits through less downtime from accidents, better morale, easy to recruit and retain workers. There's so many upsides to focusing on workplace safety.
Speaking the language of return on safety, and there's several books that we've done in that vein, because I've talked about that a lot. Yeah, Return on Hygiene. Return on anything that you can show something that people wouldn't otherwise think about monetarily. If you can turn it into a bottom line sort of approach, where people can get a return on that, that's a win. It elevates what you're doing in their mind.
Stuart: Workplace safety is something that's happening anyway, for things that are mandatory. There's no way around it. Creating a competitive advantage by doing it in a more effective way, is something that creates an advantage.
Dean: Right. You might as well embrace it, right?
Stuart: Yeah, exactly. There's no way around it. It's not something that you can avoid. It's interesting. That one comes up as an example quite often, being one of the earlier ones that we did. It's interesting to see how many have been inspired by that. I think the third one that I picked out in a similar vein, conveying a very clear message to a particularly group, is Jim Hacking's Staying Here. Jim is an immigration attorney. The particular group of people that he was working with is international students that are coming to the end of their study. It's not so much people coming into the country, but it is people already here. That Staying Here, as we were talking before, I wrote down the words 'emotional language' as we were talking about The Focus Edge. Staying Here, I think, ticks that box as well. I don't think he could pack a better title that absolutely embodies what those guys are thinking of at that time.
Dean: What their desire is, yeah.
Stuart: Yeah, absolutely. I think having that passion behind it, or passion is maybe not the right word. Having the emotional connection, not so much from the point of view of you as the writer, but really put yourself in the position of the reader and what is it that they're looking at. We have quite a few people come to it from the point of view of the technical language of the business, or perhaps they're focused a little bit too much on the outcome that they want to achieve themselves, rather than putting them in the position of the reader.
I think for people to keep in mind and how to really think about that, that customer avatar, really think. Like you said in the past, imagine that that person's just walked into the office. What would you say to them? What's the type of language that they've been using?
Dean: Right. I'm looking at now one. This is the first time I'm laying eyes on this. I haven't seen it. The Live to 126: How to Live a Very Long and Healthy Life by Dr. Jim Morris. That is a very, very interesting title. Very specific and very ... That's pretty cool. If that's something, if longevity is on your radar, that's something that would be very, very interesting.
Stuart: Do you think 126 gives it more credibility than 125? It seems like a more considered number. There seems to be math behind 126 as opposed to another number.
Dean: You have to wonder. Yeah, yeah. Exactly. Why 126? It's such a very specific number. It's great. What better than the highest number that people probably say? This one goes to 11. This is a beautiful cover. Was this Glen or Sarah who did this one?
Stuart: I'm not sure. If you talk for a little bit longer, I'll just have a quick look in the system.
Dean: That's funny. Yeah.
Stuart: As you look down the list, all through the whole gallery, like you were saying, the variety of the covers and just the undoubted professionalism of them. It's interesting. I see them every day obviously, passing through. It's not until you take a moment and look at them collectively that you realize just why ...
Dean: Yeah. We've done a lot of cool stuff.
Stuart: Yeah, yeah. Let me have a quick look. We're almost there. I'll be quiet for a minute while you're talking and take a quick look.
Dean: I think that the big lesson here is the cover, we're going to make the cover look great. We haven't had a dud of a cover in the whole bunch, in 100s of books. The cover is going to look great. What's more important is really is what does it say. I think that's the magic, is to convey a title that really speaks to your ideal audience. It's really just about beginning with the end in mind. If you're beginning that, the whole thing is we want to get in conversation with people who we can help, so we backtrack and start to think about what would they really want. Where are they now? What would be something that would help start that conversation? Even if it's different than what they think right now. If they don't know what they don't know, so you have to meet them where they are. By that, I mean something that is going to just start the conversation is different maybe than the destination that they're going to end up with.
I think immediately of Hypnotize Your Husband. That's one of the very first ones we did. I actually named ... Yevgeni is his real name. I named him Yuri Zoloft. Hypnotize Your Husband is just such a curiosity-inducing book that when you're speaking to somebody who is going to be attracted to that, that's a gateway into all the other things that hypnosis can do. They might not be sort of attracted to a book about what hypnosis can do for them, all the other things including smoking and weight loss and all of those things. Now that you've started the conversation about hypnosis, you get to use the conversation about the husband to demonstrate how hypnosis works and start a conversation that leads to them doing other types of hypnosis with themselves.
Stuart: I think that's a fascinating point, isn't it, to remind people that it is the gateway. It's the start of the conversation. It's not convincing people of an answer of getting people to think about your mindset. It's just the start of the conversation towards attracting the people who self-select themselves as interested.
Dean: That's exactly it. I just had tea with Julie Matthews, who is a hypnosis practitioner and a hypnotist. This cover is not on here yet, but we've got in the works a book called Willpower Schmillpower: Why Trying to Lose Weight Almost Never Works and What to do Instead. It doesn't even bring hypnosis into the conversation at the beginning. It talks about willpower, how ineffective willpower is in trying to lose weight. We start off with a sentiment that everybody can relate to. Willpower Schmillpower, you know? That's just such a nice transition to explain why willpower doesn't work, why it fails. You can relate to exactly what happens, and then bridge that to why that's happening is because your deeper subconscious is what's really in control. Then you start that conversation and lead people to, at the end of the book, an opportunity to call and listen to a recorded message that will tell you whether you can be hypnotized. Always leading to the next step. The title and the cover is really just the first step in the conversation that turns the invisible prospect into a visible prospect.
Stuart: Yeah. I think that's key. People are quite familiar with that type of approach in a direct marketing campaign or a postcard campaign or an ad campaign. I think letting people know that it's now possible with a slightly different tool, a slightly different asset, it really opens up a whole other category of people to appeal to. That also carries through it some of the authority of being a published author. That secondary, the direct response approach of here's a single target market. Meet them in the conversation that they're having.
I just looked back at Live to 126. It was a Glen Linton special.
Dean: Good. I figured. That's good.
Stuart: Yeah, it is good. I'm going to reach out to Jim as well and see if he can do a show in the future. We just had Glenn McQueenie on last week talking about the doors that his book has opened. Jim used quite a lot of physical books in his campaign. He's ordered quite a lot. I think if we can get him on the show and look at the success he's had.
Stuart: Fantastic. Well, let's wrap up there. I think that was a good run through. Again, anyone that wants to play along at home should just go to 90minutebooks.com/gallery and you can see all of the covers that we've been talking about today and a lot of the other ones that we've done. It's a great resource for people trying to get inspiration on both titles and design. Any final words from over there?
Dean: Yeah. I think that when you look at the gallery, you're going to see all the covers are awesome. It's going to be great. The cover is going to be great. I think that picking a cover, you could have a cover as simple as the one that Tyler Osby has. The cover is, I would say to people, don't sweat it as much as you might. The little things, like this shade of blue versus this shade, or this, you know. The little things. I just look at the big thing and say, "Is it going to make the boat go faster?" Spend your time sweating over the title and let's get the cover, a good looking cover and get it out to the world. That's really it.
Stuart: Fantastic. Thanks, guys. Let's wrap up there. We'll catch you on the next show. Thank you.