Book Review: The Millionaire Map by Jim Stovall

The Millionaire Map by Jim Stovall, cover imageAs I was posting my own book for review on StoryCartel this weekend, I saw that Jim Stovall’s latest book, The Millionaire Map, was available for review as well. Knowing Mr. Stovall’s work from his great movie, The Ultimate Gift, and another of his books, The Lamp, I eagerly grabbed a copy, excited to read it.

Little did I realize at the time that it was exactly what I needed to read right now.

Less than 24 hours later, with 6 pages of notes by my side, I’d read all 160 pages of the book.

I found myself frequently posting quotations from it to my Facebook friends, and sending personal notes to specific friends whom I knew would benefit from reading his thoughts as well.

Mr. Stovall was hitting on the same struggles and sticking points that my friends and I have been sharing of late, and it was great to have the wisdom and insight of someone who has been where we are, leading us to where we want to go.

[Read more…]

5 Books on Building Personal Brands That Everyone Should Read

Today’s guest post is from Kelsey Castle is a freelance writer and editor who focuses on small business topics. She has a degree from Penn State and lives in Maryland.

There are a lot of opportunities out there for someone who’s motivated. However, it can be hard to get noticed. Your personal brand refers to who you are, what you’re passionate about, and the strength of your reputation.

Aleweb Social Marketing - 5 Books on Building Personal Brands That Everyone Should Read Pic 1

Learn more about developing your personal brand with an expertly written book.

If you’re still trying to figure out your personal brand, investing time in reading a top-rated book might put you on the right track.

Career Distinction: Stand Out by Building Your Brand
By William Arruda and Kirsten Dixson

Sometimes it’s not enough to just tell you how to build a brand, but to show you as well. This book includes case studies of successful professionals who have defined their brand and used it to their advantage in the workplace.

Authors Arruda and Dixon offer a step-by-step guide to identify your target audience, tell your brand story, express yourself clearly and consistently, and understand the importance of online reputation management. The book comes from a duo that are widely respected in the career-coaching community. [Read more…]

Book Review: The Apple in the Orchard by Sonia DiMaulo

The Apple in the Orchard by Sonia DiMauloThe Apple in the Orchard  by Sonia DiMaulo is an illustrated storybook about finding the courage to emerge as a leader. I hesitate to call this a children’s book, even though many who pick it up might think of it that way. The lessons in this book are suitable for children and adults alike, though.

The story itself is about Brave Apple, who learns the importance of living with purpose. She learns to question the status quo and look beyond what’s familiar to find her place in the world.

Brave Apple grows on Pale Green, a tree on the outskirts of the Orchard that is pale and produces sickly fruit because of his disconnect from Red Harvest, the largest, strongest and healthiest tree in the Orchard.

Red Harvest nurtures the relationships among the trees in the Orchard and cultivates collaboration as they grow and produce fruit. Since Pale Green is so far from the center of the Orchard, he misses the messages of Red Harvest. As a result, Pale Green believes that he is separate and apart from the rest of the Orchard. Believing that he is completely independent, Pale Green struggles without the support and connection of the rest of the Orchard.

As Brave Apple surveys the Orchard from the branches of Pale Green, she can see Red Harvest’s glow, but not feel it. A desire to connect with Red Harvest overwhelms her. She battles fear and uncertainty as she does what no one else has ever done. She leaves the safety of her branch, and begins her pilgrimage to the center of the Orchard. Her desire to learn is overwhelming.

Brave Apple’s story is an allegory of every leader’s journey. There comes a time when we question the things we’ve always been told. Our desire to learn forces us to seek out mentors and other leaders who can help us discover the secrets to achieving our passions and realizing our goals.

It’s a wonderful story to share with children, to show them that conformity is not always the best way. It encourages the reader, showing that curiosity and a desire to learn are noble qualities.

For adults, the story is equally appealing, and will resonate with many readers as they work to become emerging leaders themselves.

But don’t just take my word for it! This story has also been endorsed by the likes of Ken Blanchard, Mike Henry Sr, Roy Saunderson, and S. Max Brown; some pretty heavy hitters in the leadership arena.

Ken Blanchard has this to say about The Apple in the Orchard:

The Apple in the Orchard by Sonia Di Maulo is a lovely little book with a profound message: To pursue greatness, aspiring leaders sometimes must dare to leave the familiar. Opportunities for growth and learning are all around you—so take the leap, and grow!

To get your copy of The Apple in the Orchard, click here.

Disclaimer: A review copy of this book was provided to me by the author. No further compensation was made or promised. Additionally, no affiliate links were used in this post.

Book Review: The Pumpkin Plan by Mike Michalowicz, or How to Grow a Killer Business

The Pumpkin Plan book cover by Mike MichalowiczIt’s been awhile since I’ve written a book review on my blog. It’s not because I haven’t been reading. I have. It’s just that there have been so many other things calling for my attention, like writing my own Top Ranking eBook, preparing for the launch (September 5th) of a book I co-authored, and keeping up with client work, family life and other obligations.

So, when Mike Michaelowicz, a.k.a. The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, asked if I’d be willing to review his latest book, The Pumpkin Plan, I had to give it some serious thought before making the commitment.

In reading the book’s description though, I realized it was one I was going to want to read regardless, so may as well help with the launch! The book’s subtitle is “A Simple Strategy to Grow a Remarkable Business in Any Field.” It’s more than that though.

In this book, Mike explores the idea that many entrepreneurs are broke in every sense of the word, working 5 to 9, eight days a week, yet still living check to check. As much as I hate to say it, that sounds like me and many of the other entrepreneurs I know!

Every one I talk to has the same complaint. They want to work less and earn more. Whether it’s selling their service, product, book or speaking topics, it takes hard work. We keep thinking that we’re so close to “making it” that we keep plugging away at it, never realizing that we’re going about it all wrong…

That’s what drove me to read The Pumpkin Plan. I needed to find my own way out of the rut I was making and into the business I knew I could have.

Mike was inspired by the methods used by farmers to grow giant pumpkins and saw the applicability of those techniques for growing a wildly successful business that dominates the competition.

The plan is simple:

  • Plant a prizewinning seed.
  • Get rid of the losers.
  • Nurture the winners.

As I ate lunch with a friend the other day, a message came through on his phone, and he started talking about how he’s got this blood-sucking client who contacts him multiple times a day for support. After reading The Pumpkin Plan, my first thought was “Get rid of the loser!”

While this is a hard thing for any business owner to contemplate, blood-suckers keep our businesses from growing because they sap us of the time and energy we could be spending to blow the minds of our best customers with our innovation and unparalleled service.

This same principle applies whether you are an entrepreneur struggling to attain the riches of time and money you know are waiting for you, a speaker offering too many one-off topics to be appealing to as many event coordinators as possible, or an author looking to market your book to absolutely everyone.

Plant a prize-winning seed. What’s the core strength of what you have to offer? When other people talk about it, what do they say? If you don’t know, ask your best clients or customers. Here’s what one of mine had to say…

Top two things I love about Aleweb.
1. Actually knows what needs to be done.
2. And on the rare occasion that you don’t know, you know exactly who does. As result, I don’t have to pay for fiddle-around-trying-to-figure-it-out time.

Get rid of the losers. Rotten pumpkins stunt the growth of healthy ones. So, know your customers. Figure out which ones drive sustained growth and ditch the rest! (If you’re like me, ditching a customer sounds hard. But Mike gives 4 examples of simple ways to do just that, and they’re easy!)

Nurture the winners. This means more than just upselling to your best customers. It means finding out what their real needs are and then blowing their minds with innovation and unparalleled service, doing the things that you are already best at doing. Talk about aligning your business with your purpose! In this stage of the plan, you are working with the customers who already value you for what you are best at, and are giving you ideas as to how to give them more of it!

So, if you’re looking for inspiration, thoughts and practical ideas of how you can go from growing your everyday, garden variety business to growing an awesome, killer, cream-of-the-crop enterprise, you need to read this book and work the plan as you go along.

To learn more about The Pumpkin Plan, watch a video from Mike, and download the first chapter for free, check out his website and the related free resources.

Disclaimer: A free review copy of this book was provided to me by the author. No further compensation was made or promised. Additionally, no affiliate links were used in this post. Aleweb is based in a state where we can’t be Amazon affiliates. Darn!

 

Have you read The Pumpkin Plan yet? What action steps have you taken toward growing your own giant pumpkin?

How to Promote Your Book Online – A DIY Guide

The Plan that Launched a Thousand Books by Tara Alemany of Aleweb Social Marketing - https://alewebsocial.comMany authors I know struggle with what the next steps are after they’ve finished all the writing work. They search the internet and book stores for “how to” guides to get them started with marketing and promotion, but many of the ones that are available either are incomplete or lack the level of detail required to do it yourself.

Until now, that is… Like any entrepreneur, I listen to my clients and look for those common issues they encounter; the questions I answer on a regular basis. The need I kept hearing over and over again was for a Do-It-Yourself guide to book marketing. And now it’s here!

Introducing The Plan that Launched a Thousand Books!

Within its first 24 hours on Amazon, it is already ranked in the Top 100 for both of its categories. So, it must be resonating with my readers as well!

I have taken my extensive training and technical writing experience to create a comprehensive, 89-page, easy-to-understand eBook that you can use all by yourself. I have spent as much as $27 on book marketing materials in the past that turned out to be simply lists of things you needed to do with lots of white space around them and no additional information to get you started. That’s not useful! So, that’s not what you’ll get in this eBook. (If you like to figure it all out on your own, let me know and I can point you to some of those books.)

For each marketing strategy I outline, I discuss various considerations for the option, and recommend tools and techniques. This allows you to make informed decisions about what you are capable of doing, and where you might want to get a little help. (Of course, Aleweb is always here to support you!)

So, if you or someone you know is an author and book sales are not what they should be, consider picking up a copy of The Plan that Launched a Thousand Books today! It could be the best $9.99 you’ve ever spent. But you won’t know until you try it. 🙂

If you dobuy a copy and would like me to autograph it, you can request a Kindlegraph here.

 

If you are a blogging book reviewer and are interested in reviewing this eBook, please send a review copy request to info@alewebsocial.com with your name, blog address and preferred format (Kindle or .pdf).

Personalizing the eBook Experience

Kindlegraph | Aleweb Social Marketing

One of the greatest thrills of a reader’s experience is when they can have a favorite author autograph one of their books. As a collector of signed, first editions, that’s always been one of my biggest hesitations in adopting the eBook experience.

What if I fall in love with a book and have a chance to get an author’s autograph? If I read it in eBook form, I’d have to spend the money twice on it; once for the eBook, then to buy a hardcopy to have the author sign. Bummer!

And from the author’s standpoint, what does that do to good old-fashioned book signings. Half of your readership probably purchased your book on an eReader, so what’s the point of a book signing? Or how do you recapture the thrill of attending one?

Or perhaps for financial, distribution or speed-to-market reasons, you opted to for an eBook-only version of your latest book. So, you don’t even have a print copy to sign! Does that mean you have to miss out on the relationship-building experience of sharing your autograph with adoring fans?

Not anymore! Last summer, Kindlegraph appeared on the scene, and it could just be an answer to your prayers. Currently, there are over 3,500 authors currently registered with the site, and over 15,000 books listed. So, you’d be in good company.

But what exactly is a Kindlegraph? It’s a personalized, autographed page for your eBook, of course! The Kindlegraph service enables authors to sign eBooks for their readers for free, and not just for those with Kindles. Kindlegraphs are available as a PDF or an AZW version.

Start by signing in with Twitter and then entering your AISN (Amazon Standard Identification Number) at http://www.kindlegraph.com/books/new. (The AISN is right after the ‘dp’ in the URL of your book on Amazon.com. For example, in the URLhttp://www.amazon.com/dp/0061977969, the ASIN is0061977969.)

Next, provide the e-mail address where you want to be notified of pending autograph requests. It’s that simple! Within minutes, your book is added to the Kindlegraph library. (Note: Since books are added via an Amazon designator, your eBook needs to be available on Amazon.)

When a fan spots your book listed, they request a Kindlegraph from you. Once a day, you are sent an e-mail with the list of pending requests. You go into the system, type a personalized message, and then “sign” the eBook. This can be done by actually signing your name using a mousepad (or using your finger on a tablet), or you can use a stylized script instead.

Personally, until other signing options are available (like uploading your signature), I’d consider signing your John Hancock with an “X” or using the stylized script. Signing with the mousepad is like drawing something in MS Paint on the freehand setting; very unforgiving unless you’re highly skilled at it. Perhaps using your finger on a tablet is easier, but I didn’t get a chance to test that out.

When you’re done, your signature is added to the cover page of your eBook, and the Kindlegraph is then sent to the reader (to their Kindle, if they have an e-mail address on file for it, or e-mail address).

Once you’re done processing that request, move on to the next one in the list. You can write a different message with each request you receive (and practice signing your name again – perhaps you’ll master the technique with time!).

Another thing to note is that you should add your own books to the Kindlegraph library. Since you sign in with Twitter, when you add a book it’s automatically associated with your account. Your name is listed as the author, etc. So, when you add a book for someone else, the author name that’s displayed is yours, not theirs! Avoid the confusion, and add your own books! Don’t delegate this to anyone else unless they also have the authority to sign in using your Twitter profile.

With the first book you add to the site, an author’s page is made for you where fans can see all the eBooks you have available for autographing. There is also a customized widget that you can load onto your website that will take visitors directly to your Kindlegraph author page.

I love how innovative people, like Kindlegraph’s creator Evan Jacobs, find ways to retain what’s best about “the old days” and bring them into the 21st century. Don’t you?

 

Are you going to add your eBook to the Kindlegraph library? If you do, post a link to your Kindlegraph listing below!

Book Review: Uprising by Scott Goodson

Publicists will tell you that if you want to gain visibility for your brand, you should tie it into relevant current events. Make your message timely by clarifying its connection to news-worthy topics. It’s the only real way to get the media’s attention.

However, in Scott Goodson’s book Uprising: How to Build a Brand – and Change the World – by Sparking Cultural Movements, he shows you how to flip that paradigm around. Rather than tying your brand, book title or product to a naturally occurring news topic, create your own by starting a movement.

He emphasizes that he’s referring a “movement” with a little m, not a “Movement” with a big one. As he puts it:

These “movements with a small m” may involve, say, a group of passionate activists, creative types, or even rabid consumers of a particular product. When these people band together around a shared passion or idea and try to turn it into something bigger and more significant, they’re not necessarily trying to change history or to change the world as we know it. They’re just trying to change the world (or some small part of it) as they know it.

Following in the footsteps of Guy Kawasaki’s Enchantment (Guy wrote an endorsement for Uprising), Scott shares the concept of creating a vision that builds into a story as your movement grows. It has to be something that captures the attention of an individual and draws them in, enchanting them because of a shared affinity for the subject.

For example, the vision may be to promote kindness. The only real prerequisite for participating in a movement is passion. To spark a movement, it has to be something that you, and others, can get behind. People have to feel strongly enough about it to want to collectively do something. It is passion that transforms an idea into a movement. As you spark that movement, you can tie your brand, book or other product into that story by being the narrator, sponsor or an active participant.

The author goes on to explain how marketing models are shifting. Technology has played a role in this, but so have shifts in our social conscience, interests, etc. Today’s marketers need to “ditch the pitch” and figure out what people care about and how they can be part of that conversation. This transition to movement marketing is not without its risks. But Uprising does a good job of clearly outlining the steps required to build and maintain a strong and effective movement with your brand securing trust and value to the consumer in the process.

Scott’s writing is clear, easy to follow, and filled with excellent examples of both large and small brands that have made the transition to movement marketing. It provides actionable advice that you can apply to building your own brand and sparking your own movement. If you’ve read Seth Godin’s Tribes and Guy Kawasaki’s Enchantment, and are looking for further ways to be inspired, this book should be next up on your reading list.

 

Disclaimer: A free review copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher, McGraw Hill. No further compensation was made or promised.Additionally, no affiliate links were used in this post. Aleweb is based in a state where we can’t be Amazon affiliates. Darn!

Book Review: The Micro-Script Rules

The Micro-Script RulesI met author Bill Schley at the eMarketing Association’s Power of eMarketing conference in October this year, where we were both presenting. When he found out that I’m a blogger and sometimes do book reviews on my site, he gladly offered me a copy of his book, The Micro-Script Rules, in exchange for a review. The one catch? Well, he signed my copy with “Remember! You must blog or no Santa!”

I had every intention of reading and reviewing the book in November, as I’d originally told Bill. So I must start my review with an apology to the author… It’s Christmas week, and I’m still hoping that Santa will come! So, please accept this review and my apologies; unexpected life events side-tracked me for a time, which caused a backlog on my writing calendar.

That aside, let me tell you the key point of this book.

 It’s not what people hear.

It’s what they repeat…

Having told you that, you may think that there’s no reason to read the book now. Even the author suggests, after the first page, that all you really need to know is that the right 5 words always beats 5,000. He acknowledges that stories are more important to tell than ever, but that you need to know how to tell them in one line or less. That’s pretty much the central topic of the book.

If you already know that and have mastered the art of storytelling in one line or less, there’s no need for you to read the rest of the book. But for those of us who aren’t master storytellers yet, Bill offers the remaining 150+ pages that serve two great purposes. First, they use descriptive text and examples to identify what a micro-script is, how it’s used, and why it’s important. Then, the book goes on to help you develop the micro-scripts you need for your own purposes.

The clarity of the instruction and easy writing style of the author makes it a simple read, but a valuable addition to anyone’s book shelf whether you’re in business, or wanting to attract attention for other reasons. (I can see this being a great resource for teachers!)

So, if you’re looking to improve your storytelling skills in 2012 or to create great micro-scripts, based on your dominant selling idea, that people will want to share, this is the book that will help you to do just that. It’s one that I am definitely happy to have added to my bookshelf.

Following the author’s guidance enabled me to generate a new title my forth-coming eBook that is highly memorable as well as shareable. So, instead of telling my readers to be on the look-out for “How to Launch Your New Book Online” (boring!), I can tell them that they need to pounce on “The Plan that Launched a Thousand Books” as soon as they see it! Which title would you prefer sharing?

Book Review: Cracks in the Sidewalk

While most of my book reviews are relevant to social media, business, job seeking, technology or leadership, I recently was offered the chance to read some lighter fare; a book by Bette L. Crosby called “Cracks in the Sidewalk,” which is an award-winning novel about a grandmother’s 20-year search for her missing grandchildren. Since I knew I needed a break from what I had been reading and the holiday season is upon us, I thought perhaps you might enjoy something different as well.

I first met the author, Bette, on LinkedIn, where we both participate in the Book Reviewers group. She shared an excerpt of “Cracks in the Sidewalk,” and I got hooked on the story right away. Bette creates characters that are believable and who struggle with the events of their lives. Some of the characters accept that life is not always a bed of roses. Others play the Blame Game, and do all they can to avoid responsibility for their own problems. As I read the excerpt online, I found myself wanting to learn more. Read the opening lines yourself, and you’ll see what I mean.

“I’m an old woman now. Some might say too old to dream, too old to still believe in miracles. But a dream your heart has held onto for the better part of a lifetime doesn’t disappear easily, it tucks itself behind the everyday worries that pick at you and waits—waits until theday you can again feel your heartbeat and know that hope is stirring insideyour soul.”

With those first few words, I knew I wanted to learn more about what was going on, and the rest of the story didn’t disappoint me. I walked alongside Charlie and Claire as they wrestled with the terminal illness of their daughter, Elizabeth, and the inconceivable response of her husband, Jeffrey. I was there as they made every effort to be a part of their grandchildren’s lives, even while mourning the loss of their daughter and fighting against the manipulative resistance of their son-in-law.

Each chapter is told from a differing viewpoint, so you are granted glimpses into the minds and hearts of the four main characters and those whose lives they affect. Perhaps we aren’t given as much insight as we, the reader, might like, but to do so would have made the book intolerably long. As it was, the story kept a brisk pace with lots to keep my attention.

If there were any significant disappointments at all, it wasn’t in the story or character development, but in the fact that the book could have used a thorough editing. There were many missing quotation marks, and repeated or misspelled words, which I personally find distracting and frustrating. But they did not detract from the quality of the story or the fact that I grew to dislike the antagonist more with every page turned, and that I admired the way the protagonist handled all that she went through.

Oftentimes, we can look at our lives and wonder why things happen the way that they do. We can even be tempted to feel cheated or gypped out of what’s rightfully ours. We can let bitterness rule our hearts, as Jeffrey does, or let acceptance and forgiveness rule, like Elizabeth. In the end, we may even be granted a second-chance we never thought possible, as Claire receives.

Book Review: Social Media Judo

Social Media Judo coverWhen I was offered the opportunity to review a book entitled “Social Media Judo” by Chris Aarons, Geoff Nelson, Nick White and Dan Zehr, I jumped at the chance. I was informed that the book was written by Ivy Worldwide, an award-winning agency for effectiveness, and revealed the secrets to revenue-driving social media campaigns.

Any effective social marketer knows that this is more than just collecting friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter. There’s a real art and style that goes into effectively marketing on the internet, and cutting through the clutter of videos, social networks, blogs and more that clamor for the attention of a prospective consumer.

The book promised to give a deep insight into how top worldwide brands (such as HP, Lenovo, Microsoft) are having success with social media and how they are using it to drive sales and revenue. As a martial artist and a student of social marketing myself, I loved the idea of blending the philosophy and mindset of martial arts with the mechanics of word-of-mouth marketing to generate real results.

The style of martial arts that I study is a Korean form called Tang Soo Do (most closely related to Tae Kwon Do, and the same style that Chuck Norris studied prior to founding Chun Kuk Do). In it, there are 7 tenets that we highly value: Integrity, Concentration, Perseverance, Respect & Obedience, Self-Control, Humility, and Indomitable Spirit. As I waited for my copy of the book to arrive, I thought perhaps these were some of the topics that would be touched upon.

Instead, Social Media Judo focused on four, just-as-important pillars to judo and the philosophy of social marketing.

  1. Minimum effort and maximum efficiency – Tapping into the network of key influencers already in place to use their existing momentum to help spread your message.
  2. Mutual benefit – Crafting programs that generate a strong return for the company by also provide an equally beneficial outcome for the influences and partners with whom you work.
  3. Etiquette – Creating personal relationships with online content producers and influencers, rather than merely trying to exploit them when you need them.
  4. Physical education – Building a bridge between philosophy and practice. The judo mindset challenges the ways you think about and interact with your key influences, both on- and offline.

The book demonstrates, through real-world examples, how important it is to master the philosophy as well as the mechanics of these techniques. As the authors point out, “You can’t merely mimic the moves of a judo expert and expect to become a great fighter.”

As you read through the book, it also covers the importance of falling, and the view of it that students must learn to adopt in order to adapt. By learning about how to fall properly, companies can overcome their fear of failing with social media, and derive lessons from the experience that enable them to see the upside that’s possible, even in the risk of the downside. When these risks are mitigated through traditional marketing efforts and effective planning, the potential that exists is huge for any company! You’ll also learn the basics of marketing, along with strategies to maintain the balance between “going with the flow” and keeping your message intact.

Each of the examples that are given, and the analysis that goes into why they worked or didn’t work, is invaluable. By studying them, marketers can begin to develop their own plans to increase sales, cut marketing costs, and boost engagement, all while paying for themselves with real revenue!

If I had any real criticism of the book to offer, it’s that it neglects social networks beyond blogging. But the thought there is that it gives your key influences a larger platform that can ultimately be promoted using other social networks. So, they become a means to an end, instead of the destination themselves.

Overall, the book is well-written and useful! There’s something in it for both novice marketers and more experienced individuals, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you get something more out of it on subsequent readings. It’s definitely a book I’m happy to add to my Social Marketing bookshelf!