Mastering conflict is a core capability for today's leaders
Mark Rosenberg is an executive coach, mediator and faciliator who empowers leaders and their teams to achieve their potential. Mark started his career as a lawyer, then worked in senior management roles in the private and public sector, before branching out as a mediator and creating Balanced Curve, based in Gladesville Sydney. The company are experts in conflict management, executive and team coaching, mediation and facilitation.
You can read more about them at balancedcurve.com.
As a lawyer, Mark was dealing with hardcore disputes that were expensive and involved a lot of management time. As a mediator, however, he realised his strength was dealing with conflict. Over the years he has helped thousands of leaders become better at having hard conversations.
With this wealth of knowledge and firsthand experience, Mark wanted to share what he's learned with others so they have the opportunity to be better communicators and handle conflict better - afterall, it's something that many of us struggle with! He did this utilising the experience of the team at Publish Central (who also told him about RM Marketing Services!) and published a book called Mastering Hard Conversations: Turning Conflict into Collaboration.
The key message of the book is simply: conflict in the workplace is inevitable. That means that as a leader - whether that's the CEO or senior management team, or a leader within your own team, or a thought leader within an organisation - being skilled in dealing with conflict and having uncomfortable conversations has enormous benefits. Mastering Hard Conversations provides a proven, practical, structured approach to help you become a better leader by improving your communication and conflict skills.
Mark came to us to talk about marketing and publicity support - as well as support and advice while he navigated the world of publishing and bookselling. Like many independently published authors, navigating the metadata minefield was the first challenge - ensuring that accurate, enhanced information on the book was sent out in data feeds to online booksellers was tricky for someone who hasn't experienced it before. For many indie authors, online booksellers are THE main sales channel due to the nature of publishing and distributing a book using the Ingram Spark platform (print to order and ebook distribution) so getting this information right was a priority.
We then discussed ways of disseminating information about the book to core booksellers and library suppliers. We also mapped out plans for content and social media posts, particularly using LinkedIn for engagement where Mark had a loyal, supportive following. We also worked with some online sites and Mark spoke to his peers who have podcasts about teams and teamwork. Our good friends at Books+Publishing included him on their #booksareessential campaign which has 10,000 followers on Instagram. We liaised with reviewers and we provided promotional and marketing support as the weeks progressed.
As icing on the cake, Mark was able to turn a profile about his house into an article about the house, his dogs Peggy Sue and Honey, and his book! The article is below however the online article had a different heading - Lockdown at home proved perfect for Mark Rosenberg to write about conflict management - which was pretty perfect! You can read it here on The Australian website.
Since we've been working with Mark on his book, we've seen Mastering Hard Conversations in and out of the Top 50 books in mediation and conflict resolution on Amazon, and even in the Top 3! It's a book that resonates with readers because it's practical, well-written and helps them develop their knowledge and skills in conflict resolution and communication within teams.
You won't be surprised to hear, we're big fans of the book, particularly Chapter 8 - Dealing with Certifiable Assholes!
Listen to Mark speak about that chapter here.
As an executive coaching working with leaders at all levels of management I can’t recommend this book highly enough. Most of us find ‘hard conversations’ extremely difficult and none of us are born with the skills of knowing how to have them well. Mastering Hard Conversations provides a clear, practical guide: there are great tips and examples, not just for having a challenging conversation, but also how to prepare to have one. This is definitely a book that every leader should have at hand.
We recently contributed this article to the Independent Publishing newsletter from our good friends at Books+Publishing. If you haven't subscribed to their newsletters, we highly recommend you do so now.
All the social media and marketing advice says if you are engaging with an audience—with consumers, with booksellers, with librarians and teachers—you’re going to need a social media strategy.
Social media is about starting a discussion—about you, your product, your services. ‘Discussions’ do not increase sales—they create awareness. Your job is to enhance this awareness so you can develop a brand, build reader loyalty and have a sales strategy that makes it easy for someone to buy your book. That may be through bricks and mortar bookshops, online booksellers, special accounts or directly from your website. It should not be used solely as a sales strategy but linked to your overall sales and marketing plan for your books.
Lesson one: start early
One thing to keep in mind is that author and product awareness doesn’t happen overnight! You need to be thinking about your digital and social media strategy a long time before your book is published. As an industry consultant, there’s nothing more frustrating than getting a phone call or an email because someone has ‘written a book’ and they tell me the book has just come back from the printers, can I help with a website, promotions, publicity, getting them on the socials? They have published a book and no one can find them! They have no brand, no online presence, no followers, no readers, no SEO search results—zero digital footprint as an author. They are starting too late to build their author brand in a way that will maximise promotional and publicity opportunities.
Don’t leave it to the last minute to develop a digital and social media action plan.
Lesson two: define your goals
So what is social media marketing? It is essentially a way of creating content in multiple formats then distributing that on an online platform designed to drive engagement, encourage discussion and share information for consumers. It builds virtual networks and communities. It’s a conversation. And if you’re an author, it will provide direct access to your readers and vice versa.
Another thing to keep in mind is where social media is taking place. Statistics shows the number of smartphone users in the world is forecast to be 7.9 billion this year and of those 3.96 billion are on social media. (Which reminds me: you need to be thinking mobile for your website as well. Is it mobile–friendly? There are plenty of online services now that can help you with your website and have it integrate with social media. Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, Shopify and others can connect the dots for you. Websites aren’t expensive these days and you can contact industry professionals to help you get started.)
While I think everyone needs to have a social media strategy, that doesn’t necessarily means that everyone will have one. As authors and publishers one of the best things you can do is define what your social media strategy looks like. What are your goals? What are the platforms that are right for you? How will you communicate in those channels? Discover the voice that works best in those you want to engage with—then work out the best way to create and schedule content across those platforms. Do you have a content plan going forward? How will you keep the engagement going?
The best way to think about social media is to write down your goals. What do you want social media to do for you? Do you want to:
Lesson three: know your audience
I read somewhere that unless you can answer the question ‘who is your audience’ then you’re wasting your time on social media! But now I’m going to hit you with the big question: who is your audience? This is really important for advertising on social media as you’ll need to identify your core audience, market to a custom build audience or a consider look-alike audience.
So, who are your readers? What do they read? What podcasts do they listen to? What magazines do they read? What television do they watch? What sex are they? What age group? Where do they live? What keeps them up at night? What type of content are they craving? Do they stream content? Listen to ABC radio? How do they entertain themselves?
Over time social media analytics will build a nice but general profile of your readers so you will be able to discover who they are and continue to build discussions around them. Knowing your audience will help with your digital marketing strategy including email marketing and website.
If you can’t define your audience or some buyer personas, why did you write your book?
It's been a busy few months here at RM Marketing Services. As soon as I finished teaching Book Marketing & Sales at the University of Sydney, I hopped on a plane to Singapore to help the Singapore Book Publishers Association launch their version of Titlepage. It was a wonderful experience and, no surprise, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The one hour presentation was on ... the one thing all publishers hate (Answer: Metadata) and was called The Flow of Book Information. I hope by the end of it, those attending and those watching online realised how important bibliographic data is for marketing and that instead of shuddering when they heard the word "metadata" they would say YEAH! instead (hence the thumbs up picture in the carousel below). As David Shelley, CEO of Hachette says in How to Market Books (Baverstock & Bowen):
optimising your metadata is probably the single thing all publishers can currently most effectively do on a day-to-day basis to really move the needle on most titles' sales.
Everyone needs to get it right.
While I was in Singapore I also did a social media workshop as part of the LitUp Festival. We talked about how to use social media and content strategy. It was important for attendees to discover their unique selling proposition and discover how to market their author brand through the socials.
Photos from both events are below.
Some of the material for that Effective Marketing through Social Media workshop was recently turned into an online article for the Independent Publishing newsletter from our good friends at Books+Publishing. Check it out and let me know what you think by leaving a comment here.
If you are not subscribing to the newsletters from B+P, drop everything and do it now. It's a wonderful source of information on the publishing and bookselling industry.
This was also one of the recommendations for attendees of a recent workshop for the New England Writers Centre. The subject this time was Marketing and Distribution for Indie Authors. There was an awful lot to cover - each topic could easily be their own workshop! We talked about distribution options, marketing strategy, and bibliographic information - all important topics for those in publishing already and for those just starting out.
RM Marketing Services is happy to do workshops and presentations related to marketing and distribution - two areas we do a lot of outsourcing and consulting work in. Contact us today.
I was preparing my 2022 social media calendars this afternoon and it takes time to gather information from multiple sources. It's not a definitive list but you are welcome to use it with book sales & marketing activities.
If you would like to add to the list or request changes please contact me - I'm interested in national and relevant international events for publishers, booksellers and libraries.
February 2022 | Black History Month (North America & UK)
March 2022 | Australian Women’s History Month | National Epilepsy Awareness Month
June 2022 | Pride in US
October 2022 | International School Library Month | Breast Cancer Awareness Month
November 2022 | Movember
It's official. Rachael is a Maverick.
MEDIA RELEASE 30th MARCH 2021
Maverick Publishing Specialists Ltd, continues the expansion of its global network of publishing industry experts with the addition of two Senior Consultants. The newest additions to the team strengthen Maverick’s presence in Australia/New Zealand, as well as technology-focused areas, such as product strategy and development, and operations.
Rachael McDiarmid, Affiliate Senior Associate (ANZ)
Rachael McDiarmid brings over 30 years of senior management book industry experience in a variety of product, sales, marketing, content acquisition, and supply chain management roles. In her career, she has worked on both the academic publisher side, as well as library supply where she managed publisher relations for the print, digital and multimedia supply chain.
Rachael was the face of the James Bennett/Nielsen Bookdata joint venture in the mid-2000’s and has worked with Blackwell Book Services and Baker & Taylor/YBP on their retail and digital projects in the Australia/New Zealand (ANZ) region. A resident of Sydney, Australia, Rachael provides outsourced sales and marketing solutions for publishers, distributors, and library vendors, both locally and internationally. She is also the ANZ contact for publishers for ProQuest’s Ebook Central.
Ron Ragsdale, Affiliate Senior Associate, Strategy, Operations, Technology and Content
Ron brings 25 years in the global educational (ELT) publishing sector (print and digital), building and managing teams and programmes, and delivering projects across diverse functions and geographies, including roles as Managing Editor of EL Gazette magazine, and as Global Publishing Director (ELT), Director of Knowledge Management, and Director of Business Change Programmes for Cambridge University Press.
His expertise includes product strategy and development, data management and enterprise systems implementation (including SAP, WorkDay, SalesForce and MS Office 365 collaboration tools), and the creation, integration and upscaling of new operations. Ron has direct experience in India and the Middle East, West and East Europe, Zimbabwe, and China. He holds a BA in Business Management, an MA in TESOL / Applied Linguistics, and serves as an Associate Lecturer for Anglia Ruskin University’s MA Publishing programme.
We look forward to working on future projects with academic and specialist publishers locally and internationally through the Mavericks network.
For more information about what Maverick Publishing Specialists do, please go to their website: www.maverick-os.com
The Organised Writer: How To Stay on Top of All Your Projects and Never Miss a Deadline by Antony Johnston
I recently had a chance to review this new book published by the Bloomsbury team that publish the Writers' and Artists' Yearbooks. Here in Australia we have a wonderful writing community - they are supportive of fellow writers, share experiences and helpful tips, and band together particularly on social media. To be honest, I loathe Twitter (I find it poisonous) but when it comes down to writers, illustrators, publishers, libraries, and others in the book trade, there's a lot of love and support out on that platform and other social media sites. We really do have a special industry here and we should celebrate and use that to learn and communicate with each other.
With that said, if you are interested in writing as a profession and don't have time or money to do any of the courses frequently offered via Writer's Centres, Author associations, community colleges, or even the publishers who offer training, this book is a really good place to start.
"Ask ten writers to describe their ideal writing environment and you’ll get eleven different answers."
Antony gives the reader some helpful tips and tricks on time management and writing in general. First of all it's important to create a system to increase and maintain efficiency - you need to be able to meet deadlines and not forget anything. In fact he references "clean mind theory" and "memory distraction" and how to stop sabotaging from within! You need to be focussed and organised! So to start, figure out your daily writing quota, work out the number of days you have to submit, add 25% for unforeseen issues, block out days in calendar, and stick to it. Of course that sounds perfectly do-able, right?
Well not if you aren't good with email so Antony writes about getting smart with email. Throw away traditional productivity systems. Flag emails, label emails - your job is to write and not be distracted.
So what do you need? You need a task manager. A task manager is a permanent fixture in your workflow as it contains projects which in turn contains tasks. We use one here at RM Marketing Services - ASANA - however for our marketing pipelines we use Less Annoying CRM which also provides tasks and notes specific to the channels in which we work.
Antony also talks about the power of saying No - which is also important and many writers have a hard time saying it. "Saying no gives you power both over your destiny and value". The book also talks about productive procrastination and organising your personal life.
Writers must be able to take notes quickly and easily record any thought, idea or task that comes to mind so naturally how to use your phone and computer is covered in the book. Many writers we have worked with have basic tech skills but it's time to brush up folks. Do your research and use the best devices and apps that work for you.
One of the helpful tools he provides in the book is Job Sheets and Templates - so look out for them. There's also a download link. The Organised Writer also covers basic advice re money, invoicing, pricing, set-up, and one that I think a lot of authors (and indeed marketers!) don't pay enough attention to - taxonomy. There are summary checklists and a decent reading list.
The book is A$26.99 and is published by Bloomsbury. You can order it on their website here or ask for it at your local bookshop or library. It's also available in ebook format via ProQuest's Ebook Central so if you are affiliated with a university or organisation that has access to the platform, do look for it there.
At the end of the day The Organised Writer is an uncomplicated read with some good basic advice to get you set up to write, keep organised, and deadline driven. We hope you find it useful.
A Guide to Book2Look
The Book2Look (B2L) service has been around for years now and is a helpful "look inside" tool for publishers and authors - it is designed to help sell books online by recreating the bookshop browsing experience. If you're not familiar with B2L, it's a URL that contains a package of marketing goodness as it contains your (online) promotional material in one central portal.
A B2L widget (biblet) allows readers to flip through a book, read more about the author, watch video or listen to audio, read reviews, order the book through shopping links and more! It also provides publishers with analytics to track views, clicks, embeds etc to work out what promotional activites and channels are creating the most engagement.
Here at RM Marketing Services we buy B2L widgets in batches for our clients as they are often part of the marketing mix for new books. We've been using them for a couple of years now and thought it was time we gave a rundown for publishers and their authors as to the best way to use the service to promote their books.
Setting up the content
Firstly, before you create a new biblet on the site, decide on what section of a book you'd like to offer up as a "look inside" for readers. It might be the first chapter, several chapters, selected pages. A fiction book, for example, might offer up the intro, set the scene, and then cut it off at the point the reader is invested in the story and wants to keep reading. A non-fiction book might provide longer chapters for viewers to get a feel of the book whereas a highly illustrated work would require selected pages to "show-off" the work. Scholarly presses would consider Table of Contents and contributor information, perhaps a chapter that provides a good overview of what the work covers without giving away the essence of it. Decide on your content and prepare the PDF. We prefer to extract the pages from the typeset file and have them in one separate file which you would mark as 100% view. Otherwise you can load the full content and select the nominated pages when you set up the widget.
What's not surprising about this particular widget is the view count. Views are very high (B2L provides a number of analytical tools) as it's been marketed in social media channels, EDMs, and websites. The book is $69.95 so the consumer can look inside and ascertain if the book is what they are looking for - either for them or as a gift for someone - before ordering online or going into a bookshop to purchase it.
One of the downsides to B2L is the rather limited number of websites they offer up as standard - particularly if you are in Australia and New Zealand. Of course they have Amazon, The Book Depository and Booktopia but we have a vibrant independent bookshop culture here who have a good online offering. As these logos don't come up automatically in B2L we endeavour to save our preferred bookshop logos, resized for B2L, and manually load them for each widget we create but this does take time, particularly if the logos are rectangle/too long for the available logo space in the platform.
We then put the shopping links in order as to the booksellers who have ordered stock or have it available to purchase. If an independent bookshop is doing a marvellous job marketing the books to their community, we put them higher up the scale to support their endeavours. If a chain bookseller has taken lots of stock, we take that into account as well. We provide readers with options - direct selling from the publisher's website, indies and chains. And yes we've had clients who don't want to list the almighty Amazon and those that want all the major sites to be listed. Find out the business philosophy and sales strategy that's right for you. Our one is to not limit sales avenues - an order is an order, make it easy for readers to buy your books, preferably with one click.
When you set up your B2L pre-publication you might not have reviews available but over time collate your URLs and add them to the widget. Another downside to the site is that you can't ATTACH a PDF of a review - it must be a URL and in the day of paywalls, that isn't a great experience for people wanting to read more about the book if the review requires a subscription to access.
Make sure you save your favourite quotes from a review and add them to your own product page - if selling directly from your site - use that URL as the primary link for the book when you set up shopping links. We always put the publisher's website first.
Over time the B2L site will pick up bits and pieces automatically to add to the reviews - it might be reader reviews from GoodReads or articles about the author in the mainstream media. You can actually use the tools on B2L to "fetch reviews" and can then manually add anything that hasn't been picked up via SEO. We try and check in our links every month or so for active titles.
Audio Files and Video Content
You can load audio files so if you've got an author reading an extract from the book, add it in the widget. Video content is also super helpful - and it's easy, grab your URL and include it in the relevant section. We put in book trailers for example.
Book2Look widgets are available through Thorpe-Bowker/My Identifiers and Nielsen. And of course RM Marketing Services offer them as part of a marketing campaign. Buying a single biblet through the bibliographic agencies can be pricey (pending special offers from time to time) so we buy in bulk for our clients to bring the cost down. Another reason to consider using RM Marketing Services for marketing, publicity and promotional campaigns. Contact us today.
Helping Publishers Do What They Do Best
When RM Marketing Services launched in 2014 it didn't take long to see what the publishing industry lacked - someone with decades of senior product, marketing and management experience who could be called upon to help get jobs and projects done quickly, efficiently and without supervision for publishers and distributors who needed support. As marketing departments were reduced and budgets slashed, publishers and distributors were quick to take advantage of our honed skills and extensive industry knowledge - special projects and consulting gigs happened in quick succession. Over time the business morphed into two streams - outsourcing solutions and consulting services. Outsourcing sales and marketing solutions covers sales, marketing, digital marketing, website and social media management as well as publicity, author care, special channel promotions, corporate communications and just about anything our clients required! If you are considering outsourcing, read more about the benefits of using RM Marketing Services below...
Outsourcing is simply contracting work out to an outside supplier. For RM Marketing Services outsourcing involves taking on a specific role or set of tasks for a defined number of hours a week. We've provided outsourcing for as little as 4 hours a week to a maximum of 21 hours. A company email address is established (as, unlike consulting requests, we represent the publisher or distributor), goals and tasks are discussed, and we work with a nominated representative or team to manage the workload being outsourced and the deadlines. We encourage regular catch-up meetings, phone calls, strategy or team meetings - we are part of the organisation but don't have the downtime that other employees have for internal facing activities, professional training or other distractions - i.e. we can actually focus on getting the work done! Depending on the work required, system access is granted and training takes place. The publisher or distributor often requests for documents to be signed - their own contractor agreement and/or a Non-Disclosure Agreement for a multinational however for smaller presses we work to an email summary and occasionally a phone call depending on the existing relationship between our two organisations. Payment is via direct deposit, 14 day payment terms. It's not complicated to set-up outsourcing and the quicker the above is organised, the quicker we can get to the work.
Benefits to outsourcing. Oncosts of each employee is estimated at being 25-30% - these oncosts include superannuation, insurance/workers compensation, leave (sick leave, annual leave, long service leave), payroll taxes and other add-ons that eat into your business and profits. Of course, these are irrelevant when you opt for an outsourced solution! Check with your accountant as well as what you can claim on your own tax returns when using a consultant, as there may be additional benefits. Many organisations are also able to bring in contractors when there are staff freezes or restrictions. Rather than restructuring teams around staff who are leaving, and bringing added stresses to already heavy workloads within your organisation, why not consider outsourcing a handful of tasks to someone you can trust and your staff will thank you for it! It could be for as little as 4 hours a week...
Benefits to outsourcing with RM Marketing Services. Director Rachael McDiarmid has 30 years sales, marketing, product, and management experience in the publishing industry with a broad skill set particularly in all aspects of marketing and promotion. She has been privileged to travel the world to meet with publishers, distributors and library vendors; heavily involved in ebooks and digital platforms; played a pivotal role in bibliographic data collection; and has decades experience with publishing, book distribution and supply chain management in Australia and New Zealand. This has all been on top of a wonderful career, mainly in academic and professional publishing. (You can view her profile on LinkedIn)
She also has an extensive network of experienced industry professionals to bring into the mix, particularly for consulting projects but often for administrative and research tasks as part of an outsourced arrangement. With the knowledge, experience and determination she brings to your organisation, you can be assured you are in safe hands. And for everyone that knows Rachael personally, you know she's professional, has a great industry reputation, and gets on with the task at hand with no fuss.
Let RM Marketing Services help you get through your to-do list and ask us about outsourcing services today.
Every Stranger's Eyes by Ben Randall
Every Stranger’s Eyes is Part One of the incredible true story behind the acclaimed documentary Sisters for Sale
Young women on the border between Vietnam and China find themselves caught between a violent custom and a vicious criminal underworld...
The multi-award-winning documentary Sisters for Sale is an incredible true story of hope, courage, and freedom. This new book, Every Stranger’s Eyes, tells the first four amazing years of that story.
Investigating the mysterious disappearances of his local friends May and Pang, an Australian filmmaker uncovers a human trafficking crisis and sparks an amazing series of events. Betrayed, kidnapped, and forced into marriage with strangers, May and Pang – still only teenagers – are forced to make the heartbreaking choice between their baby girls and their own freedom.
Every Stranger’s Eyes is a powerful and deeply personal account illustrating the importance of direct action and the dangers of losing sight of what you believe in.
Since its premiere in Italy in November 2018, Sisters for Sale has won awards and acclaim at film festivals around the world for exceptional filmmaking and courageous storytelling. It has now been translated into more than a dozen languages – an extraordinary feat for such a small production.
Sisters for Sale is a five-year story. Every Stranger’s Eyes covers the first four of those years, from February 2010 to January 2014. The second part of the story, Suspicious Minds, will be released in mid-2020.
A must for every sports fan: take a trip down memory lane or discover these extraordinary women’s journeys to reach the top
Rachael McDiarmid has been in the Australasian book trade since 1990. Working in trade, academic and professional publishing as well as library supply and book distribution, she's worked with thousands of publishers, distributors, library vendors, and authors around the globe. She loves a belly laugh, strong coffee, wine, and good food. Venice is her favourite place in the world to visit but Sydney will always be home. She loves her office assistant Dash (also known as Dashie, Dashie Dog and the Little Shit). If you haven't already worked it out, she is known for her no bullshit approach.