Want to know how to be a stellar manager? Ask Joe Kerr and Wanda B. Goode. They’re Nick McCormick’s creations, two cartoon managers who guide readers through the process of becoming a better manager via McCormick’s book, Lead Well and Prosper, and their blog.
McCormick, himself a longtime IT manager, not only demonstrates his prowess at helping people improve their managerial skills, but also his own capability as a marketer. His book has been out since 2006. To help promote it, he created a blog, podcasts, promotional items like T-shirts, and a publishing company, all the while holding a full-time job.
We caught up with McCormick to find out more about McCormick’s book and his successful online promotion strategy.
BP: How did you come up with the idea to write Lead Well and Prosper?
NM: There was no light bulb that went off. It happened over time. I had been a manager for quite a few years and thought I had a decent grasp of what took to make a good manager. I wrote a couple of articles to start. Then over a period of a year or two I just kept jotting down more thoughts. I eventually got to the point where I thought about combining my thoughts and putting them into a booklet. It was some contacts in the publishing industry that suggested that I write a book. I’m glad I did.
BP: Can you give us a brief blurb about what the book is about, who the target audience is, and how it will help readers?
NM: The book describes how to become a good manager and a good leader. It sticks to the fundamentals and gives practical, insightful advice with some humor and a bit of an edge. Many have used it in training classes or coaching sessions. One reviewer referred to it as the Cliff’s Notes for management. Actually, those that have endorsed the book do a much better job of describing the benefits than I do. I do know one thing for sure, If the readers follows the tips they will have success in the field of management.
The target audience is actually very broad. Some say it’s best for new and aspiring leaders. Others say it’s great for mid-level managers. Still others believe it is a great reminder for executives. I happen to agree with all of them! Since it concentrates on the fundamentals, it has broad appeal. Incidentally, I think individual performers can benefit as well.
BP: You have more endorsements than I’ve seen on many books (36 total). What, specifically, did you do to get those endorsements? Send out free books? Contact people by email? How did you know who to contact?
NM: The most important thing that I did was to ask, and I continue to do so. I do searches on those that blog on leadership and management, writers of leadership and management books, members of management and leadership associations, etc. I send them an email asking if they’d be interested in reviewing/commenting on my book. If they agree, I send them out a review copy. Simple, huh? It may be simple, but it is a ton of work. Finding people is fairly easy, but that’s only the beginning… finding email addresses, authoring emails (the more personal, the better), packaging and shipping the books, then following up… these are all labor-intensive activities.
BP: Did you do anything else to get PR for your book? Marketing materials, book talks, etc.?
NM: When the book was first published I did the typical stuff, I had the press release, the bio, and the other elements of the marketing packet. I did the mass mailings to all the reviewers. Unfortunately It wasn’t very effective.
I’ve found the way to keep the books moving is to ensure that the book is out in front of people. I do that by blogging, podcasting, and writing articles. I review other people’s books and author a monthly newsletter. Although I still have a full time job as a manager with an IT firm, I have been able to squeeze in a few speaking engagements, author interviews, and podcasts as well. I’ve also traded books for sponsorship opportunities at leadership/management conferences. Actually this interview I’m doing now qualifies as a marketing activity as well.
BP: What’s your advice for other people looking for lots of endorsements? How can others be as successful as you were?
It’s not rocket science. If you are willing to put in the time and you have a good product, the reviews and endorsements will follow.
Learn more about Nick and Lead Well and Prosper here. Nick blogs here (via his book’s characters, Joe and Wanda). He hosts a variety of managerial tips, tricks, and inspirational podcasts here.