My favorite presenter at the recent Inc. 500/5000 conference was Guy Kawasaki, who offered an informative session about cultivating and maintaining “enchantment” in your customers or clients, so perhaps this series of posts in which I summarize those points and discuss how they are applicable for us at Outskirts Press will also help you apply the information to your own entrepreneurial efforts (starting a business, running a company or yes, even marketing a published book). And, in the meantime, you should get Guy’s book, “Enchantment” for the total skinny.
Step 3 is to offer a compelling product or service.
According to Guy, the first quality of a great product or service is that it is deep. Great products or services are also intelligent, complete, empowering, and elegant. Of course, being an “Apple Guy” (ah, that was humorous), Guy uses the iPhone as the perfect example. In fact, he uses just about any Apple product as an example, and he’s right. Apple is on its way to becoming the first company valued at over a trillion dollars because it delivers upon Step #3 so well. Look at your product or service. Is it deep? Is it intelligent, complete, empowering, and elegant?
Our self-publishing services at Outskirts Press deliver upon 80% of these five traits. Our services are deep in the breadth of options we offer, from ghostwriting, to custom interior design, to full-color illustrations; and we offer more marketing services than anyone else, ranging from the practical (press release writing) to the silly (custom shoes featuring your book cover). Yes, “deep” is something we offer in spades.
This list of options also makes our services intelligent and complete, and there’s nothing quite as empowering as self-publishing a book and then watching it succeed. Where we admittedly fall short is with our elegance. There are services that offer DIY (do it yourself) self-publishing in a more elegant manner than we do, usually through the use of computers and algorithms that treat each of their books and authors like a series of zeros and ones (assembly language for an assembly line of books). In other words, their front-end systems and websites are elegantly designed, programmed with efficiency, and can produce thousands of books that look and feel exactly the same. Yes, that can be misconceived as elegant, and when compared with DIY services such as those, our human touch can seem particularly inelegant because, well, human beings often lack elegance. But what inelegant human beings bring to the publishing of your book is something that cannot be replaced by a computer, no matter how elegant it seems, no matter how short and concise the domain name is, and no matter how “fast” the computer can format a book and spit it out to the masses.
At Outskirts Press, we don’t “spit” out thousands of books a day like our competitors and their elegant websites. Instead, we publish high-quality books for high-quality writers with hands-on human interaction from high-quality book professionals. It’s not always elegant. In fact, sometimes it is downright frustrating for us and for our authors. But anything worth doing is worth doing right, and I’d be willing to bet Michelangelo experienced moments of frustration as he painted the Sistine Chapel…
You know what? That is one elegant looking ceiling.