About 6 months ago, my first book was published: The Art of Explanation. Being my first, I didn’t know what to expect from the process, the reviews, the sales, the marketing. Thankfully I found my way through and now have some information on how it’s been received.
First, let me start by offering a HUGE thanks to all the people who have purchased the book. You rock. I wish I could thank you more personally. I hope it has helped you think differently about how you communicate.
So how IS the book doing?
A few factors helped me get some sense of how the book has been received since it was published:
First is Amazon’s Best Seller’s Rank. This rank changes hourly and ranks all books on Amazon based on sales. The Art of Explanation has consistently ranked in the top 5000 books and has reached into the top 1000 a couple of times that I’ve seen. It is often in the top 20 of all business communication books.
Second are reviews on Amazon. Some will tell you that reviews don’t matter, but for me, they really do. They are a very public representation of the experience. To date, the book has been reviewed 48 times on Amazon.com and has an average score of 4.6 out of 5 stars.
As a professional presenter and demonstrator I figured I knew it all. This book schooled me and changed my perspective of every client interaction. Now I am more effective at getting my message across.
Teachers, Sales Leaders and Sales Engineers - read this.
I found this book infuriatingly wordy.
Part 1: Plan has four chapters, the first three all seem to be an attempt to explain what explanation is, and ironically the book lost my interest right here. The fourth chapter - Planning Your Explanations talks about 'explanation problems' and introduces the 'explanation scale' and tells a long and involved story about 'Andre' who "... graduated from Stanford University a few years ago with a degree in computer science and is now focused on the company he started that he hopes will change the world." but it does little to help me think through how to plan an explanation of my product. There are useful questions buried within the text but they take up half a Kindle page of a 18 Kindle page chapter. [...]
On the whole, I think the negative reviews have merit and are helpful. Sure, they sting a little, but as I’ve said multiple times recently - you can’t publish a book without being judged.
I’m also happy that the book is being translated into a number of languages. They are: Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Russian and Hungarian, so far. I understand it will be a while before they’re available, but I’m excited about their releases all the same.
I also recently learned that the book is on it’s third printing. Book industry people tell me that this is an important milestone.
So to answer the question - I think the book is doing better than expected. Of course, in book terms it’s still very early and it may take a year or more to have a true feel for how it’s doing.
Again, a big thanks to each of you who have read it, and for those who would like to learn more, here are some purchase options