It’s been almost a year since we published REWORK, a book that violated a lot of the publishing industry’s conventional wisdom…
Conventional wisdom: Books targeted at entrepreneurs generally don’t sell very well or usually end up on the bottom shelf.
REWORK: Written specifically for starters and small business people.
CW: For the price point of our book, it must be at least 40,000 words. Readers want something bulky that’s got lots of content.
REWORK: We chopped the final edition down to 27,000 words (from 50,000+). You can get through it in just a few hours.
CW: Business books don’t have illustrations.
REWORK: Each essay accompanied by Mike Rohde’s artwork. (Mike explained the process in these posts: part 1, part 2.)
CW: The copyright page goes at the beginning.
REWORK: The copyright page is at the end. And there’s no foreword either. That lets readers get right to the meat of the book.
CW: The back cover should be filled with a lengthy explanation and blurbs.
REWORK: The back cover is as pretty as the front cover. A few key points and that’s it.
CW: The format should be long chapters.
REWORK: Filled with short essays, most just a page or two.
CW: A business book should use business-y language.
REWORK: Plain language throughout (and even some cursing).
CW: Books don’t have commercials.
REWORK: Coudal helped us created great trailers and even a Karl Rove “attack” video that helped get the word out about the book.
Things turned out alright. Last night, 800 CEO READ named REWORK business book of the year. 800 CEO READ said, “If you are an aspiring business book author or publisher and want to know what a truly exceptional business book looks like, REWORK is the example…[It’s] the best-conceived and designed book of the year.”
REWORK has now sold over 110,000 copies in the US and remains on the New York Times’ Hardcover Business Best Sellers list. It’s also been translated around the world. And best of all, every day we get letters from readers who tell us they’ve been inspired by the book. Thanks to everyone who purchased the book and has taken the time to write us. And thanks to 800 CEO READ for the award. Also, we have to give credit to our team at Crown for giving us the slack to run with these ideas.
We hope REWORK’s success shows that 1) business books don’t have to be like business books and 2) you can fight back against the “it’s the way we’ve always done it” mentality that homogenizes so many books (and plenty of other stuff too).