Welcome to this month’s Biz Book Club Party on Keyboards and Kickstands!
Where I do a review of a (hopefully fantastic) Business Book with a new Biz Book Club Buddy every month and share our experience with you!
You guys know me: I am a reading glutton! I am actually all of the kinds of glutton, but I specifically love me some books: literary masterpieces, bubble-gum beach reads, young adult fiction, fantasy or science fiction – you name it, I’ll read it.
I have shelves upon shelves filled with books of all types, and I’m always in the market for more. I gotta say that book hoarding is definitely a real thing, and – honestly – if it’s wrong to hoard books, I don’t wanna be right.
That means that when I decided to get into business – and marketing in particular – I obviously had to start collecting books about business, marketing and how to live this crazy cool life we’ve chosen, to add to my overburdened shelves.
I often stare wistfully at all of the beautiful books when I’ve finished eating them up, and think that a business book club would be WAY MORE FUN than reading them alone, so I decided that I’d start one on Keyboards and Kickstands. Ta Da!
One of my favourite things about living in business is that when we realize that there is something we want to see happening in the world, we can just start doing it!
So, let’s get on with the Biz Book Club Party, shall we?
You are RIGHT NOW a part of history being made, people.
Take note of where you are and what you are doing, because this is the very first edition of the Keyboards and Kickstands Biz Book Club Party, and I am super lucky to have stolen a few hours of my very wonderful friend Chera Yorke’s time – during her busiest time of the year (wedding photographers – you know what I’m talking about here….WEDDING SEASON!!!!).
Chera and I met at University, during our undergrad, and we fell in total friend-love during an Effective Writing class where we gathered a motley crew of misfit buddies that I will keep close to my heart and cherish for my whole life. We got really close through that degree, graduated together and then three of us continued at school and took our Bachelors’ Degree in Education together as well.
I really believe that friends are the family you choose, and these folks have made that statement absolutely true to me: we learned and grew through school together, and we are now watching our funny little family of misfit toys grow and make a whole new generation of weirdos. I dig it.
They’re cool. I’m cool. Our kids are cool. Apples are cool. It’s all cool, baby.
So Chera has been in business with her husband, Matt, for nearly 10 years. They are simply amazing and are very talented at what they do. Chera was a great resource for me when I started my own travels through the business world, and gave me the belief that this world of working for my own dream was possible (I owe ya for that one, buddy!). Check out their beautiful work, and her sweet blog here.
I lurv her a whole bunch, and I’m always happy for an excuse to hang out with her, eat good food and talk about business, life, family and books! Having her on board for my first Biz Book Club Party was just obviously the right thing to do.
We met last week at a nice local lunch spot to eat some delicious green salad (avocados and cucumber and delightfulness, oh my!), and we chatted about April Bowles Olin’s wonderful book, “Marketing for Creatives”.
I know you all have read April’s book 🙂 and you are ready to hear what I think and add your own ratings below in the comments, so I’ll get right to it.
1. How much fun was the book?
Chera: This was a good 4 out of 5 on the fun scale for me. It was really easy to read, and interactive.
Kris: Me too! I liked the consistent exercises that she gave us along the way. I found it kept the book relevant to our own businesses. Her writing style too – she writes conversationally and with a little bit of sass. I felt a few finger waggling “Oh no you didn’t” moments in there.
2. Was the material new?
Chera: Here’s the thing: I’ve been working on this stuff for years – taking courses, watching videos and webinars and reading books – so I’ve heard a lot of this stuff already in the creative-business realm of advice, but what she did was organize it in one voice and in one place. She streamlined the key points from all over and wrote it in a coherent voice.
Me: Uh…me too! This is one of my favourite things about talking books with you: same page, sista! SAME PAGE! I haven’t been learning this stuff for as long as you, but I feel the same way. She really cut the crap and gave all of the important highlights to us in a clear voice.
3. How actionable or inspiring is the advice?
Chera: Oh it was definitely doable. Her exercises led you to engage rather than passively absorb her advice. I feel like I might actually do these things now, that I’ve been planning on doing “someday” for a while.
Me: Agreed! I find that because I enjoy reading so much for relaxation, it becomes a totally passive thing – even if I’m reading specifically to help do new things. Actually, I think it would be a great book to do with a mastermind group or something, so that there is some accountability to each of the exercises…also, we could eat cupcakes when we finish our homework. Right? Right?
…gimme a cupcake.
4. How beautiful is the book?
Chera:It was cute! Plus, the colour scheme is similar to your brand colours, so it felt right to be doing the book with you 🙂
Her photos are cute – and I like that she encourages people to pay attention to the photos on their sites, for obvious reasons, but I worry about folks going to edit their own photos without knowing what they’re doing…I’ve seen some photo-editing before that made pictures look…not nice at all.
I’d add to her advice that anyone who wants to add their own photography to their sites do some research and learning there. There are lots of photographers who love to teach workshops on that kind of thing.
Kris: I know! I was interested to hear what you thought about the photos because that’s your schtick – and that thing about the photo-editing! I am there with you on that one. Not that I have seen other people do terrible things to images during editing, so much as I’ve seen myself ruin images because I don’t know much about it.
I only use my iPhone for photos right now – partly because it’s not something that I want to invest a whole lot of business money in yet (a good DSLR camera can get pretty pricey), and partly because I kind of want to challenge myself to get great images with only my phone, so that my readers can see that it’s possible.
I’ve read a lot of interesting posts and articles about iPhone-ography, and I kinda dig that it’s a thing now. I’d personally love a mini-workshop on editing my iPhone pictures right in iPhoto. Takers?
5. Would you recommend the book to other business owners?
Chera: Yes! In fact, I would happily recommend it to both established business owners to fine tune their marketing message, and to people just starting out to lay the foundation for their marketing.
I’ve been hearing bits and pieces of this for 9 years, but I haven’t implemented it all. I feel like I’m ready to implement things now.
Kris: I like it as a foundation too. I think that what you glean from April’s book really depends on where you are, which is fantastic. If you are brand new, you’ll figure out what’s going to be important to focus on while you build your brand, and if you have been at it for a while, you’ll get a well-designed kick in the pants to get some of it going already.
Finally – Tell us one thing that really stood out in the book, that will change the way you do business today.
[wc_testimonial]”I used to be excited about blogging and writing about what I loved. As we’ve gotten busier, I’ve stopped feeling that same fascination with our blog, so I stopped being fascinating.”[/wc_testimonial]
[wc_testimonial]”Ok, so when I tried to boil it down to one piece of advice I looked back at the Table of Contents to pick one topic…and it was impossible! I will say that the whole final 60 pages were my favourite: it is like she wrote the book in a hundred pages, and then just kept adding extra stuff that I needed, you know? The photography challenge, the pricing section, the launch exercises…I really loved those super specific and super interactive pieces that will force me to apply the ideas to what I’m actually doing every day”[/wc_testimonial]
That’s our take on April’s book.
What’s yours? Give me your ratings on the five Book Club questions in the comments, and share this post with any folks you would recommend April’s book to.
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