As this week saw the 75 anniversary of Penguin books, it got me thinking back to April, when at the London book fair somebody mentioned that not every book deserves to be published. While it still seems that some people still think that a book has no right to be published, 75 years ago, one man was making the same ongoing struggle.
Sir Allen Lane was an eccentric character, but his quirkiness was what made him unique. His idea was simple – to get great literature out to everybody, and it worked. The designs were innovative, and even the distribution was unusual. How often today do you see a vending machine on a train platform which stocks nothing but books?
Lane was definitely on to something. He had a realisation, simply, that people had to read. He wanted to share his great literature with everybody. His idea was simple, but from just that image of a drawn penguin on the front of each cover today stretches worldwide familiarity.
Today, the brand is respected and has just launched its classic series in Brazil. Despite having no history there, it was a major media event. It doesn’t stop there, Penguin are now also going electronic.
My point is, if you have something to say, then say it. I have spoken at many events worldwide, telling people to be bold. Have your opinion. Chances are people will listen to your opinion, and I have to admit that I have found some of the best thought leaders that way. People who have something to say need to tell others and the best way to do this is to write your own book.
I always say that the key to great thought leadership is Reach your audience, Engage them, get Authority and finally, make them remember you – give them Longevity. People who listen to your talk like time to reflect on what you say, so write it down so that they can go over what you have told them again in their own time. They will remember you, especially when you are giving your next speech!
Since April, I have uncovered even more great thought leaders who have written their books, published their articles and have since become established as THE experts in their field. So if anybody out there is thinking of holding back, because they have been told their story is not good enough to be told, I can tell you as a publisher myself that every book deserves to be written, and everyone deserves to read your story.
Just think, imagine if Lane had been told 75 years ago that his idea would never take off?