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Kevin W. McCarthy ups his publishing game

Author case study: Chief Leadership Officer #book

We found Kevin W. McCarthy after his proposal had just been rejected by a US-based publisher. His book idea was forward thinking and his writing was high quality. We saw potential. What needed work was his target audience. After a few discussions, we tweaked his audience a bit and then built a campaign that would speak directly to them.

Kevin also lined up a major academic sponsor who hired him for a keynote address and preordered 250 copies of his book, Chief Leadership Officer , tipping his campaign over the minimum mark and solidifying his access to our publishing imprints.

By the time the campaign closed, Kevin had confidently cemented his brand, increased speaking gigs (and his rate) and brought credibility to his expertise in leadership development.

  • Email subscribers: 4,300
  • Phone calls: 180
  • Social media following: 772
  • Result: 151% funded totaling $13,565 with 379 preorders.

“My publishing goals for Chief Leadership Officer are definitely accelerated as a result of the successful campaign.” — Kevin W. McCarthy

Here’s what Kevin had to say:

Q: How would you sum up your experience in one sentence?

I felt supported and guided through the process. is a tidy, effective and disciplined author coaching and book promotional live and online platform.

Q: Why did you decide to crowd fund your book?

I already had a book proposal written from a year earlier that was rejected by BK books. I agreed with BK’s rationale but was stuck. Lee Constantine , Head of Author Success at Publishizer, read the book proposal and offered a suggestion for a shift in target audience. Perfect suggestion. Got my juices flowing again on the project.

I decided to use the Publishizer platform less for the crowdfunding this project and more for the potential access to multiple publishers. Worst-case scenario is I would pursue self-publishing but have funding in advance. I can only win.

Q: How did you initially plan to sell and publish your book before Publishizer? What results did you get this way?

Shop individual publishers or self-publish and promote. See above — one book proposal rejection out of one submission.

Q: What results did you get from crowdfunding on Publishizer?

Raised over $13, 565 and pre-sold 379 books plus booked a speaking engagement.

Q: How did you reach your goal?

First , I am committed to the message of Chief Leadership Officer and its promise to stimulate a needed business renaissance in the ethic and ethos.

Then , I started writing the first several chapters to be sure I liked the new direction of the book. The book submitted to BK was more of a traditional business expert book speaking to the reader; whereas the new version was a narrative like my other books.

I marketed the book heavily to my 4,300 person subscriber list and on social media. I reached out to several influencers and asked if they cross promote the book. I did a guest blog at and joined and posted on Medium.

Most important of all , I picked up the phone and placed over 180 phones calls plus follow-up to potential buyers and sponsors. I wrote personal email follow-ups to each person. I tracked, followed and got way outside my comfort zone.

“Most important of all , I picked up the phone and placed over 180 phones calls plus follow-up to potential buyers and sponsors.”

Q: What was the most significant way you reached your goal?

I created two pdfs: (1) an academic and (2) a corporate sponsorship package. I promoted the academic sponsorship most heavily. High Point University stepped up to purchase a 250 book / $10k sponsorship. That was very significant on many levels for the immediate success of the campaign, as well as the long term introduction and credibility of the book.

Q: What’s next for your book?

I am looking to garner corporate sponsors to underwrite me speaking at B-Schools around the US to introduce the concept of a CLO. I am in conversations with two publishers from the Publishizer platform.

Q: What’s next for you?

I am busy writing the first draft.

Q: Are you happy with the amount of publishers that express interest in your book?

With 37 potential publishers interest in business topics, 2 vanity (service) publishers have approached me. Because of my prior background in publishing and close business colleagues in the similar self-publishing / marketing helpers, they’re not good fits.

Two additional publishers have expressed interest. One is a hybrid publisher and the other royalty publisher. We’ll see how that goes.

Q: Are you happy with the amount of funds raised in your campaign? How do you plan to leverage those?


I anticipate investing the funds about: 20% of the funds in production of the book — design, copy editing, proofing, 25% in printing (if self-publishing) and mailing book to pre-orders, 15% in printing books for giveaway, 40% in marketing efforts.

Q: Have your publishing goals changed since your successful crowdfunding campaign ?

My publishing goals for Chief Leadership Officer are definitely accelerated as a result of the successful campaign. I’ve applied for two trademarks and am in the midst of developing a business plan to more fully leverage the opportunities expected to come from the new book. Specifically, I’m looking to reinvigorate my speaking career in order to spread the CLO message to the Millennial generation and beyond.

“My publishing goals for Chief Leadership Officer are definitely accelerated as a result of the successful campaign.”

Q: Why was now the right time to start this book project?

Given that I bought the domain name for in Oct 2001 and I attempted to work with BK in April of 2015, and in June 2016 the campaign went live, I’ve been patient with this message. I’ve found that as a futurist or visionary or prophet (choose your term), that patience is important. About 5 or 6 years ago I began using the CLO title for myself. People would sometimes comment. They didn’t understand it and when I explained it they got it, kinda.

I’m not a social scientist, more of a social intuitionist. I feel trends so my gut tells me that the CLO message is still premature for acceptance but the seeds need to be planted now before the Millennial generation gets to much further down the CEO-path.

The Publishizer platform provided me an opportunity to test the market, engage a team to help support and guide me. The possibility of a publisher (another team) to support and guide the promotion and development of the message. So the appearance of possible added value virtual partnerships was a shot I had to take. Going this alone made little sense to me.

Q: How much time did this entire process take you? On a weekly basis?

Pre-campaign: Remember I had a proposal already done so I was cutting and pasting into the platform and doing edits relative to the new audience. Let’s say 15 to 20 hours to research and update.

Writing the new version of CLO opening chapters to see if I had something I liked. 40 hours for writing, editing and rewriting. Again I had a previous version of the book to guide me a bit, but it was a non-fiction book versus the narrative format I’m using now.

Filling out the platform, creating rewards schedule, creating graphics — 3 to 5 hours. Book cover, marketing materials, social media visuals — 1 to 2 hours. I used Stencil to make the cover and social media graphics. I love this program for its ease of use and intuitive interface for the non-artist. Marketing — making lists of people / organizations to contact — on-going, maybe an hour. Sales/Outreach — 5 hours pre-campaign emailing.

10–13 hours total pre-campaign setup time.

Campaign: The first week — I hustled for probably 6 to 8 hours per day for 7 days. I knew I need to plant seeds that would have to mature within a month. Hard work upfront would pay dividends in the latter stages of the 30-day campaign. I think have a 30-day must-get-it-done focus is helpful.

I was sending 15 to 20 personalized email per day. I was writing CLO blog posts for my subscriber list, creating videos to post on social media and for my subscribers, making phone calls to key person who could be larger purchasers, responding to email requests. Getting coaching from Lee.

I also worked on writing and editing the book to make sure I had solid opening chapters to offer, getting proofreader to do her work.

The second week — 4 to 6 hours per day for 7 days. I found a better rhythm to work plus I had other client work that needed to be managed — need to pay the bills now too! I was writing posts for guest blogging and my blog page. I was doing a ton of research to find lost contacts and reach out with a customized email or phone call. I created academic and corporate sponsorships, continued to market to my subscriber list and post on social media with images made with Stencil .

I did some work on writing the book to fuel my tank for self-promotion work.

Third and fourth weeks — 4 hours per day for 6 days (Sunday off). Follow-up, follow-up and follow-up. Closing the deal with High Point University (HPU) — speaker contract preparation, conversations, filling out vendor paperwork, tracking check cutting and arrival — 2 hours or so.

Once the HPU check arrived and goal was exceeded, I admit I was less aggressive in my outreach. I had spent so much time outside my comfort zone doing self-promotional work that I needed a break.

During this time, I decided to stop writing on the book and focus what time I could on closing out the campaign.

Averaged a total of 4–6 hours per day during book campaign.

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