The Janine Bolon Show with Todd Cherches - 99 Authors Project, Season 3, Episode 7

The 99 Authors Project – Season 3 – Episode 7 with Todd Cherches20 min read

Todd Cherches

Todd Cherches is the CEO and co-founder of BigBlueGumball, an innovative  New York City-based leadership development and executive coaching firm.  

  • He is a member of Marshall Goldsmith’s “MG 100 Coaches,” 
  • …and is a Founding Partner of the Global Institute For Thought Leadership (“GIFT”). 
  • Todd was just recently nominated by Thinkers50 as a shortlisted finalist for  their 2021 “Distinguished Achievement Award” for Leadership,  
  • …and he is ranked number 35 on the 2021 Thinkers360 list of the “Top 50  Global Thought Leaders and Influencers in the field of Management.”  
  • Todd is a three-time award-winning Adjunct Professor of leadership at NYU – in their School of Professional Studies, Division of Programs in Business; as  well as a Lecturer on leadership in various programs at Columbia University. 
  • Lastly, he is a TEDx speaker on “The Power of Visual Thinking,” 
  • …and is the author of the groundbreaking new book, VisuaLeadership:  Leveraging the Power of Visual Thinking in Leadership and in Life, which  was published last year by Post Hill Press/Simon & Schuster. 
  • Please welcome…Todd Cherches.

Transcript of the Show

Bryan Hyde
Welcome to the Janine Bolon show, where we share tips from around the globe. As we guide practical people with their finances using money tips, increase their incomes through side businesses, and maintain their sanity by staying in their creative zone.

Janine Bolon
Hello and welcome to the show you may or may not know that the Janine Bolon show is the syndicated program of four podcast shows that were combined when our podcast programming syndicated in October of 2021. My team and I merged all four podcasts into one program just for you, and up until that point, we had running four separate podcasts called The Three Minute Money Tips, The Thriving Solopreneur, The Writers Hour Creative Conversations, and The Practical Mystic Show. Today, we are highlighting one of the 99 authors that I’m interviewing this year to receive their guidance, ideas and perspective on the best ways to market and promote your book and to get your message and your memoir out into the world. Now, many of you have been told that you should write a book about your life experience. Well, these 99 authors that I’m interviewing over the course of the next year were prompted to write their own stories as well. Each one will tell you what got them going writing, but then each one will share with you what worked when selling their books and what didn’t work, and the things they wish they had known before they became the prolific published authors that they are today. You’ll gain unique book marketing ideas, selling strategies and promotional plans to effectively market your novel and become a best selling author in the real world and online. Today, we have with us Todd Cherches. He’s the CEO and co-founder of The Big Blue Gumball, an Innovative New York City based Leadership Development and Executive Coaching firm. He is the member of Marshall Goldsmith BMG 100 coaches, and is the founding partner of the Global Institute for Thought Leadership, also known as Gift. Todd has recently been nominated as a Thinker 50 at the shortlisted finalists for the 2021 Distinguished Achievement Award for Leadership. And he is ranked number 35 on their 2021 Thinkers 360 list of the top 50 Global Thought Leaders and Influencers in the field of management. Todd is a three time award winning adjunct professor of leadership at NYU in their School of Professional Studies and the Division of programs in business as well as lecture on leadership in various programs at Columbia University. And lastly, I mean, as if that wasn’t enough, he is also, this is the cream of the cream, TEDx speaker on The Power of Visual Thinking, and is the author of the groundbreaking new book Visual Leadership, Leveraging the Power of Visual Thinking and Leadership and in Life, which was published last year by Postal Press and Simon, and Schuster. So hey, welcome to the show, Todd.

Todd Cherches
Thanks Janine, great being with you.

Janine Bolon
It’s wonderful to have you with us. So tell us did you choose to write under your real name? Or do you have a pen name?

Todd Cherches
No, Todd Cherches is my one and only name. So that’s my name, my brands, as the head of my company. It’s who I am, and who I want to promote, to promote my business and my work and my thought leadership.

Janine Bolon
It’s wonderful. I find it fascinating that when I’m in the nonfiction space with authors, they’re more than likely they’re using their real name. But then when I’m in the fictional space, fictional authors, that’s where the pen names start driving me crazy. Because they, they felt the need to do that. So why did you decide to write under your own name? Was there a change in that decision at all? Or did you just know from the start?

Todd Cherches
I knew from the start, I’m the CEO and co founder of my company, Big Blue Gumball, we do management, leadership, consulting, training, and executive coaching, and my book was a way to get my work and my ideas out there into the world. So I wanted to, you know, it’s consistency between my brands and my thought leadership and my name in the marketplace.

Janine Bolon
I agree. So out of curiosity, did you have any kind of a marketing background before you started writing your book?

Todd Cherches
Not really. I’m not. In fact of business development, sales and marketing are not my strengths. So that’s, I love doing the work that I do, what I don’t really love is the marketing and the selling and the PR and stuff. So, I sometimes try to get some help with that. But overall, most of my work and everything I do is basically relationship based, and just trying to get my ideas out there into the world, and as an extreme introvert, I need to push myself out of my comfort zone on a daily basis.

Janine Bolon
It is so true when it comes to marketing. You’re not only yourself, your business and your book. Yeah. So what most surprised you about the book marketing process and when you were publishing your book?

Todd Cherches
Yeah, I mean, there’s a saying that your work should speak for itself, but I’ve learned the hard way throughout my career that the work doesn’t speak for itself. You have to speak for yourself and you have to speak for your work. So, again, as an introvert, I always describe myself as a three Bs kind of guy, a back of the room, behind the scenes, bookworm by nature. So, for me to do any kind of self promotion or to plug myself as you know, again, pushing myself out of the comfort zone, I’d rather be writing and interacting through words rather than getting myself out there. But you know, part of getting your book out there into the world is you have to, you have to do it.

Janine Bolon
I like to share with my authors, you have to go from being a bookworm, back of the office, you know, backroom kind of guy and you have to be a book dragon. You actually have to show yourself and be out there, and this is my book, right? It’s really crazy. So what would you change, if you started marketing your book today? What are some changes that you would have, because you’ve been in the marketing space for a while now?

Todd Cherches
Yeah, I’ve seen other people do a much better job with their pre-launch strategy. I didn’t really have a strategy, it was literally just doing what I… I have an agent, and my book was published by a publisher. Postal press is a small publisher, distributed by Simon and Schuster, which is great. But I didn’t really understand another business, book business. So, the one thing I might have done differently is got some help with the launch strategy.

Janine Bolon
Right. And what worked best for you and how did you sell the most books? I like to ask each author this, because you know, what was that gold nugget where things seem to come together and the stars aligned, and you were able to really sell quite a bit of books?

Todd Cherches
Well once you exhaust friends and family, then you start going through colleagues and clients and beyond there. Most of my copies were sold one at a time, because my book came out right at the beginning or the middle of the pandemic, right. So, all of my, in-person events were canceled. My book signings, and things I would have done, so, I’m talking in terms of that, so I had to do everything remotely through social media, and on Zoom and everything. The times I sold multiple copies, I sold 100 to one client, 50 to another, and 50 to another is when I tied them into my speaking engagements. In fact, in one case, my client, I was going to do a paid workshop for them, a webinar, and then they said, oh, they cut our webinar budget. We have no budget for webinar, I said, you happen to have a book budget? And, they said yes. And I said, Well, if you buy 100 copies of my book, I’ll do the webinar for free. So, just doing things like that I was able to sell 50 bucks one time, 100 bucks another time by basically bothering the book sales in exchange for doing a quote free, webinar.

Janine Bolon
Oh, fabulous. And so What process did you try, that was an epic failure when you were selling your books?

Todd Cherches
I don’t know if anything was an epic failure. I didn’t really know what I was doing enough to find different things. I don’t know if there was anything that was an epic failure that I could think of. I could of done more, and better on certain things, but nothing I did really failed.

Janine Bolon
No, I understand, some authors have been in the business now for 10 or 15 years and many of them have stories of things they tried that were a fail, you know, epic failure. And, I love it when I run across an author like yourself, nope, nope, just puttering about doing what I need to do.

Todd Cherches
I try to minimize as an introvert and a non risk taker, I try not to do things, anything that would epically fail.

Janine Bolon
Right, watching what you do. So what story that you tell about yourself gets the most laugh from your target audience? We always love hearing the stories of authors.

Todd Cherches
Now for my book, one thing that I always talk about, my book is dedicated first to my wife, secondly, to my parents, and thirdly, to all the horrible bosses without whom my career would not have been possible, because my book is basically about lead lessons and leadership that I learned from all the many bad bosses that I had. So, when I tell stories from my book about some of the horrible bosses that I’ve had, one boss, I won’t say what TV network, but she threw a box of pens at my head because they were the wrong ones. I’ve had many evil toxic bosses. So, those are the stories from my book that kind of drove me into writing my book, because I’m a business book addict, I started reading an average of a business book a week, in 1998. So, I’ve been reading about 50 a year for the last 23 years, I’ve read well over 1100 business books, mainly around management, leadership and communication. And so, basically, if I hadn’t had all those bad bosses, I probably never would have written my own books. So, that’s what kind of, that always gets a laugh is that people say, God, it’s amazing that you survived, let alone you lived to tell about it.

Janine Bolon
It’s true when you have people dumping boxes of pins on your head. So, what is the biggest change you’ve seen in yourself since you started marketing your book?

Todd Cherches
Well, in myself. Once you carry around the idea of a book in your head for years, like it was always if I write my book, when I write my book at some time, you know, all of that, and then to actually get the book and have to be able to physically hold it in your hand after carrying it around in your head for 10 or 15 years. That’s amazing. So, in terms of biggest change in me, it’s just the feeling of pride and confidence that I accomplished something that I set out to do, even though it took me a long time. Some people never do it. So, you do it in your own timeline. So that’s the biggest change is feeling like I’m now a published author. I have the confidence that goes along with it as well as the added visibility, and the credibility that having a book brings with it.

Janine Bolon
Awesome. That’s wonderful. And so what are some of the tips? What are like your top five tips that you would give authors when it comes to selling their books?

Todd Cherches
Well, one is your title is really important, you have to have a big idea and your title has to stand out in the marketplace needs to be memorable. My book, visual leadership sometimes gets people confused, because it’s one word with a single shared capital L. So, a lot of times, what’s amazing is people see it and they still spell it with two L’s. So, that’s, but again, it gets people’s attention, and it also proves its point at how important looking and seeing things clearly is. So one is have a big idea and a good title. Another one is to think about why you? Why are you the only one in the world that can write your book, right? So, for example, leadership there’s a billion books out there on leadership, does the world need one more? Right? So, on any topic, you always want to think about, how is my book gonna stand out from the crowd? So, my book proposal, my third point is, so, first, what’s your big idea and your title? Secondly, why are you the only one to write it? Thirdly, even if your book stands out from the crowd, how is it similar to and different from what else is out there? Right? People with publishers always want to know, where’s your book going to fit on the shelf and what category? So, think about whether your keywords when the search words that will come up. And where does your book fit in the world? Thirdly, I was talking about three V’s, visibility, voice and value. Visibility is about being seen, voice is about being heard, and value is about making a contribution. So, you always want to think about as yourself as an author when you’re marketing your book, when you’re writing it and marketing, how are you going to be seen? How are you going to be heard? And how you’re gonna make a difference? Because your book needs to add value to the world in some way. Otherwise, people, you know, why read it. And my last one is, I mentioned my three V’s, my three G’s are, be genuine, be generous, and be grateful. So, be genuine, don’t try to pretend you’re an author, don’t try to pretend, you know bring your true authentic self to work, your stories have to be credible and true. You know, I’ve seen people write things that you knew they were making up or exaggerated. You don’t want to lose your credibility, because then you lose your trust. That’s be genuine. Be generous, sometimes people feel like, oh, I don’t want to give that away, because people can steal my ideas. But be generous. Put your ideas out there into the world. One, it’ll help other people and two, it’ll help them to go viral. And if you want to be a thought leader, your thoughts are in your head. The leadership comes when you put your ideas out there into the world, right? And try to being generous support other authors. It’s not a competition. I love the saying don’t try to get a bigger piece of the pie. Try to make the pie bigger for everyone so that everyone gets a bigger piece. So, I really believe, and I try to do that. I promote all my friends and people who are authors, I write blurbs for people’s books most of the time. If I’m asked, I always write Amazon reviews for books that I read, because I know how much time and effort, work and thought of blood, sweat and tears goes into writing a book that I try to be generous in terms of helping to support other people and getting their books out there into the world.

Janine Bolon
Thank you so much for helping authors out with that, because that’s one of the things I love about the author community is that many of you are saying similar things, but you have just enough of a different spin on it. It’s very valuable to the different personalities that do right. So what was the one thing you most misunderstood about becoming an author?

Todd Cherches
Well, one of the things, decisions we have to make as authors is the options are self publishing, hybrid publishing, or traditional publishing, right? So, just first of all, understanding the differences, the distinctions, the costs, the logistics is important. So do your homework and make that decision strategically. But my biggest misconception, or things I miss misunderstood, I’m glad I did, I wouldn’t change that. But when you go with a publisher, you’re still responsible for selling your own book, you think, oh, my book is being put out by Postal press, Simon and Schuster, they’re gonna sell my book. I’m being put out by Simon Schuster, the same company is putting out Jerry Seinfeld’s book and Michelle Obama’s book. Yeah, they’re not spending a lot of time, effort, and money on publishing or promoting Todd Cherches’ book. So, even if you have a publisher, you still need to do the PR, the marketing, the sales and everything else. So, even though they help a little that was my biggest thing, though, you know, I thought that’d be more, but still, you’ll live and learn.

Janine Bolon
Right. Yeah, yeah. When it comes to that publishing gig, it’s, there was a huge sea change in 1999 to 2000 with the vanity publishing and yeah, we all ran around with our head thinking, oh, yeah, well if I’m a published author, I’m going to get some backup on that. So what is the primary thing that was your biggest reward about being an author?

Todd Cherches
Oh, well, it helped to boost my visibility and credibility as a thought leader, I ended up getting selected for Marshall Goldsmith, but for those who don’t know, Marshall Goldsmith is the author of What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There, one of my favorite leadership books. He’s the top executive coach in the world. So I was invited to join his community called BMG Marshall Goldsmith 100 coaches, so that would not have happened without my book. I did my TED talk on The Power of Visual Thinking, I may not have been chosen if I hadn’t been working on my book at the time. I was also nominated for a number of awards related to my book, including the Thinker’s 50, I was one of the eight finalists for the Thinker’s 50 Leadership Award last year, I didn’t win, but I wouldn’t have been nominated, if not for my book. So, all these things, being a published author, makes you part of this community and opens doors, I’ve also done about 100 and something podcast interviews over the last year and a half including with you, Janine, who opened doors. So, thank you for that. That wouldn’t have happened if not for my book. So, the book kind of opens, it gives you a stamp of credibility and visibility, and it opens the doors to you as an author, and that kind of changes the way you’re perceived. And I was also able to increase my prices for my coaching, consulting and training services, based on the being in a different category in terms of my career. So, those are a few of the benefits and changes since my book was published.

Janine Bolon
And one last question before we go today, because I really do appreciate you taking the time to chat with us and give us some tips on what’s going on. Is there any last pearls of wisdom that you would like to give people who are just becoming authors now?

Todd Cherches
Yeah, I mean that question why? Why me? Who am I to write a book? You know, we all have that imposter syndrome. Why should anyone want to read what I have to write? I love that quote from Bill Nye, the Science Guy who said that everyone you will ever meet know something you don’t. So, you have a story to tell, you’re the only one who… in my NYU class, a lot of my students are in their 20’s, and many of them are international students, and they’ll say, oh, I have nothing to share. I have nothing to tell. Like I’ve said I’ve never lived your life. So, anything you tell me, I’ve never been a 25 year old female from Beijing. So, anything you tell me about your life experience will be new and interesting to me. So, I always say, you know, my three E’s are educated. I have a lot of… my three B’s, my three G’s, my three E’s are educate, engage and excite. Educate is what you want people to know and to learn, engage is how you’re going to capture and hold their attention, and excite is how you’re going to inspire them to go out and change the world.

Janine Bolon
Thank you so much for being with us today, Todd. I very much appreciate it.

Todd Cherches
My pleasure, Janine.

Janine Bolon
And this is Janine Bolon signing off with you today. All of us here at the eight gates that produce the Janine Bolon show wish you a wonderful week and encourage you to utilize these strategies and plans to get your message, your story, or your knowledge out into the world. Make it a better place just like these authors are doing for the next generation of authors coming along behind them. We’ll see you again next week. Until then keep sharing what you know with others, keep shining that light that is you and don’t forget to go out today and do something for fun.

Bryan Hyde
Thank you for listening to the Janine Bolon show. Be sure to subscribe to our show notes by going to www.theJanineBolonshow.com, where you’ll find additional resources as well as the opportunity to sign up to receive our program in your email each week. Be sure to visit our sponsor at http://www.the8gates.com.

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