Making Ideas Happen: A Recipe for Success and Profitability

Even if you aren’t a cook yourself, health you know what a recipe is, tooth and what it’s used for. Webster’s defines a recipe as “a set of instructions for making something from various ingredients; a formula or procedure for doing or attaining something.”

Two and a half months after its publication, youth health Scott Belsky’s book, Making Ideas Happen is one of’s Top 100 (overall) books, a sales leader in several categories, and an iPad and Wall Street Journal best-seller. Download a PDF Excerpt.

Belsky provides authors with a success recipe that is both easy-to-follow and duplicate.

The following are some of the reasons for my enthusiasm for the book.

Expertly Titled & Positioned

Scott’s title exhibits many of the 16 characteristics of effective book titles described in my own #Book Title Tweet: 140 Bite-Sized Ideas for Choosing Compelling Article, Book, and Event Titles. These include:

  1. Promise. Effective book titles promise an obvious benefit, one the author’s target market urgently wants to enjoy.
  2. Transparency. Effective book titles communicate at a glance, without clutter or ambiguity. There’s nothing to “puzzle out” or study; the benefit is obvious, presented in everyday, easy-to-speak conversational terms.
  3. Brevity. As a glance at the book cover, above, shows, short titles based on short words permit setting the title in a large, bold, type size. This creates “billboard” book covers that attract attention from a distance in a crowded bookstore or can be read online, even when shown as a tiny thumbnail images barely an inch high.
  4. Title/subtitle partnership. One of the “classic” title techniques is to combine a short, telegraphic title with a longer subtitle that amplifies the title’s promised benefit by providing supporting details.
  5. Action verbs. Effective book titles are often build around gerunds, i.e., verbs ending in ing. Making and Overcoming imply a state of action, implying that progress is already taking place.

Planned profitability

One of myPublished & Profitable site’s central tenets is the importance of planning for profitability, i.e., identifying potential back-end profit sources and having the profit systems set-up and in-place, ready for readers when they visit the author’s website, looking for ways to implement the ideas in the book.

Authors who wait until their book is published before planning and  setting-up back-end profit systems are simply too late; they’ll never make up for the lost profit opportunities generated by their book’s publication.

As you can see from Scott Belsky’s bio, or a glance at the offerings on his Behance site, you can see that a portfolio of up-and-running products and resources, including both on-line and off-line resources, already exists.

One of the reasons I’ve been using Scott Belsky’s Making Ideas Happen as an example of nonfiction success is the way that it has been positioned as a leadership book rather than as a creativity or writing book. See previous posts.

By positioning Making Ideas Happen for categories like Business Management, Leadership, or Management Science, the author targeted a large and growing market, rather than smaller slow-growth markets.

Visionary vocabulary

This successful best-selling book (currently in the mid 300’s out of all the books sells) and among the top 5 sellers in several categories, including Leadership and Management Science.

Authors that follow Belsky’s lead and create a new vocabulary with their book will invariably create a more memorable brand.

New words and phrases add interest to your book and provide easy to remember memory assists for your important ideas, improving retention, creating a shortcut to your brand.

What’s fascinating about the list that follows is that you can learn so much about the book from simply analyzing the new words and phrases it introduces:

  • Dreamers, Doers, and Incrementalists. These refer to the three types of creative individuals described in Making Ideas Happen. Dreamers are always generating new ideas. Doers s are obsessively focused on the logistics of implementing ideas. Incrementalists shift between dreaming and doing, but often fail to totally profit from their ideas because they often dissipate their energy by working on too many different projects. (pages 113-115)
  • Action Method. Action Method refers to the process of immediately following-up new ideas by identifying the specific tasks needed to bring an idea closer to reality.
  • Creative’s compromise. Creative individuals, i.e., designers, authors, and entrepreneurs, must be prepared to adopt new restraints and best practices that may initially be uncomfortable. (18)
  • Done walls. The practice of hanging examples of completed Action Steps from previous projects on the wall of your working area, as motivation tools to maintain team enthusiasm and morale. (91)

How Thought Leadership Authors Can Benefit from Making Ideas Happen

If you’re having trouble finishing your book, you’re not alone! Authors often need help finishing their books. As Belsky puts it: nearly all new ideas die a premature death.

He concludes: The journey to a more productive life as a creative leader starts with a candid self-assessment of who you are, your tendencies, and the greatest barriers before you.

In addition to a dash of reality and a description of how others handle the challenge of the new and the creative’s challenge, authors will be exposed to concrete steps they can take to work more efficiently. They’re also likely to be inspired by the example of writing and organization that Making Ideas Happen presents – prompting them to create their own recipe for success.