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JJ Barnes The Table Read

Written by JJ Barnes

www.jjbarnes.co.uk

I interviewed writer and brand consultant Orly Zeewy about her life, her career, and the writing of her business advice book, Ready Launch Brand.

Tell me a bit about who you are.

Orly Zeewy, author of Ready Launch Brand, interview on The Table Read
Orly Zeewy, author of Ready Launch Brand

My name is Orly Zeewy and I am an author, a keynote speaker, an educator and a brand consultant.

As a child, I grew up in four countries and three continents. My family immigrated to the United States when I started fifth grade. I am bilingual in French and English.

I read somewhere that people who grow up speaking and/or listening to many languages have the ability to pick up languages easily. That’s been true for me. I didn’t speak a word of English when my family came here and learned it within 3 months.

As a result of my international background, I learned how to read people and understand the subtext of what was being said in languages I didn’t understand. That’s great professional training for someone who now spends most of her time translating vague information into clear, marketing messages. On a personal level, living in different countries taught me to appreciate new cultures and embrace change.

When did you first WANT to write a book?

I started thinking about writing a book 17 years ago. I was just starting to get speaking gigs and at my first event, one of the people in the audience told me I should consider writing a book.

When did you take a step to start writing?

When my oldest son left for college in 2012, I decided to go back to school to get an MBA. During my last year, I started fleshing out the idea for a book and got feedback from professors and people in my cohort. That’s when this book started to take shape.

How long did it take you to complete your book from the first idea to release?

It took me 5 years to go from idea to release. I spent 2.5 years interviewing founders, 1.5 years developing a book proposal and looking for a publisher. I signed with my publisher in December 2019. And then 2020 happened. As it turns out, 2021 is a great year to be launching a book for startup founders. There was a 24% uptick in new companies during the pandemic. Since nearly 50% will fail by year 5, Ready, Launch, Brand: The Lean Marketing Guide for Startups feels very timely.

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What made you want to write Ready Launch Brand?

As a brand consultant, I worked with a lot of young companies. I discovered that most startups hit a wall at 3-5 years. Usually one of two things happen. They either have trouble articulating who they are and how they’re different or they’re struggling to get the right kinds of clients. This lack of clarity slows down growth and makes it harder to cross sell. It’s hard to sell something you don’t fully understand and more importantly, it affects your bottom line. I developed a brand building process to address the disconnects that I was finding. Eventually, that process, and those experiences became the core of my book.

Orly Zeewy, author of Ready Launch Brand, inteview on The Table Read
Ready Launch Brand by Orly Zeewy

What were your biggest challenges with writing Ready Launch Brand?

There were three. My first challenge was identifying a format for the book. When I decided to add the marketing experiences of founders, I realized I had found the story I wanted to tell—how to avoid the mistakes that most founders make. The next challenge was whether I would self-publish or look for a publisher. I spoke to several authors who had done both and realized that getting a publisher would give me more credibility. Finding a publisher was another challenge that took a year.

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What was your research process for Ready Launch Brand?

I had been blogging for several years about the issues that I saw startups struggling with. Part of my research involved looking at trends and connecting with influencers in the startup ecosystem nationwide. I then broke down my blogs into tweets. Over the period of one year, I tweeted regularly and the responses helped me get clear on what to focus on in my book and how to construct a framework. I then interviewed 25 entrepreneurs and asked each of them the same 5 questions, ending with what advice they would give to other founders. Several of them said that people should buy my book. That validation made me realize that I was on to something.

How did you plan the structure of Ready Launch Brand?

I built my book around popular marketing myths and connected each one to a founder story. For context, I included my blogs and added relevant data and quotes from well-known authors and entrepreneurs. To make the book more of a working guide, each chapter ends with an exercise from my build-a-brand process.

Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did Ready Launch Brand need?

In January 2020, I found a terrific editor to help me finish my book. I had the whole book written at this point but needed help with the introduction, conclusion and book jacket text. Together, we created the content for all three. He did some minor editing on the content of the book itself and provided critical support with proofreading and sentence structure. The glossary was created by an editor provided by my publisher.

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What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a book?

Make sure there’s a need for the book you want to write.

I spent a lot of time looking at what was already available in the brand and marketing space. What I found were lots of “how to start a business” and “how to do marketing” once you have a product. What I didn’t find was a marketing guide for startups in the first year in business. That’s what my book ended up being.

Decide whether you want to self-publish or go with a publisher.

There are a lot of self-publishing options but I realized early in the process that I want to turn my book into a course, so that was why I ended up with Routledge, Taylor &Francis Group. Taylor & Francis is the largest publisher of textbooks so that adds to my credibility. It’s also nice not to have to be responsible for every aspect of putting your book together.

Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?

I’d like to write a book for, and about women entrepreneurs. I’m not sure what format it will take yet but I’m looking forward to starting the research on it.

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And, finally, are your proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?

I am proud of my book for having completed it. That in itself is a major accomplishment. My dad, who is a retired founder and inventor, told me that he wished he’d had my book when he was building his company. That really validated all the work that went into writing the book. Ready, Launch, Brand was the #1 new business book release on Amazon in April 2021 so that was both a validation and an accomplishment. This book has opened a lot of doors to speaking and consulting work so to answer your question, it’s definitely been worth it.

Pop all your book, website and social media links here so the readers can find you:

To purchase my book on Amazon: https://bit.ly/readylaunchbrand
To purchase my book from Routledge: https://bit.ly/3qKNXqR

Website: http://zeewy.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/orlyzeewy
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/orlyzeewy/

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