Press Release: Author completes fourth book in a year

April 11, 2016

 

 Picture of Tudor

 Your Editor prepared this Press Release for the anticipated publication of Tennis Tensions which has been delayed by the curious story of Jose Mourinho’s departure from Chelsea.

 

 

Woodford-based author Tudor Rickards completed a third edition of his business textbook in 2015. He then decided to try his hand at self-publishing. In May 2016 he will produce his fourth self-published book.

“When I retired from the University of Manchester, I had got into the habit of writing every day for business executives, using news stories about leadership. I decided to keep going, but publishing for myself.

My first self-published book, The Manchester Method, was written for business mentors, but then I started concentrating on sports leadership. My first sports book described my experiences at the Northern Tennis Club Didsbury, over the last years.

Then the fascinating story of Jose Mourinho at Chelsea resulted in Mourinho Matters, partly because one of my students is a well-known Premier League football player.

That held up publication of Tennis Tensions, for which I studied forty matches at the US Open to see whether top athletes suffer from the same sorts of anxieties as club players. “

 

 

Tennis Tensions is scheduled for publication in May 2015.  Inspection copies are available for review purposes. Professor Rickards is also available for interview.


The Pros and Cons of self publishing

February 24, 2016
 Tennis Matters Blue

A year or so ago I started to think seriously about self publishing.  Since then I have had a chance to compare a text book published traditionally with three self published monographs and others in various stages of planning

First, let it be said, I publish primarily as a way of getting my ideas out there.  That has been the case since I wrote by first business book with the knock you down title Problem Solving through Creative  Analysis in 1973.  PSTCA was published by Gower Press. I think I chose Gower because a young colleague from Manchester Business School had joined them as I was completing a first draft. The book outlined work I had done on  ‘structures that destructure’, i.e. techniques for stimulating creativity.

Later I worked with with various publishers with whom I have shared a mostly amicable relationship. These include the collaboration with my current publisher Routledge, now part of the global Taylor and Francis group, who commissioned  my most recently published text Dilemmas of Leadership 3rd edition.

Money matters, but not like you might think

There is plenty of advice around about making a lot of money out of publishing. I am not able to offer such advice.  I doubt I have ever made more that 10% of my annual income directly from writing. On the other hand, a later version of PSTCA (mentioned above) was read by someone who became a dear friend and who brought me in to his company as an external trainer and  thus kept me in a slightly better class of  car for several years. His friendship was far more than an added bonus.

Intrinsic motivation
Anyway, I am a firm believer in the principle of intrinsic motivation.  You work best if you are primarily in love with what you are doing, rather than for the money it promises. Big earners only notice money if they feel a competitor is judged better because he or she earns more. It is an ego before bank balance thing.

On to the Pros and Cons

If you have are offered a contract from an established  publisher, cherish it.  The big plus is that the final product will benefit from a range of professional inputs from copy editors, proof readers, marketing, pricing and PR experts. Rare is the author with all these skills.

There are two major downsides to weigh against the benefits of the pampering with an experienced publisher behind you.  Traditional publishing is increasingly vulnerable to market forces reducing profits from ‘dead tree’ products. Your contract will reflect that.  The other issue is time to market.  Things are speeding up, but there is a long way to go before even the most successful of traditional publishers will be able to set up their own route-to- market to compete with with the lean mean electronic self-publishing route.

Self publishing is in contrast rapid, and has lower entry barriers (business school speak, but self evident), and thus  more open to anyone to give it a try.  The self-publishing author is able to produce print and e versions relatively easily. I use Amazon’s Create Space services which is a safe choice for the inexperienced author.

Frontloading and deep diving

A lot of tacit knowledge about being an author acquired through writing  twenty non-fiction texts, still left me wirth a lot of gaps in the skill set needed for self publishing.  One particular experience was the commitment to the discipline of writing regularly. Another was accepting that a great deal of redrafting is necessary.  Finally, pre-planning (‘frontloading’ ) before diving in to writing, is just as important.

I have already hinted at the down side of self-publishing.  You risk the vulnerability of the lone author.  You have to decide how to compensate for the other non-writing skills.

Search widely, invest wisely

I am now moving on to assessing the best investment for buying in some of those skills. A good example is designing a cover (which you need, incidentally, even for e books). Shop around, as they say about consumer decision making.

I kept reading about the advantages of going it alone  For me, this is not the best mind-set.  You should never go it alone, you need all the help you can get. The bigger question is which services should you pay for, and when. I decided to make my mistakes on a small scale, preparing to invest more when I am further up that learning curve.

My first self published books

My first self published books in  the period 2014-2016  followed the principle of getting ideas out to a wider audience.  I wanted to explore the nature of creativity and leadership in a new format.My first effort, The Manchester Method (e book only) was by way of a trial. I made my mistakes on a small scale.  The ‘final’ e-version still has the look of a book completed before the author discovered how to use advanced design options.

I followed this up with Tennis Matters  which I found easier to produce, having edged further up the design mountain.  I also found delight in making multiple revisions of the ‘final’ version, discovering that the self -imposed deadline was worth breaking at the cost of a few extra days to market.  That’s another advantage of self -publishing.

Other discoveries

Making a decent looking index is tricky but not impossible. I used Microsoft Word. I also found  that at my level of (in)experience, mini books were best for making minor changes.

Just this week, I received copies of Mourinho Matters. This had been the third self-published book since I started the project approximately eighteen months ago.  It is my most ambitious in length (just over 200 pages) and I am still going up that lengthy learning curve in producing print and e books.

Mourinho Matters

In hindsight

In hindsight, I just thought of another advantage. I selected topics I wanted to write about, and which were close to my interest and skills core. And I had a large number of researched and tagged research items available (including the thousand Leaders We Deserve posts) to draw on.


Tennis Matters: I didn’t see the match-fixing

January 27, 2016

Tennis Matters Blue

Tennis is the latest sport to find itself embroiled in a corruption scandal.  It is not the problem that many observers expected
Leaders We Deserve was and still remains a blog about leadership and its implications in business.  Sport remains a useful way of ‘back engineering’ into business leadership.
In recent months sport has provided a wealth of examples of issues of global institutions failing in the most basic tenets of social corporate responsibility.  LWD subscribers will be able to track back to the most recent in athletics and football.
So now for tennis.  Over the last few weeks a story has developed in a rather predictable way.  First, a suggestion that a few low ranked players were involved in match fixing.
All credit to the BBC who can still produce world class reporting from time to time.
Silence from tennis authorities. The story builds
World number one Novak Djokovic speaks out suggesting it is a minor problem, although he was approached to fix a match early in his career.  First time I was awoken from my slumbers.  Novak was reported as dismissing the claims as sheer speculation.  oh, no  Novak.  Better to have stayed shtum.
More reports that the problem is widespread.
I start preparing this post.
Then an announcement that an official enquiry is to take place.
Tennis Matters
I recently self-published Tennis Matters, a little book of personal anecdotes. One seeded participant at the on-going Australian Open was given a copy to read.  It includes updates of several LWD posts.  I was advised by a legal friend to be careful of one of the posts which suggested there might be a drug problem in tennis.  So I listened to him, but there is still a hint of my concerns in Tennis Matters.
What I didn’t see coming 
What I didn’t see coming was a different sort of scandal.  Over the years there have been curious collapses from winning positions. Players have been fined for not trying.  Perhaps I didn’t want to see any suspicions.  I was more interested in the tensions that impair ‘thinking clearly under pressure’
This story has legs
You can find my slightly redacted comments about drugs in tennis in Tennis Matters.  Until I put out a revised version, this post will have to do.  I have a feeling the story deserves the customary not quite final words … Watch out for updates.
To be continued

You don’t need a Kindle to read Amazon eBooks

October 4, 2015

imageMessage from your editor and author of the eBook Tennis Matters

Many people still miss out on ordering eBooks from Amazon because they do not own a Kindle. I discovered this after a little market research in the clubhouse of a well-known Manchester tennis club. Tennis playing friends had told me they wanted to buy my recently published eBook Tennis Matters.

When I later asked them what they thought of it they became rather evasive in their replies.

Was it because they found my masterpiece less than the fascinating read I had promised it to be? Perhaps so, although I had received unsolicited praise that gives so much easing of the pain experienced by the bruised ego of the newly published author. One who had been pressed into proof-reading duties noted

l have just finished your book on my Kindle en route to London and thought you might be interested in my views. The light-hearted tone coupled with the personal reminiscences (the antique tennis racket story struck a chord), the appeal to the tennis fan (of which I am one), and the leadership/business school angle made for an interesting and appealing mix. Having started out of a sense of quasi-duty to a friend I enjoyed it more and more

Encouraged by the message, I conducted a little trial on a convenience sample of nine social tennis players. Four out of the nine gave as their reason for not ordering a copy of Tennis Matters

‘ I do not have a Kindle’

To their unconfined joy, I was able to reassure each of them of their error, sending them on their way with the news that there is no need to have a Kindle to read said masterpiece which is available for the astonishing price of £1.99 or rough equivalent in other currencies.

If you go to the link for Tennis Matters you too will see that you can download a FREE App for iPhone, Tablet, or PC and then use it to order your eCopies of any book (including Tennis Matters of course).

Then you too will learn of my battles with a wayward forehand, try out the tennis teasers and catch up with the updated tennis posts from the 1000 plus archived materials of Leaders We Deserve.

An earlier post also outlined a little of the contents of Tennis Matters

 


Tennis Matters: The dream of a perfect forehand

August 14, 2015

 

Tennimageis Matters is an account of the author’s obsession with tennis from his schooldays through his working career as a scientist and a Business School Professor. It documents his fruitless search for a respectable tennis forehand shot

Tennis Matters was published in E book format in August 2015. It is part biography, part based on tennis stories updated from over a thousand published in Leaders We Deserve over the period 2007-2015. It lists the mostly unsuccessful attempts of the author’s coaches to help him develop a workable forehand. It also includes Tennis Teasers (‘because they were the parts of my lectures the students liked most’).

“Hit past the baseline not into the net”

The story unfolds as the author recalls boyhood experiences: “My first coach was Tad the Geography master, a powerful bantamweight of a man, blessed with a natural tennis game, and in the classroom an unerring aim with a piece of chalk to gain the attention of an errant pupil. He did nothing to set me up with an educated forehand. But I do remember one piece of his advice. Better to hit the ball out past the baseline he insisted than into the net. I cannot say I have fully mastered the principles required for this tricky procedure”.

Tennis fashions

He watched his first films about the glamourous and exciting lives of tennis professionals: Hitchcock’s classic ‘Strangers on a Train’ and the lesser known ‘Pat and Mike’ starring Gussie Moran and Katherine Hepburn, noting the impact that Katherine Hepburn’s shorts and Moran’s frilly knickers were eventually to have on tennis fashion.

At the start of the 1960s, he recalls, the genteel ineptitude of tennis officialdom was still accepted. One match at Wimbledon ended in chaos when a line official nodded off and was unable to confirm that the match was over on a match point.

The modern era

Then came professionalization, and the modern era. The Australian Lew Hoad became to tennis what Stirling Moss was to racing, Bobby Charlton to football, and Arnold Palmer to Golf.

By the 1970s the great tennis tournaments were available to mass audiences. There were epic contests between two dominant figures of the era, Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe. A similar series of breath-taking battles were to take place in the 1990s by battles between Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi.

Into the 21st century

As the 21st century approached, the young Roger Federer began to rewrite the record books. He was later to face intense competition from Novak Djokovic, and from the king of clay Rafa Nadal.

An era of America supremacy led by the iconic figures of Navratilova, King, McEnroe, Sampras and Agassi was coming to an end. Another golden age was emerging in which ‘the American (Bryan) brothers and (Williams) sisters were supreme and yet were not receiving the wider recognition they deserved’.

The author began recording his notes on every match played by Andy Murray, having watched him first as a junior playing on an outside court in a regional tournament. He discovers that changes in the game have not all been to his liking. He learns of the impact of branding as he miserably fails to trade up his 1970s racquet for a modern one. His forehand continues to frustrate the best efforts of various coaches, even one who had helped players such as Martina Navratilova.

Subsequent tales bring us to the highs and lows of today’s superstars, and the pratfalls of TV pundits.

The dream of a perfect forehand

The author remains optimistic. Drawing inspiration from the great orator Martin Luther King, he concludes that however modest the achievement, he still has a dream that one day he will play the perfect forehand.

Note to subscribers

Note the price is quoted currently at $3.99 or £1.99. It is a Kindle product, but you can download a free App via Amazon if you don’t have a Kindle.