Case Study: Seizing Opportunity with The Opportunity Agenda

A Plan to Grow the Middle Class and Revitalize the Democratic Party



Disrupting the Democratic Party to improve its core
New York businessman and civic leader Winston Fisher and former Kansas City mayor Sly James wouldn’t seem like they have much in common. They come from different cities, cultures, and professions. But they do have one thing in common: their desire to save the Democratic Party from itself. Together, in The Opportunity Agenda: A Bold Democratic Plan to Grow the Middle Class, they outline a way forward for the party that focuses on what really matters: appealing to the American people.

What does this mean?
Winston Fisher and Sly James are both faithful Democrats but believe the party can do more to achieve long-term success. They think that rather than rehashing the same common platforms—Medicare for All, higher minimum wage, a Green New Deal—the party needs to target voters by focusing on mainstay policies that will appeal to a wide swath of Americans for years to come. If the policy makes sense with the words “for you” tacked onto it, then that policy is likely to interest most Americans beyond a single election cycle. Voters want to see a platform tailored for them rather than one created on the rebound from a lost election.

Our goals?
1. Edit The Opportunity Agenda after Fisher and James write it
2. Update the book during production to be up-to-date with the COVID-19 pandemic
3. Capitalize on the biggest talking points of the 2020 election cycle


Winston Fisher wanted to help improve the Democratic Party, so he set up a meeting with Sly James to discuss ideas. They soon realized they shared a lot of the same ideals and agreed the Democratic Party is due for a change because of its repeated failures. So, they co-authored a manuscript intended to solve those problems and provide a roadmap for Democrats moving forward. They took their time developing the manuscript, brainstorming various policy points and the best possible solutions for the American people. After about a year of development and writing, they had a final manuscript that achieved those goals.

When COVID-19 swept the United States, the need for Fisher and James’s policies was clearer than ever. Portable benefits, for example, became sorely needed as people lost their traditional nine-to-five jobs. Despite the fact that The Opportunity Agenda was already at the printer, we updated it to ensure the book remained topical upon its release.

Both authors are active in their Democratic scenes, which was useful as we neared the book’s release date. Sly James covered Kansas City, Missouri, while Winston Fisher was in charge of New York City. And in addition to leveraging their personal networks, James and Fisher partnered with Global Strategy Group, a public affairs and communications firm that specializes in the intersection of business and politics. Javelin, a DC-based media and public relations company known for marketing political titles, also got involved to assist with media and publicity. Between Fisher, James, GSG, Javelin, and Amplify, it was a coordinated effort to make waves in the press in advance of the 2020 presidential election.

The effort bore fruit. Sly James and Winston Fisher co-authored an op-ed for Newsweek entitled “A Warning to Our Fellow Democrats: A Campaign Focused on Trump Won’t Win.” In it, they acknowledge the unity of the Democratic Party against President Trump and his reelection bid but insist on the need for a “major campaign pivot” to ensure lasting wins. Sly James also made appearances on national television. On Fox News, he discussed the George Floyd protests as a situation needing strong leadership, and on MSNBC, he appeared to discuss how the Democratic Party can become the party of opportunity. He wrote an op-ed in The Kansas City Star, advocating paid family leave as an economic boon and an issue the Democrats should champion beyond the 2020 election. Kirkus Reviews, a trusted voice in book reviews, also hailed Fisher and James’s ideas as “ambitious and cogent.”

It takes more than relying on the failures of others to make a political party successful and transcend just one election cycle. Winston Fisher and Sly James dug deeper and created a plan to renew the Democratic Party and bolster middle-class Americans for years to come.

Back to Blog

Case Study: Going Extra Innings at the City of Hope National Medical Center

Former Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Fred Claire’s cancer diagnosis came out of left field, but at the City of Hope, he found the dream team to help him beat it.



A baseball legend
The Los Angeles Dodgers are playing the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2020 World Series. The last time the Dodgers won the Fall Classic was back in 1988, with an overachieving team assembled by former sportswriter-turned-baseball-executive Fred Claire.


Fred Claire
Fred Claire continued his tenure with the Dodgers until 1997, when he stepped away from the game he loved and started a glorious retirement filled with friends, family, staying active, and playing a lot of golf. But in January 2015, Claire received bad news: the supposedly harmless spot on his lip was instead squamous cell carcinoma, a potentially deadly form of skin cancer.

That’s when Claire entrusted his care, treatment, and life to the doctors and nurses at the City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, California. After some highs and lows, Claire is now in recovery and attributes his good health to the amazing team at City of Hope and the support of his friends and family.


Telling a story of hope in the fight against cancer
Claire was so moved by the care and treatment he received that he wanted to let the world know about the groundbreaking work happening at City of Hope. It occurred to him a book would be a great way to talk about his cancer journey to inspire others and give CoH a platform to talk about its approach. CoH was on board; it would provide support for the project and make the doctors and nurses who helped Claire available for interviews.

Claire approached our parent company, Mascot Books, about his idea and we were on board. It was an inspiring story with a worthy cause. And to help kick things off, we connected Claire with Tim Madigan, a respected author and journalist who has written for the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Politico, Reader’s Digest, and, for thirty years, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Together, we took two trips to the City of Hope to see for ourselves the exceptional care and innovation happening beyond its doors.


Our goals?
1. Partner with Claire, City of Hope, and Tim Madigan to produce Extra Innings: Fred Claire’s Journey to City of Hope and Finding a World Championship Team
2. Highlight the innovative treatment occurring at City of Hope
3. Raise awareness for City of Hope through both baseball- and cancer-related media hits

Madigan got to work writing the book and telling Fred Claire’s and City of Hope’s unique stories and how they came together. From its origins as a treatment center for homeless tuberculosis victims in the 1910s, CoH has become not only a leader in diabetes treatment and bone marrow and stem cell transplantation but also a leader in cancer research and treatment. Madigan captured CoH’s humanity, its combination of science and compassion, and its excellent health care professionals. One reviewer on Amazon stated, “Tim Madigan has woven [baseball and CoH] together in a masterful story that will make your soul happy.”

Extra Innings gave City of Hope the opportunity to spread the knowledge of its research and treatments far and wide. Its innovations in chemotherapy, radiation, experimental surgery, and immunotherapy all put it on par with its peers, like the Mayo Clinic. By partnering with Claire on Extra Innings, CoH advances its name and saves more lives.

People remember Fred Claire well. In the Daily Bulletin, Fred Claire’s story ran in two articles, the first titled “Writing sports in Pomona led Fred Claire to Dodgers (and World Series)” which retold his journey to becoming Dodgers general manager. In the second, “Readers haven’t forgotten Fred Claire, the Pomona sportswriter who became a Dodgers exec,” newspaper readers share their memories of Claire during the 1980s. Claire also appeared on the podcast SABRcast with Rob Neyer in May 2020 to talk about his baseball career and journey to City of Hope. Also, a review of Extra Innings is currently in the works with the magazine Baseball America.

Extra Innings drew attention because of its cancer subject matter, as well. Not only did City of Hope write an article about Claire and the book on its website (“Fred Claire: Former Dodgers GM Chronicles Cancer Journey In New Book”), but he was also interviewed by Ed Hart on From the Hart, a podcast that tells inspiring stories. Claire has an upcoming appearance on Thrive Podcast, a podcast about fighting cancer and moving forward with life, as well.


Keep on swinging
Fred Claire has had his ups and downs, but his recovery is going very well. And with the Los Angeles Dodgers contending to win the World Series again, he’s spending his free time rooting for them to repeat that victory for the first time since his team did.

All proceeds from Extra Innings go to the City of Hope National Medical Center.

Back to Blog

Moving Forward with a Foreword: How to Get the Ultimate Endorsement

P.V. Kannan’s book The Age of Intent: Using Artificial Intelligence to Deliver a Superior Customer Experience had all the elements necessary to make an impact. P.V. is a respected technologist and entrepreneur with expertise in artificial intelligence (AI), the cutting-edge technology widely predicted to transform the business world. P.V.’s book had great case studies, great research, and a great design. What else could the book possibly need to take it over the top? A killer foreword. A valuable foreword can enhance an author’s credibility and a book’s marketability.

That’s when the brainstorming started. P.V. curated a wish list of names: CEOs, technologists, bestselling authors, and Thomas L. Friedman, the influential columnist from the New York Times. Friedman is a three-time Pulitzer Prize winner and internationally renowned for his reporting on the Middle East, foreign affairs, globalization, and the environment. P.V. crossed paths with Friedman in 2004 while Friedman was shooting a documentary on outsourcing for the New York Times and Discovery and has been featured in his books The World Is Flat and That Used to Be Us.


The ask:

P.V. waited until his book had a final cover design and was nearly finished with researching and editing. Then he gave Friedman a copy of the manuscript and asked whether he would consider contributing a foreword if he was impressed.

Friedman has all the qualities of a great foreword writer. He has 1) name recognition, 2) a well-respected and established platform, and 3) a willingness to promote the book. Not only did Friedman deliver an engaging foreword that provided a thorough overview of the current boom in AI technology and P.V.’s expertise on the subject matter, but he also wrote a column about The Age of Intent’s subject matter, “A.I. Still Needs H.I. (Human Intelligence) for Now,” using his own and NYT’s channels to get word out about the book. The book also received attention in other outlets. For example, P.V. Kannan and his coauthor, Josh Bernoff, later wrote two articles on AI for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan Management Review titled “The Future of Customer Service Is AI-Human Collaboration” and “Four Challenges to Overcome for AI-Driven Customer Experience.”


How do I get a foreword?

There are two types of people you can solicit for forewords: people you know, and people you don’t.

People you know are the easiest people to ask for a foreword. They are already in your network, and you have the relationship to reach out and ask for their contribution. They may not even ask to see the manuscript or table of contents.

The network of people you know may not be direct contacts. You can tap into the connections of your publisher, book publicist, or ghostwriter to see who they could introduce you to. Here at Amplify, Andrew Yang, the champion of universal basic income, provided a testimonial for Our Future: The Basic Income Plan for Peace, Justice, Liberty, Democracy, and Personal Dignity by Steven Shafarman. The CEO of Zoom, Eric Yuan, is writing a foreword for Paul Epstein’s forthcoming The Power of Playing Defense. And as a result of introducing them, Amplify author Tracy Maylett provided a foreword for another Amplify title in the works, The Virtual Events Playbook by Lee Deaner, Nick Zerby, and Stanley Saint-Louis.

People you don’t know are more difficult to secure, but not impossible. Usually, these people have expertise in the subject matter in your book and would garner attention. Research their contact information early, but plan to reach out later in the process if you don’t know them. In order to make a good impression, you will need to provide the potential foreword writer with the book’s cover image and two sample chapters at minimum. If possible, it’s best to send the manuscript in full along with a list of other notable people affiliated with the book, whether they are providing a testimonial for the back cover or are quoted in the text itself. Foreword contributors often welcome a draft or editorial ideas in advance, too, but only offer a draft if they are too busy to write it themselves.

The less connection you have, the more finalized you want the book to be so you have great material to share. And be prepared to wait for their response. When you don’t have an immediate connection to the person, it’ll take follow-up and patience to get them on board, but they can be worth the wait.

Start your search for people you don’t know by creating a wish list of people you would like to write the foreword. It’s good to aim high, but keep it reasonable. Do you know how many times authors have asked to secure Oprah, Ellen, or Elon Musk?

One question people often ask is if they should pay their foreword writer. The answer? No. Never. The writer is already getting something out of it: increased visibility.


Does my book need a foreword?

Authors ask us if they should have a foreword for their book all the time, and the answer is: it depends. Not every book requires one. Authors who are thought leaders, entrepreneurs, or subject matter experts benefit most from forewords. From the right source, the foreword will bolster the book’s credibility and can help with promotion and sales.

So, who is that right person? Think back to Thomas L. Friedman and The Age of Intent. The ideal foreword writer will have:

-Name recognition or be respected in their field
-A marketing platform greater than yours
-A willingness to use their platform to benefit your book

It’s rare to have all three of these checked like Friedman. If the potential foreword writer has one or two of these qualities, it’s probably still a good idea to move forward.

A well-written foreword should provide you with:

-An introduction to you and your book
-An anecdote or an application of what your book discusses
-A testimonial as to why readers should read your book
-Credibility in your subject area by association with the writer

To get a valuable foreword like The Age of Intent did, work your network of personal and professional relationships to find the right person who adds value to your book. Partnering with an advantageous foreword writer spreads your book far and wide and connects you with your target audience better. A foreword is one piece of the puzzle in launching your book’s success.




As the CEO at
Amplify Publishing and Mascot Books, Naren Aryal is a recognized publishing industry expert. Naren advises authors, thought leaders, and various organizations on the opportunities and challenges that exist in the evolving publishing world. He’s guided the company’s growth from a single children’s book in 2003 to becoming one of the fastest growing and most respected hybrid publishing companies in the world. Today, Mascot Books publishes hundreds of books a year across all genres, and Amplify Publishing is a leading nonfiction imprint specializing in “big ideas” from some of the most reputable names in business and politics.

Naren frequently speaks at publishing and business events about the importance of developing compelling content and a robust author platform. He is also the author of How to Sell a Crapload of Books: 10 Secrets of a Killer Author Marketing Platform.

Prior to entering the world of books, Naren worked as a lawyer, advising technology companies in the Washington, D.C. area. He holds a B.S. in Finance from Virginia Tech and Juris Doctor from University of Denver.

 

Back to Blog

Case Study: The Roadmap to Becoming Crisis Ready®

Organizations that are Crisis Ready® are more than just resilient. They’re invincible.

Building an invincible brand in an uncertain world

Written by crisis management advisor as well as founder and CEO of the Crisis Ready Institute Melissa Agnes, Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World provides organizations such as businesses, police, military, and universities the tools they need to build resilient brands. Being Crisis Ready® means if an organization is faced with a crisis, they come out of it stronger and even better than before.

What does this mean?

Modern-day organizations face a slew of potential risks: security breaches, economic hardship, PR disasters, and, most recently, global pandemics. In Crisis Ready, Agnes provides organizations with the roadmap for embedding a culture whereby every member of the team becomes adept at getting ahead of risk—be it a customer complaint straight through to a full-scale catastrophic crisis—in a way that transforms the risk into a brand-strengthening opportunity.

Crisis readiness is not the same as crisis management. Crisis management is what happens once the risk has materialized. The more Crisis Ready® an organization is, the less crisis management they are likely to have to do. When you’re Crisis Ready®, your organization can withstand hardships and unexpected emergencies because a Crisis Ready® brand is proactive, confident, and strategic.

Our goals?

  • Hand the mic to Agnes as a Crisis Ready® thought leader
  • Support her expertise with a powerful design
  • Create a quality, evergreen book that will help businesses for years to come

As a strategic advisor and keynote speaker, Agnes has worked with NATO, ministries of foreign affairs and defense, financial firms, technology companies, healthcare organizations, cities and municipalities, law enforcement agencies, global non-profits, universities, and many others. In other words, she is an expert in crisis management across a diverse range of industries and is fully equipped to share her knowledge.

Agnes took the lead on her manuscript, and we utilized a writing coach to keep her on a timeline in coordination with the production calendar. She wrote, and we reviewed and edited. After 6 months, the manuscript was done.

The result? She created a compelling manuscript that provides readers with real-world examples of where organizations do well and where they fall short. This includes learning the tools to interact with stakeholders appropriately and having a measured plan of action to be Crisis Ready®.

Next, we needed a strong interior design to supplement Agnes’ expertise and streamline her findings. It was important to Agnes that the book be a multi-sensory experience. Our design team filled out the interior of the book with eye-catching 2-color graphs, diagrams, and most impressively, a gatefold insert that opens out to reveal a large chart with her teachings. It was a thoughtful journey to finding the perfect cover, fluctuating between thousands of ideas and outlines to create a meaningful, subtle approach. A simple yet powerful cover design tied it all together, conveying a sense of calmness and readiness in an uncertain world.

Two years later

Commended as “intelligent, intuitive, and unabashedly gutsy,” named by Forbes as a top ten business book in 2018, and named by Book Authority as a top three crisis management book of all time, Crisis Ready is the go-to book on the topic of crisis preparedness and crisis management, and has helped solidify Agnes as a leading expert in the field.

While Agnes is profitable with online and brick-and-mortar retail, she finds enormous success with bulk buys from corporations and businesses, who are looking to evolve their culture and become Crisis Ready® from the ground up. One of her greatest successes was with J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. After supporting Chase’s small and medium-sized business clients through the COVID-19 pandemic, Chase bought 2,000 copies of the Crisis Ready® ebook to give away to their clients. We coordinated the logistics, and the deal was done.

Agnes frequently uses her book as a teaching and speaking tool on her podcast, vlog, and contributes articles to Forbes magazine. Crisis Ready is also part of the curriculum at Harvard University and dozens of other higher education schools globally. The book has gained Agnes professional speaking gigs and brought in more clients interested in retaining her Crisis Ready® expertise.

Now, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Agnes’ ideas have become even more relevant and necessary. This new era has forced organizations everywhere to reevaluate how to communicate with clients effectively and collaborate with staff virtually. Ultimately, organizations need a strategic plan to come out alive on the other side. Agnes’ expertise is in high demand because there is no better time to be invincible.

Now that Agnes has solidified herself as a leading authority on crisis readiness, she has launched her latest initiative, the Crisis Ready Institute, a public benefit corporation with a powerful mission. By incorporating a culture of readiness in organizations and teaching them how to turn risk into opportunities for growth and connection, the Institute is on a mission to create a crisis resilient world.

The second edition of Crisis Ready is in the works and is scheduled to be released in 2021.

Back to Blog

Ideas to Bridge the Political Divide

Neal Simon and Steven Shafarman have concrete and actionable ideas on how to bridge the large (and growing) ideological divide in present-day America. They have outlined their ideas in new books recently published by RealClear Publishing, a new joint venture established by Amplify Publishing, Gotham Ghostwriters, and RealClear Politics.

Here’s a taste of what Simon and Shafarman believe will fix a broken and hyper-partisan political system.

Contract to Unite America
Business executive and 2018 candidate for United States Senate Neal Simon recently published Contract to Unite America: 10 Reforms to Reclaim Our Republic, a call to purge our political system of corruption and partisan politics. Simon breaks down ten practical ways in which we can restore trust and bipartisan ideals in our political system—from implementing term limits to putting restrictions on campaign financing. One of Simon’s main positions? Ranked-choice voting.

The Skinny on Ranked-Choice Voting
TIME magazine defines ranked-choice voting (RCV) as a system that “allows voters to rank candidates by preference, meaning they can submit ballots that list not only their first-choice candidate for a position, but also their second, third and so on.” The results? Simon told CSPAN that RCV “has done a lot to give voters more choice; it’s done a lot to encourage civility in elections, and you end up with more people elected who represent more of the country.” In Contract to Unite America, Simon argues that RCV provides third-party candidates with a platform and prevents the two-party system from dominating election cycles, ultimately encouraging candidates from different parties to work across the aisle for the sake of their constituents.

According to some experts, here’s how it would work. Say you have a gerrymandered district that is dominated by either Democratic or Republican representatives. With multimember districts under RCV, these areas could instead see a mix of representatives—Democrats, Republicans, and independents. As Simon explains further in Contract to Unite America, “Congress would end up with more Republicans from blue states like New York and more Democrats from red states like Texas.” Meaning, RCV would not only give Democrats or Republicans a chance to represent a new district, but it would also encourage these representatives to work together to serve their shared constituents. Simon believes this is a win-win for politicians and voters.

Our Future
Political advocate Steven Shafarman has been a vocal proponent of universal basic income for more than thirty years. In his upcoming book, Our Future: The Basic Income Plan for Peace, Justice, Liberty, Democracy, and Personal Dignity (June 16, 2020), Shafarman discusses how the implementation of UBI would not only improve the quality of life for all Americans, but would also be a source of common ground for Democrats and Republicans.

The Skinny on Universal Basic Income
Universal basic income (UBI) is exactly what it sounds like—a fixed, guaranteed income for all US citizens. UBI was once thought to be a fringe idea, but yesterday’s fringe idea has become one of the government’s key tools in stimulating the economy during the COVID-19 crisis, garnering bipartisan support. As Shafarman notes in his TED Talk, “The idea is to set some amount, say $1,000 a month, and provide that to every adult citizen.” Citing our nation’s founding fathers, Shafarman argues, “In order to truly secure our inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, basic income is imperative.” But how could this bridge the political divide?

In Our Future, Shafarman notes that funding for UBI could come from cutting government programs that have become superfluous, appealing to the Republican Party, which prefers less government spending. At the same time, UBI would become a government-funded endeavor, appealing to the Democratic Party, which advocates for big government and the social safety net. In Shafarman’s opinion, the long-term effects of UBI have the potential to lead to bipartisan reform, including improved public health and lowered healthcare costs, a surge in job creation, more successful small businesses, and enduring national security. The idea is simple: We the People versus special interests and the status quo. To Shafarman, it’s a no-brainer.


Ranked-choice voting and universal basic income—two big ideas for political diplomacy from even bigger thought leaders. Simon and Shafarman are leading the conversations, and we look forward to hearing what else they have to say during the 2020 election cycle and beyond. And with our partners at RealClearPolitics we’ll continue to provide political experts like them with a platform to share their big ideas.

Interested in learning more about Amplify’s thought leaders? Check out our authors and upcoming releases.

Back to Blog

Case Study: Stepping into The Age of Intent

Named one of the Best Business Books 2019 by strategy+business, The Age of Intent guides readers through the challenges of using AI to improve customer experience.

Pioneering the conversation around AI-powered chatbots.
Written by co-founder and CEO of [24]7.ai P.V. Kannan, The Age of Intent: Using Artificial Intelligence to Deliver a Superior Customer Experience expertly discusses how AI-powered virtual agents can help a business to succeed—or fail.

What does this mean?
The rollout of virtual agents—in conjunction with human support agents and good business practices—has the potential to completely transform the customer service experience. Using case studies and real-world examples, Kannan outlines how these AI-powered chatbots can anticipate customer needs, fulfill requests, and efficiently answer questions, providing quality 24/7 customer service that gets smarter every day.

Our goals?
  • -Let the expert do the talking
  • -Details, details, details
  • -Set the book up for success

When we first began working on The Age of Intent in 2018, the use of artificial intelligence in the customer service realm was not widely discussed. While most people agreed a technological shift was on the horizon, publications often focused on one narrative: how companies would soon phase AI in while phasing human employees out. Kannan believes the corporate world should take a different approach—one that combines the power of machine learning with human intelligence. If implemented correctly, it’s a win-win for businesses and employees.

In order to ignite the conversation, Kannan partnered with Josh Bernoff, an experienced business author and expert on analytical thinking. Bernoff’s attention to detail and aptitude for research perfectly complemented Kannan’s industry knowledge and innovation. Together, they worked to bring Kannan’s big ideas to life, and perfected the manuscript with a powerful foreword by New York Times writer Thomas L. Friedman.

A successful book needs more than just a strong manuscript—it needs a cover design that succinctly depicts the content while catching readers’ attention. In this case, it was imperative that we highlight three main topics: technology, artificial intelligence, and customer interaction. We looked to our design team to take on the challenge, and the result was a compelling, eye-catching cover that uses a background graphic, central image, and bold title text design to bring the book’s concepts to life.

The age of intent is here
Following its publication, The Age of Intent became the #1 New Release in Enterprise Communications on Amazon and was availabe at Hudson News stores nationwide. It infiltrated business and technology publications, including Harvard Business Review, Fortune, TechCircle, and MIT Sloan Management Review. Kannan and his team appeared in the New York Times, providing readers with an inside look at how the combination of machine learning and human labor has made [24]7.ai so successful.

     

Praised as “a must read for any manager leading or participating in the digital transformation of their business,” The Age of Intent is leading the movement to AI in the customer service realm.

What will the future hold for artificial intelligence in the workplace? P.V. Kannan has a few ideas.

Back to Blog

The Crisis Ready Response to Coronavirus COVID-19



“Yes, over my weekends, because crises don’t sleep.”

That direct quote, from a webinar held on Wednesday, March 11, should give you all of the insight you need into the commitment crisis management expert Melissa Agnes has to her work. Melissa is the author of Crisis Ready: Build an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World and has been at-the-ready with her response to the coronavirus COVID-19. 

Her answer to this now global pandemic could have been simply hawking her book on social media, relying on her audience to order a copy and to make their own conclusions based on that content. Armed with a Forbes top business book of 2018 and a work taught in higher education courses around the world (including Harvard University and Homeland Security), one could argue that anyone with a copy of Crisis Ready would be, well, ready. 

But Melissa took her role ten steps further, developing and hosting a comprehensive webinar specific to the impact of COVID-19 in just over a week. It was free to the first 500 people who registered, and no assumptions were made that attendees were well-versed in the practices Melissa preaches. She solicited questions in advance, incorporated them into her presentation, and also answered questions in real-time to make it as valuable as possible to attendees. 

If you ever find yourself asking how to expand the lifecycle of thought leadership books, take a literal page from Melissa’s book, released two years ago. At the highest level, it’s about applying your subject matter authentically and thoroughly to the national conversation with the same level of commitment it took to cement your positioning in the first place. Here’s more from Melissa on how she got from there to here:

When did you decide to put on the webinar?
Specifically, I decided on Tuesday, March 3, while speaking with my team, expressing my frustration on the current lack of leadership and the undeserved domino effect this has on businesses and society at-large. This situation is unprecedented and people are scared. Of course they are. But they don’t have to be alone and I have a ton of experience and knowledge that can help, so I gave as much as I possibly could within a short 75-minute window.

How did you promote it?
Within 24 hours my team had a webpage up and we shared that to my newsletter list, on social media and we asked others to help us spread the world. I framed it as their form of payment for the webinar by saying:
The coronavirus is a global situation that calls for us all to come together and support one another. For this reason, we are not charging for this webinar. However, what we are asking for as a form of ‘payment’ is that you share this link and information about this webinar with your network, so we can increase the reach of this important information to all of those who will benefit from it.

I was very blessed to have—and continue to have—many shares, as the replay of the webinar, as well as all of the free resources that come along with it, are all still available for free to anyone who is interested.

How long did it take you to put the deck together?
It’s not just putting the deck together, but also figuring out the flow of the message I wanted to share, writing the copy for the webpages, setting up email automations, time promoting it across channels… all of which took about 4 days of my time, not counting my team’s time to actually launch the webpage for me, put up the Institute’s splash page, create new automation emails for those who registered, etc. All of this was forced to happen over the weekend and well into the early morning hours, since my day job consists of consulting and advising clients who are currently facing the impacts that COVID-19 are presenting to their businesses.

What else have you done related to COVID-19?
I’m advising clients and constantly trying to find ways to spread the Crisis Ready message to help others through this difficult time; I’m offering a very exclusive opportunity for companies through the Crisis Ready COVID-19 Coaching Program; the Monday prior to the webinar I hosted a Mastermind Session on COVID-19 for my Crisis Ready Community; today, I published this blog post, which I hope will also help inspire hope and provide access to helpful resources… And if anybody has any other ideas, I’m all ears and would be very grateful!

For more on Melissa, go to MelissaAgnes.com and order your copy of Crisis Ready on Amazon.

Back to Blog

Case Study: The Triple Threat of Brainwashed

Headlines scream that football causes CTE, but the headlines don’t tell the whole story. A bold statement for an even bolder book that put Amplify on the map. Let’s dive into a case study on three key elements of book marketing that keep Brainwashed in the media spotlight.

Written by former NFL running back Merril Hoge (with contributions from neuropathologist Peter Cummings), Brainwashed: The Bad Science Behind CTE and the Plot to Destroy Football was hailed as “a must-read for any parent” by current Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethisberger and his wife, Ashley.

The gist?
There are hidden agendas and misinformation surrounding CTE, which Hoge and Cummings address by examining flaws in the often-cited studies and exposing the sensationalist reporting that catapulted CTE into the national spotlight.

Our goals?

  • 1. Nail the timing
  • 2. Solidify the expertise
  • 3. Go big on press (or go home)

When Hoge approached us in January 2018 with the concept, we knew that time to market was essential to capitalize on this hot and controversial topic. Oh, and we needed to get this book out at the start of those five months out of the year dominated by one other acronym: NFL.

That gave us 10 months to get the manuscript written, edited, designed, and printed, a process that usually takes 18 months or more. Our keys to success were hiring both a ghostwriter and third-party researcher who knew that timing was key, but accuracy was even more important. Taking such an alternative approach to a topic that hit the country harder than a defensive tackle required airtight research.

One of Lou Holtz’s many quotable moments was when he said that “no one ever drowned in sweat.” So once the book was complete, we hit the press offensive. Hard. One day after the book’s release, Hoge was in USA Today (and in front of hotel room doors nationwide). That same day, both Hoge and Big Ben were on TMZ Sports, proving that no outlet was too big—or in this case, too out there—for this story.

And while this was nationwide news, the NFL jerseys that bore Hoge’s name shaped our regional pitch strategy. With a career-ending concussion as a Chicago Bear, Hoge returned to the Windy City’s headlines with this piece in the Chicago Tribune.

Throughout the 2018-2019 NFL season, Brainwashed continued to make national and international news with coverage on FOX News, the UK’s Daily Mail, and more. Now that we’re in the throws of another NFL season, the conversation continues. And Merril Hodge continues to be in it. 


New York lawmakers consider ban on youth tackle football (FOX News, October 31, 2019)

Back to Blog

From the Publisher

By Naren Aryal

Welcome to Amplify.  

At Amplify, we publish top-quality nonfiction titles. Specifically, we’re all about business books, political and policy-related works, and current affairs issues that are starting conversations. That’s it. Nothing else.

We launched our first book in October 2018, but we’re not new to the world of publishing. Amplify is the first imprint of a company I co-founded fifteen years ago, Mascot Books. Mascot is a multi-genre house, publishing everything from children’s titles, to cookbooks, to fantasy/science fiction novels, to memoirs—and everything in between. But even book people have favorite genres, and, as CEO, I wanted to establish a new imprint focusing on the genres I enjoy most and where we’ve had growing success. In the last five years, we’ve had the opportunity to work with some really impressive authors in the nonfiction space: CEOs, subject matter experts, innovative thought leaders. A new imprint would give these authors and their big ideas a unique space in the publishing landscape and set their work apart. Amplify was born.

Amplify’s first release was Brainwashed: The Bad Science Behind CTE and the Plot to Destroy Football, a controversial look at CTE research and the way it’s represented in the media, by former NFL star and ESPN commentator Merril Hoge. In several ways, it embodies the core of what we look for in an Amplify title, beyond being well-written and thoroughly researched. Some agree with the stance Brainwashed takes, some disagree, but one thing is clear: it’s gotten people—journalists, players, and readers—talking. Brainwashed started a new thread in one of sports’ longest and loudest conversations. That’s what good books do.

In 2019, we’re continuing the momentum with The Age of Intent: Using Artificial Intelligence to Deliver a Superior Customer Experience by P.V. Kannan, the cofounder and chief executive officer of Silicon Valley-based [24]7.ai, a leader in AI-driven customer experience software and services. Slated for release on May 28, 2019, the book shares P.V.’s take on how AI is helping the world’s leading businesses attract and retain customers through personalized, predictive, and effortless customer experience by redefining the way companies interact with consumers.

At Amplify, we believe content is king. Here, you can expect to find books from leading figures in business like Tae Hea Nahm and Bob Tinker; subject matter experts like Melissa Agnes (Crisis Ready); and budding thought leaders like Dave Frankland and Nick Worth (Marketing to the Entitled Consumer). With the 2020 general elections a little over a year away, we’ll rise to meet the slew of political titles hitting the market with some of our own from both sides of the aisle. We’re looking forward to new voices, growing partnerships, and great books in 2019. I’m glad you’re here and hope you’ll come along for the ride.

Back to Blog

an imprint of Mascot Books  |  
620 Herndon Parkway #320  |  
Herndon, Virginia 20170

Phone: 703-437-3584  |  
Fax: 703-437-3554  |  
info@amplifypublishing.com