We had decided in 2009 that we needed to start marketing Color Accounting around the world and increase our brand awareness, but how do you do that without a significant budget? A self-published book seemed the logical answer. After some initial research on what was available, we soon decided that much like Color Accounting, we needed to do something a bit different if we wanted to be noticed. And that's how we set upon the idea of writing in the voice of a Parable. With it's friendly conversational tone, and simple, hand-drawn diagrams, we wanted it to be appealing for people looking to better understand financial information but who might be afraid of a traditional '101' style book.
The first draft that Peter and Mark (the co-founders of Color Accounting) put together was a 'proof of concept' manuscript that was provided to some professionals from the traditional book publishing world. Suffice to say they didn't like it at all and provided some 'tough love' feedback. Peter and Mark were discouraged, and indeed they shelved the whole project for quite some time. Much later, on a whim, they sent the original manuscript to a well-read businessman for another viewpoint and this time the feedback was much more positive. Encouraged, they set to work with renewed vigour and finished the book. A professional young designer, Chang Won Chang, was instrumental in achieving that special 'Color Accounting' look and feel throughout and the Parable was born.
The final step in the process was to self-publish the book and for that the team initially went with an e-book format on iTunes, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. After some success, and with repeated requests to make a paperback version available on Amazon, they did an initial offset print run which has almost completely sold out.
The Parable has proven to be quite popular with people from all walks of life using it to enhance their financial literacy. It has rated well on the various websites where it is sold and mostly the reviews have been very positive. We enjoy the emails we get from people scattered across the globe, who invariably commence with something like "I've been reading your Parable, ..." In the US it is even prescribed at some universities as a text for accounting students and in Australia it is provided in corporate workshops as a development tool.
Peter and Mark have since written and self-published a much bigger second book, still conversational and friendly (but not a parable), called Accounting Comes Alive: Introducing Color Accounting. To date it has been available only as an e-book for the iPad as it uses quite sophisticated multi-media demonstrations throughout. Soon, it will be available also for the Kindle and other popular e-readers.
Financial literacy never looked so good!
Update: and here it is, 288 pages of full colour gorgeousness! See more here.