This weekend is Labor Day. Many start the count down on Monday, seven days before the official day, as the long weekend nears. It’s a day off, the banks are closed and your dinner menu will likely include beer and barbeque.
Most don’t have a clue to the significance of the original Federal Celebration, which stemmed from President Cleveland’s reconciliation with labor unions after the deadly Pullman Strike of 1894, where a number of workers lost their lives. A lot of folks view Labor Day as the final travel weekend before school begins, football season starts, and others think of it as the last weekend to wear white without risking getting a major citation from the fashion police.
And then there are many entrepreneurs that see that first Monday in September as just another great day to work or play, because you’re the boss and every day is a holiday and celebration. I share the last sediment.
I do have friends that can’t really relate to my opinion that Hallmark or Federal holidays are overrated. Not the significance of the day, but that they are more special than other days. Especially when I tell them I may work on Monday, their instant reply is “you work too much, you need to enjoy life”, which I really hate when people say that. Because my amount of joy, relaxation and celebration likely exceeds theirs twenty fold, it may just not fall on a holiday.
Sure being an entrepreneur can be scary and complicated. I was reminded of this today when I watched 10 episodes of Leap-Year, an on-line comedy series about the highs and lows of small business with 5 budding entrepreneurs. If you have not seen this, you’ve got to check it out. The storyline is creative and inspiring. And what I found really cool was that it was produced by PR and digital shop CJPcom.com for Hiscox, a small business insurance expert . Hiscox provides online business insurance to companies with less than 10 employees. And beyond the great reality small biz flicks, that you can watch anytime, there are business resources and a series of awesome interviews with very notable entrepreneurs like Mashable’s Editor in Chief Adam Ostrow, Guy Kawasaki (Alltop.com, Enchanted) and Gary Vaynerchuk (Daily Grape, The Thank You Economy). It’s brilliant marketing! They leveraged social media and streaming video, produced something relevant and entertaining and then associated their brand with it, and offered a great product. BINGO everyone wins!
So my Labor day holiday weekend may not be conventional. I will write a lot. I will do some planning and think about many things that are important to me. I may eat barbeque. I don’t drink beer, but do drink wine and may hang with some friends. I will play tennis and get a massage. But most of all, when I hear people chatting about dreading going back to work on Tues., to that job—I will rejoice and celebrate that I’m an independent entrepreneur who loves the labor of my business.
If you just joined in, yesterday I shared my journey of getting two book deals with major publishers. Brain Tattoos and Brand Turnaround my new title that will be out later this year. I covered what it takes, the process and outcome. In future blogs I’ll address other publishing details, but for now here are 5 big lessons straight from the author’s keyboard or pen, I use both.
Lesson #1- It’s never too late to find the writer in you and author a book.
Go figure, I owned a successful ad agency for almost 20 years and never really wrote anything. How in the heck did I do that?
I produced good creative work, developed new business, crafted and found solutions and spit out ideas like a machine, and most importantly I knew how to hire people to do things that I did not want to or didn’t know how to.
Lesson #2- Most books will not make you cash rich.
Like I mentioned in Part I, the book advance is not as important as the doors your book can open. While my current book earned me double my first book advance, I will invest at least four times that on research, editing and promotion in addition to what the publisher provides. Certainly there are unique situations like if you are a very high profile personality, or have an enormous following or are like one cool wine dude like Gary Vaynerchuk who bagged a 10 book, 7 figure deal with Harper Collins. I’ll drink to that Gary!
Lesson #3- Writing a book is a lot of work and a huge investment by most authors.
To date on my current book, Brand Turnaround, I’ve logged over 1,200 hours – from proposal writing, research, book writing, promotion and therapy. So if I earn between an average of $175 an hour, which is on the low end, do the math. I’ve already invested over $200,000 in other opportunity costs (because if I was not writing the book, I could generating other income) even before hard expenses. Expenses to promote the book can run another $50,000 for PR, web costs, bookmarks, blah, blah, blah.
Lesson #4-Writing a book takes a strong emotional skin.
Can you say rejection, rejection, rejection and then two scoops of criticism on top of that? Welcome to publishing. Seth Godin was rejected over 900 times, Adrianna Huffington at least 36, even Alex Haley The Roots author wrote every day for 8 years before finding success. And then sometimes when even great work is published, grumpy, mean people will publicly criticize your work too. And when your writing and researching at least 50 people will never return your calls. So if writing is a goal, put your big girl or boy pants on.
Lesson #5-Writing a book is a wonderfully rewarding experience.
Like MC Hammer said so well, “Can’t touch this.” Book writing is a mirific journey. It’s scary, ludic, and exuberating. You’ll learn stuff about you and other people. You’ll meet many grateful fans that will beg for your autograph and a handful of jerks that will try to rattle your soul. In the end, it is all worth it. The prize is indescribable.
Here are some excellent resources too.
The Creative Penn is an excellent blog filled with book writing and marketing tips
Chris Brogan writes a solid blog packed with insight. He recently wrote several great posts on his book writing experience.
Read. Write and have fun!