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!
Guilty as charged. I was listening to Seth Godin, one of my favorite creative-brainys (that is a made up word), on 57 ways to get the world to spread your stuff and suddenly I needed to go to the little girls’ room. OMG, there were at least 40 minutes left in his Webinar on MarketingProfs, and even though I have a Pro MarketingProf membership (which is so worth it) and could have replayed it later, I was not willing to put this learning session on hold. I was engaged in every word he was saying.
How did that happen? How do you get people that glued to what you have to say?
Here’s my take on the Seth factor. He’s cool. He’s never boring. He challenges my thinking. He’s nice to listen to, compelling and calm all at the same time. He’s earned the very smart cat badge, a combination of status from credibility builders like his books, speeches and blogging and what others say the big media and fans around globe.
While he did share 57 ideas and some bonuses, here are my top four and what I going to do differently.
1) He does not have guest bloggers.
Why? Because it fuzzes it up. It is his brand promise to his readers.
As I’m evaluating the guest bloggers on Oddpodz,and I have been thinking about this for a while, he has an excellent point. Plus, guest posts are a lot of work. And unless they are highly read and driving traffic, which unfortunately my guest bloggers have not been, the ROI is just not there. So starting next week, the guest bloggers section will be laid to rest. The posts will be archived and remain on the site, but no new guest bloggers.
2) He blogs everyday.
That’s heavy. and scare the crap out of me to commit to that.
I said he challenged me. OK, then. I love to write. I do interesting stuff every single day. And even if I’m sick or staying in my cave, I think about really interesting things that I know others can benefit from. If I can’t pump out at least a paragraph a day, then shame on me.
3) He does not tweet.
That’s a side-line of the next takeaway for me. The actual big idea is: he consciously decides that he will not do everything, Tweeting is an activity like golf or collecting fish bones. He knows he does not have the bandwidth to do it well and right, so he’s not going there. I respect that.
I think all to often we put pressure on ourselves to do stuff that’s not really required or in our “do it freakin well zone”. For me this means not doing stuff that does not deliver happiness, money or peace in your soul. Personally, I like to tweet, it’s a good outlet for my inner soundbite, snarky side.
4) Try. Fail. Repeat.
That’s not a new one for me. But felt it was important for this list. Thank you Seth.
Love your thoughts on any of this.
Check out this Book review – “Tribes” by Seth Godin.
I have a pile of business books that I have been meaning to read, and I am now determined to finish them by the end of the year. I had a great excuse last week when my power went out. I ran my laptop until the battery died. When it did, I decided not to relocate to a place where I could power up and sat down to read instead.
I started with Seth Godin’s Tribes. It is a collection, I believe, of blog posts on leadership. If you are an entrepreneur, or if you work for a company and have the desire to champion a cause, this book will help ignite that fire. A few key takeaways for me were:
1. The definitions of a tribe and its dynamics. “A tribe is a group of people, connected to one another, connected to a leader and connected to an idea. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate. Tribes need leadership. Sometimes one person leads, sometimes more. You can’t have a tribe without a leader–and you can’t be a leader without a tribe.”
2. A tribe is formed when someone sees a group that is asking to be led. For example, “Fox News didn’t persuade millions of people to become conservative; they just assembled the tribe and led them where they were already headed.” Capitalize on a non-obvious moment/opportunity; get there first.
3. A manager is not a leader. A manager operates within the status quo of the “factory.” The leader sees an opportunity to do things differently (and better) and sees a group that is willing to move toward that change. The leader doesn’t wait to be asked to lead, he or she just does it.
4. The internet provides unprecedented opportunities for leaders and tribes to connect. One person with a YouTube.com account can impact the world in 24 hours with the right video. The power quotient has shifted. Just look at the power of blogging, anyone can broadcast their thoughts or ideas and lead or form a tribe.
5. Necessary ingredients for a tribe leader. Genuine passion and charisma – if you don’t have that, people will see through you and a tribe won’t follow. Authentic generosity – a true leader doesn’t need credit for his or her ideas, he or she is happy for them to be spread. The ability to use criticism to improve, curiosity, heresy (vs status quo), faith, remarkability, fearlessness, leadership/empowerment, passion and reinvention.
6. Recipe for starting a micromovement: a manifesto, connectablity and tracking progress. Making money can’t be the ultimate goal of the micromovement, that will guarantee its failure.
7. Persuasion: don’t start with opposition, seek the uncommitted passionates.
8. Elements of leadership: challenge status quo, create culture, be charismatic, communicate vision, connect.
9. Do not get stuck in the way things were or are, get busy turning things into what they could be.
10. Change isn’t made by asking permission. Change is made by asking for forgiveness later.
11. True leaders understand that change is not only omnipresent, but the key to success.
12. Great leaders listen to tribe members. However, truly great leaders can listen to the other opinion, still do what they had intended and retain loyal tribe followers. He used Ronald Regan as an example of a leader with this quality.
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