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author

Who owns that voice in my head?

I received my first publisher rejection notice this week from the nicest man in the world. My book topic is too specific for the portfolio, however, the proposal was promising and I received some great new contacts to explore. Of all the rejections I may receive, this one will be the best.

My “look on the bright side” perspective is opposite  to how I interpreted not getting a call back from a friend of a friend who works at a publishing house. As the weeks slipped by, I slid from “she is busy” to “she isn’t interested” to “she hates me.” I was aghast when I noticed last night that my email had bounced back and not been delivered. Why did the voice in my head go to the dark side? Why did it move me to the darkest part of the dark side? Why didn’t I check my delivery failure folder? Who owns that negative voice in my head?


I own that voice in my head and am accountable for my perspectives, emotions, and actions. Negativity drains your energy and slows you down. It nudges you off course and blocks your creativity.  I am putting the following mechanisms  in place so this doesn’t happen again.

  • Check my delivery failure folder to make sure my email was received
  • Use more than one method of contact (email, phone, LinkedIn, etc.)
  • Communicate when and how I will make contact again (“I will follow up/call you next week…”)
  • Record each communication and follow up date on my calendar
  • Increase the number of contacts to gain momentum and lessen the impact of each one
  • Assume positive intent
The last one is the most powerful and attacks the negative voice at it’s core. It’s an ongoing battle.
Phil

Change With Confidence

Here is a short video about Change With Confidence.

And here is my book proposal for publishers.

Change With Confidence Book Proposal Summary

For more details on this book proposal or to request sample chapters, please send a note to phil.buckley01@gmail.com.

Phil

If a picture is worth a 1,000 words, what about a video?

It makes sense that a consumer needs to be interested in a product before buying it. No interest, no sale. My challenge is to inspire interest in publishers to review my book proposal. No interest, no review, no sale.  

One barrier to interest is the commitment of time to read it before knowing whether or not it is worth reading. To overcome this challenge, I am creating a short video to introduce my book,  describe what it contains, and outline the benefits of reading it. 

Fortunately, Mel, my good friend and colleague,  is an excellent video director and editor. We spent Thursday morning filming (twenty-nine takes!) and selecting footage. Before shooting, the agenda was:

  • What is my book about?
  • Why buy my book (benefits)?
  • What are my credentials?
  • How is it unique?
  • What is the audience?
  • Call to action: read my book proposal

After many takes, the agenda was reduced to:

  • What is my book about?
  • What are my credentials?
  • Why buy my book (benefits)?

The more I talked on camera the less clear my message became. I wanted to explain my points in detail, which was counter to my objective. To be interesting, a good teaser video needs to be short, simple, and clear.

The footage is now in Mel’s capable hands to edit and add section titles. I know she will make it look as good as it can be. The test will be how many publishers double-click on my proposal. The objective is always the bottom line.

Phil

The Second Time Around

The First Time Around

On Sunday, I will be running in the GoodLife Fitness Toronto Marathontwenty-nine weeks since I ran my first marathon on October 16th.  My goal is to run a 4 hour and 10 minute race, which is 19 minutes and 26 seconds faster than my first one when I ran injured. I adjusted my training program based on the lessons from my first marathon. Here’s how I did:

One of my favourite quote is from Muhammad Ali who said, “The fight is won or lost far away from the witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.” I am confident that my training has prepared me but anything can happen on the day. That’s what makes it so exciting! Phil

My last week of a 29 week, 831 mile training program

Advice From the Big Chair

The empty ‘Big Chair’

On Wednesday, my friend Mel and I attended a “meet the author” session with Wayne Johnston, a celebrated Canadian writer. He is one of my favourites and I intended to ask him for advice on approaching publishers, my next mountain to climb.

Everything was going well: I confirm the session, my camera was charged, and we arrived twenty minutes early. As we were waiting in our second row seats (we chose not to run when the doors opened), I decided to buy a copy of “The Custodian of Paradise” for Wayne to sign. I also was going to ask him to include his favourite motivational saying, something I had asked Mark Tewkesbury, gold medal swimmer from the 1992 Summer Olympic Games, when he was a mystery guest at a business conference. He wrote, “Why not me?” It didn’t really make sense until I started writing my book. 

Mel at the book seller’s table

At the start time, an empathetic co-ordinator informed us that Wayne had not yet arrived and they were trying to locate him. Every ten minutes she updated us on their efforts to find him until forty minutes had passed when she said they still could not find Wayne and  she would try to reschedule him for the fall season (she did a great job). 

My new paperweight

All was not lost: I had a great time with Mel and we discussed a few open items about my book. You can find advice and inspiration in many places and often the best guidance is not planned.

Phil
                                                                                   

Did I tell you about the time I caught the Dali Lama as he stumbled on a plane?

I realized last week that the book I set out to write is not exactly going to be the book I will complete. And thank goodness for that. My first draft was focused on getting the content right and organizing it in a way that readers could easily navigate. I was determined to capture every lesson learned and successful approach tried so whatever a change leader could face would be addressed. 

My editor, Ken, says there’s the book you intend to write and the book that it could be. The book I had written was technically sound but wasn’t very interesting to read. Why couldn’t my book do both? My first step is to include amusing stories that happened while being on change assignments. The ones I love to tell and people enjoy. Change is about people and not including the lighter side of being on change projects is a miss. Friends have suggested this from day-one, and so has Ken, but not until now have I understood the importance of doing so. 

I see these stories (and pictures) being displayed in sidebar boxes. Not too many; just enough to make it interesting. I am excited about the possibilities. I may even be writing a book I would be interested in reading. So, did I tell you about the time I caught the Dali Lama as he stumbled on a plane? 

Phil

Diegogarcity – I’ve got it and I want to keep it!

Have you ever been exposed to something new, say a word or a product, and then you see it everywhere? You buy a car and then see the same model on the road. “I didn’t know they were so popular,” you might say.

This is called ‘diegogarcity,’ which sounds more like a destination than an affliction. I have been experiencing diegogarcity since I started researching book proposal writing. Books are everywhere – no kidding – and the publishing industry is extremely prominent, too. It seems that every newspaper, magazine or T.V. news program is covering some aspect of this business. 

Diegogarcity isn’t always positive. The publishing industry is going through hyper-change and the printed book is being challenged by cheaper media alternatives, industry consolidation, and shrinking distribution channels. This wave of discouraging news can dampen spirits. It can also awaken the warrior within.

Knowledge is power and the more I learn about this fascinating industry, the better I am positioned to be a part of it. Perhaps I should start thinking more about victory.

Phil

Like a Light Bulb

The weeks that fly by are also the ones that spark the most vibrant memories. I had one of those last week. I was driving hard against an aggressive deadline, but falling behind my plan. There are two options when this happens: cut corners or cut sleep. I chose the latter. I wouldn’t have felt right handing over my draft without cleaning up  my sections. It’s like leaving home with coffee stains on your shirt – it’s something you just don’t do.

Seeing the print out of my manuscript for the first time was emotional. Flipping through the 252 double-spaced pages felt like I was holding a real book. I could sense the day when this will be true. The owners of our local UPS Store were friendly and supportive. They even gladly took my picture in their store.

The highlight of my week, however, was meeting my editor, Ken. We spoke for over two hours about my book. He observed that I talked about what I wanted my book to be. Ken wisely pointed out that he might be able to help me discover what it could be. What a riveting conversation we had. I was beaming as I shared a few of my stories and he shared a few of his views on book-making. I am excited by our partnership and look  forward to reading his notes in January.

But now it’s the holidays, a time for family and friends. It’s also time to catch up on my reading. It will be good to focus on what others have to say.

Phil

On Assignment: Chapters Bookstore, December 5, 2011

As I make changes to my book’s content and structure, I am starting to think about its layout. This element of publishing is another important one. It can either make or break a book’s accessibility. This is especially true for the time-starved reader who needs advice fast.  The more I can facilitate quick access to relevant information, the better. 

Charlie, my accomplice

A couple of my reviewers suggested I go to a bookstore to see how other books in my genre are formatted, so I went on assignment. I flipped through books in the business and self-help sections. I felt like Goldilocks before she tried the third bed: some were too academic, some were too playful, and none were ‘just right.’

Traditional layouts included blocks of text that were hard to scan – they looked like work. Highly illustrated books were fun but difficult to navigate. What struck me was that a book was either easy or hard to navigate – there was no middle ground.

Phil, looking inconspicuous 

Here are guidelines that will help me select an effective layout:

Titles need to stand out – they are the key navigation markers
White space is good – the less on a page the easier it is to navigate
Elements need to balance – lopsided pages look wrong
Icons are effective signposts – too many are confusing and gimmicky
Text boxes prioritize content if used sparingly –  too many are confusing 
Different fonts and text sizes communicate order – too many are confusing
If pages aren’t inviting and easy to digest,  they need to be simplified

Charlie’s reward
…not in my genre

Now, I find myself assessing the layout of every book I pick up: Where is my eye directed to? Is there a logical order to the page? Is it easy to navigate? The biggest question, however, is ‘Do I want to keep on reading?’

Phil 

An Author by Any Other Name is Half as Sweet

Last week, I attended a ‘Change Management Roundtable’ session hosted by the Strategic Leadership Forum. It was the first industry function I had been to since starting to write. The registration form had asked for my title; for the first time in my career, I didn’t have one.  I thought about using my old title, but that didn’t seem right. I thought about leaving it blank but that also didn’t seem right. I settled on ‘Author’ because ‘Author-to-be,’ although accurate, really didn’t seem right.

I received my ID tag on arrival, which included my name and title. My initial feeling was embarrassment. I felt naked among a crowd of clothed business people. I hadn’t earned this title and already I was displaying it on my chest for the world to see. Things got worse. The administrator asked for my card so it could be entered into a draw.  I knew that someone might ask me for my card so I was confident in saying, “I don’t have a card at this time.” She kindly offered to make one for me. Then I thought, what happens if I win the draw and they broadcast that Phil Buckley, Author should come up and collect his prize? I felt naked again and hoped I didn’t win. 

As the evening wore on, I felt more comfortable with my newly adopted title. I also felt clothed again, which was a relief. I met an interesting man who showed a real interest in my book. He said he looked forward to reading it. I also had a great conversation with a woman who was encouraging about my journey. There are many amazing people in the world to cheer you on. Sometimes they are people you have just met.

Looking back at the experience I am reminded of a great quote about confidence by Adlai Stevenson:  “It is hard to lead a cavalry charge if you think you
look funny on a horse.” So, here I am, Phil Buckley, Author, typing away with purpose and conviction. My name tag is in front of me on my desk, just in case I forget who I am.

Phil

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