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writing process

The Eagle Has Landed!

We did it! Last Tuesday, I met with my executive editor and editorial assistant to sign a global rights contract with Wiley for Change with Confidence. From their website: “Wiley has evolved into one of the world’s more respected publishing and information services companies. We strongly believe in the enduring value of collaborative relationships, built in a solid foundation of trust and integrity.” Perfect fit.


My book with be under the Jossey-Bass imprint. 
“Jossey-Bass publishes books, periodicals, and other media to inform and inspire those interested in developing themselves, their organizations and their communities.” Another perfect fit!


Change with Confidence will be available worldwide in 6 x 9 trim size hardcover (and e-book) in March, 2013. I couldn’t be more thrilled!

My new team members were very gracious and understanding about my excitement. I laughed when my executive editor said that in her twenty-seven year career, I was the first author to request a picture of the contract signing. Hilarious!

As I left the office, I was overwhelmed by feelings of gratitude for everyone who has helped me along the way, including those who have read this blog (you!). The intensity of appreciation is hard to capture in words. Perhaps it is best just to say “Thank-you from the bottom of my heart.”

A new phase of my journey has kicked-off and I have a lot to do. Firstly, I need to read my manuscript one last time before I hand it over to the Wiley team on Monday. There are a few insights I have learned during my recent consulting assignments that I am keen to share with my readers.  The heat is on!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Phil

So, what are you going to do to sell your book?

P.T. Barnum said, “A terrible thing happens when you don’t promote yourself…nothing.” I’m sure this is true for authors so I jumped into writing my Promotion Plan with vigour. The goal is to state what I will do to sell my book (with vigour). There are many articles about how the author (not publisher) must drive awareness and sales. If not, then something terrible happens. 


Passion, confidence, and commitment are three themes I have  woven into my promotion plan. It has six elements:



Book Distribution to Audience Influencer: Sending copies to members of my three target audiences: leaders working on big changes (my primary target), post-secondary teachers and students, and Kraft and Cadbury employees and supporters.


Social Media Notifications:Communication about my book to my networks and business associations.


Magazines  and Blogs: Reviews, interviews, and serializing content in magazines and blogs.


Keynote Speaking Engagements: Presentations at conferences, association meetings, and schools.


Book Web Site: A dedicated site including this blog, author Q&A, chapter summaries and support materials.


Award Submissions: Participation in media and association award programs.

Please let me know if I missed any promotion opportunities. I would appreciate your thoughts.


I just bought Michale Hyatt’s Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World to fortify my plan. He is offering $350 of bonus resources if you buy a copy by the end of today. Now that’s a promotion!


Phil

101 Reasons to Publish My Book!


I have enjoyed switching gears to the book proposal writing phase. It’s familiar territory (how many proposals have we written in our careers?) and doing research again is fun. I even went to a public library and signed out two books on winning proposals! 

Writing a proposal is like making a cake: each ingredient must be added in the right amount and in the right order for it to create something special. Experimentation is risky. 



Most advice contains the same sections and a lot of the same tips:



  • Overview – What is your premise and how does it satisfy a need?
  • Markets – Who will buy your book?
  • Competition – What books are similar to yours and why is yours different?
  • Author – Why are you the best author for this book?
  • Promotion –  What can you do to help sell your book?
  • Table of Contents
  • Sample Chapters
In the past, I would create a proposal framework and then fill it the sections sequentially, building the narrative. This time,  I dove into writing a draft as I was researching. This was a mistake because it missed the big picture and was less organized. After a day of “free-wheeling” I went back to a more structured and effective approach.


One hundred and one reasons for becoming my publisher is a stretch, especially since my goal is to convince one that my book will sell enough copies to make a profit. All other reasons are icing on the cake. 

Phil

Stories Part 2: Too much, too little, or just right?

Each of the one hundred case studies I wrote was difficult to write. You would think that the ones I personally experienced would have be easier than the ones I researched, but that wasn’t the case. I tried different approaches to make the process easier  from creating a detailed outline to writing quick drafts  but they all required many versions. They were all hard. 


“Just the facts ma’am.”

Initially, I omitted the organizations’ names, which made the stories impersonal, nebulous, and appear censored. It took months and expert feedback to realize that context is critical to learning, especially when presenting how organizations have managed change. 


Also, I struggled with how the reader might view these stories, seeing them as overall critiques of the companies instead of the actions that were taken at a point in time. I decided to make this distinction in my introduction.


Another challenge was finding the “sweet spot” between too much and not enough detail. Too much information bogs down the story and obscures its purpose, and too little makes the story unclear and dull. 


A Writer’s Nightmare

Expert editing has been invaluable to finding the right balance. Questions such as, “Does it really matter that the company has 5,327 employees?” and “So, who won the court case?” have helped me shape the final versions. I expect to revisit my decisions until the ink on my first edition is dry: Is it too much, too little or just right?


Phil

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