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The Journey of a First Time Author - How Book Publishing Works (Part 3 of 4)

Posted on June 22, 2021 at 12:40 AM

The Agent Responds (June 3, 2014)


I have checked my email inbox approximately 600 times in the 26 hours since I sent the proposal to Miles. Is my inbox working? Am I going to be crushed or elated when he does respond? Mercifully, the waiting game ended at 1:41pm today with his reply calling this "a very strong proposal" and asking for a conference call to go over feedback. The three of us find a time to conference call on Thursday afternoon. So I will go with "cautiously elated" instead of "crushed" for the next two days.

 

Monday is Going to Be A Big Day (June 5, 2014)

 

Mike and I just got off of a conference call with our literary agent (Miles). It had been a few months since we last chatted on the phone with him about the book. Miles started off with some nice comments such as "this is really quite good" and "reading this proposal, I would feel confident you know the book you are going to write." Nice to hear. Nice to hear.

 

Miles had a couple of tweaks for the title and asked us to add a "Market" section to the proposal. That basically points out that the intended target audience for the book are current managers and people aspiring to be managers and looking for things to learn to help them get there.

 

The biggest surprise for me was that the publisher who published Mike's first book has a right of first refusal on his next book, and that covers a coauthored book too. They get 60 days to make an offer before, although they probably won't take that long. I am viewing this as a pleasant surprise, as the publisher in question is a very well-regarded one. And because they published Mike's first book, we don't need to include a whole chapter as a writing sample. Nice to hear. Nice to hear.

 

We set a goal to make the final edits and send it in to that publisher on Monday. T minus 4 days until we get to a whole new step. This is feeling a lot more real now.

 

Final(?) Proposal in Agent's Hands (June 9, 2014)

 

Spent a few hours -- ok, all day -- today writing the missing 'Market and Competition' section of the proposal. Most of that time was spent browsing Amazon.com for all the books that touch on our leadership/team management topic. Turns out "browsing" is a synonym for "wandering like Charlie through a Willy Wonka factory of leadership/team management books." It is amazing how many people have been able to translate their thoughts into books. Having come this far, I have a new appreciation for all their efforts. Looking over all those titles doubles down on my thought that there is a market for helpful leadership books. It also makes me feel like we have a fresh approach that is more grounded in experience than theory. Blah, blah, blah. I send it to Mike to get his thoughts on my crackerjack Market and Competiion summary:. "Looks great... Send? You?ve got the honors sir"," I hit "Send" to Miles. If he likes our "Market and Competition" analysis summary, the whole proposal goes to the publisher. If he doesn't, we have some work to do. Stay tuned.

 

Agent Submits, Now I Wait (June 10, 2014)

 

Miles, the agent, replies to update to the proposal "Looks right ... will send to publisher today." Now, to quote the great Tom Petty, "The waiting is the hardest part..." The publisher has up to 60 days to reply with their right of first refusal. One thing that makes this different (harder? easier?) than the typical author submission is that I know that the right people will see this proposal. Between having a great agent and a great, proven co-author, it will get in the right hands. That is wonderful but has a downside. If it gets no interest, I won't have the excuse to tell myself that my work is great but just undiscovered. Maybe unappreciated, but not undiscovered. Weirdly makes me feel more exposed than if I were coming in cold as an aspiring first time author.

 

Publisher Responds (June 19, 2014)

 

After a week of waiting, we finally got a response from the publisher today: an editor wants to chat on the phone. I am taking that as a good sign, as they probably don't waste their time on the phone to let people know what a waste of time it was to read their proposal . We are scheduled for next Wednesday afternoon. Another week of waiting, but now I can at least feel the words of the great Lloyd Christmas(*) as wind in my sails: "So you're telling me there's a chance." (*) Christmas is one of two lead protagonists in the classic Greek tragedy "Dumb and Dumber".

 

Just Finished Writing... the Coauthorship Agreement (June 24, 2014)

 

Mike and I wanted to avoid any problems down the road by formalizing our coauthor partnership structure for this book. The easy part is we are completely on the same page that we are 50/50 equals and we have built a great working relationship on other things in the past. The only small difference that I vainly wanted was that my name would appear first in the author credit line. That was the easy part, but the devil is certainly in the details on things. There are a bunch of scenarios to plan for and agree to how we handle them up front. Some are nice to think about: What if the market begs us to write sequel after sequel? What if we sell a lot of training and speaking engagements based on the work? What if George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese and Frances Ford Coppola beg us to let them turn it into the next film blockbuster? I can already hear that deep movie preview voice introducing our film ... "In a world starving for a new 'leadership in the workplace' book...". I wonder if Brad Pitt is available to play me. Should I have them remove all the green M&Ms from my trailer? ...

 

OK, got carried away a bit there, but you get the picture. The wild part is thinking about some other scenarios that are not quite as fun to think about but smart to plan for. What if one of us can't hit our deadlines? What if one of us just goes AWOL? Very unlikely but worth covering. Good thing is that Mike had an agreement he had drafted by an attorney for a previous effort that we could use as a starting point. After my attorney reviews and we make some minor tweaks over several review cycles, we finally got it finalized. Today.

 

Now I am ready to start writing and editing prose aimed at real people, not attorneys. "Herein, we shall make all reasonable efforts to never use the word "Herein", in electronic or hard copy format, in The Work..." OK, now back to being nervously excited about our first live call with a potential publisher tomorrow afternoon.

 

Today's Call with a Publisher (June 25, 2014)

 

I just got off a conference call with a Senior Editor at the publisher we submitted the proposal to. In keeping with the Sideways movie theme, I will call her Maya. While nothing definitive came out of the call, it does sound like she is interested in pursuing it further. Maya started the conversation by saying she "greatly enjoyed" reading our proposal. Then she asked a bunch of questions about how we came up with it, how long it would take us to write, and how we would help push sales. Interestingly, she didn't have any big suggestions for changes. She did ask us how wedded we are to the working title and we went back and forth on that a bit. After about 40 minutes, Maya wound up the conversation with two things that I take as a nice sign. First, she said the proposal passed the "is the content worthy and is the message fresh?" test she uses to review proposals. (Nice to hear, nice to hear.) And second, she asked us to get her one additional piece of information ... by Friday. (Very nice to hear. Very nice to hear.) I really like the fact that she had a quick deadline, which suggests she has some specific next steps in mind. So all in all, my first conversation with a real live publisher has me smiling. We didn't leave with any definitive next steps or timing, but it seems like we just got over another hurdle. Stay tuned.

 

Can I Take 'Pocket Veto' for $100, Alex? (August 15, 2014)

 

The waiting game with the publisher ended on Wednesday. Emphasis on THE publisher. My agent Miles emailed me on Monday to say that the 60 day "right of first refusal" window for Publisher A ended at midnight. The weird part was that it didn't end with either an offer or a refusal ... it just ended. Despite such a good initial response from the buyer at the publisher, they didn't come through with an offer. Miles gave them a friendly reminder that the window was closing, but even that didn't elicit a reply. Miles said he has never seen this before and he has worked with them for a while. He has seen them make offers or give polite "thanks, but no thanks" but he has never seen them let a window go by without one of those replies. He was pretty perplexed. He suspected something must be going on there behind the scenes and our book proposal is caught in it.

 

Hmm... Well, at least I avoided a potential "it's not you, it's me" conversation with the publisher. So, to recap, it looks like my proposal was so bad it broke book publishing.

 

OK, enough feeling bad. You know how the saying goes - when one door closes ... or doesn't close ... or stays slightly ajar ... or disappears ... another door opens. More accurately, several other doors open. One reason Miles was so eager to talk was that he wants to pitch the book to the handful of other big publishers. Despite the pocket veto from Publisher A, he is still quite excited about our proposal. In fact, my co-author who published a book through Miles a couple of years ago told me that Miles seemed a lot more excited by our book proposal than his first one that did get published. That was nice to hear.

 

So we have a clear next step -- we shop our proposal around to the other handful of big publishers. Hopefully we get an offer, but at this point, I would be happy to at least get a ding ("no thanks" letter to let me know this is really happening. Because late August is exactly the worst time to shop a proposal, Miles said we wait until right after Labor Day, which is a great time. When I asked if we needed to rework the proposal in light of our first non-bite, Miles replied with a quick "no", which was a nice thing to hear to reaffirm that he still likes our chances. Stay tuned?

 

A New Nibble for 60,000 Words (September 10, 2014)

 

As promised, Miles sent out our 40 page book proposal to the other leading publishing houses a few days after Labor Day. We got our first new bite on Monday from another big, well-known publisher. They asked for our targeted word count and delivery day for a complete draft. Using our best guess from Mike's first book, we said 60,000 thousand words. (Do you remember when our high school assignments of 500 words seemed daunting?) We said end of January as our deadline to finish the draft, as we both have a lot going on between now and the end of the year and want to give ourselves some breathing room. It will be interesting to see if they come back with an offer. It would be another nice confirmation that there is potential here. It might also be a nice way to get our first publisher to come through with an offer. Stay tuned and wish us luck.

 

Hoping Three is my Lucky Number (September 11, 2014)

 

We just got interest from another big, household name, publisher. That now makes three. And three is my lucky number. The buyer at the publishing house wants to talk with us on the phone tomorrow. He told Miles that he plans to pitch it internally next week and just wanted to get to know us a bit before doing that. Interestingly enough, this same buyer made an offer for Mike's first book a few years ago, so hopefully that is a good sign. Stay tuned...

 

You Had Me at 'Singapore' (September 13, 2014)

 

I just got off our conference call with a senior editor at a very well-known publishing house. (If I recall correctly, I think their name is on a skyscraper in NYC.) The senior editor - I'll call him "Ford" - was a very nice guy who had worked with Mike and Miles before. Ford started the conversation by saying our proposal was "really well put together" and our "approach is really unique" and he is planning to present it to his Editorial Board next Wednesday. The Editorial Board is the group made up of the Publisher and Associate Publisher and representatives from Marketing, Sales, International, etc.. They are the governance body that can authorize him to make us an offer. He walked us through the process that it would go through after we finish the manuscript - he edits, copy editor edits, typesetting, then production. If we finish manuscript by end of January, it should hit bookshelves in October, which is a prime time for marketing new books. He said they would do a global launch through their operations in Singapore, London, Canada and Australia. He said foreign translations could work too if demand merits.

 

Wait a second... did he say Singapore?

 

OK, now I am totally getting ahead of myself and, when none of that actually happens, I am setting myself up for some serious disappointment. And some serious embarrasment as well, since I decided to share news real-time on this blog for some crazy reason. The only question I had for Ford was whether he liked our working title or not. His reply: "Ninety percent of the time, I ask the author for a new title before I take it to the Editorial Board. I think your title is strong and I'm keeping it as is."

 

Oh well, after we got off of the call, Miles let us know the other big publisher who expressed interest is pushing it up their management chain and we should hear something back from them next week as well. So this week ends with a big smile on my face. I hope I have a reason (or maybe even two reasons) to smile next Friday. If not, my smile might be upside down.

 

"I'm gonna write a book someday" (October 9, 2014)

 

I've been pretty quiet on this blog for the last few weeks. It wasn't because nothing was happening with my book proposal; it was actually quite the opposite.

 

Long story short - I just became a professional author today by signing a book deal - hopefully my first book deal.

 

The long story of what happened over the last few weeks to get to today was pretty interesting though, so here goes. I think my last posting was that another very big publishing house was about to make us an offer for the book.

 

The good news was that they did. The editorial guy there (I think I pseudo-named him "Ford' in my last post) successfully pitched it to his editorial board.

 

The bad news was that the darn MBAs then got involved. "Finance is telling me I need to add in a buyback for them to sign off," Ford emailed us, "could you guys do (insert number here)?" What the heck is a buyback I thought? Wasn't there a movie called Buyback Mountain? Or maybe it was the Buyback of Notre Dame. Is that what that Chili's commercial about its ribs says ? "I want my buyback, buyback, buyback, buyback? I want my buyback, buyback, buyback, buyback?"

 

Well, the definition "buyback" is more akin to a horror movie than delicious barbeque. It basically means the author agrees to buy a set number of the book copies and sell them himself. If the author doesn't sell them, he ends up with his advance and royalties kaput and his basement looking like the Texas School Book Depository. In short, it shifts part of the financial risk that publishers traditionally take in signing a new author and paying him an advance as well as incurring all the editorial, printing, and marketing costs it takes to get books published. Publishers typically say their costs are in the six figures to get a book into stores, so I get why they would want to offload any of that risk they could. (I have one of those darn MBAs myself, after all.)

 

"Don't do it," Miles (our agent) told us on the conference call we set up that day to discuss this turn of events. "That's a bad road to go down. I steer all my clients away from those. It is my job as an agent to convince the publisher to take all the risk and not push any on the authors. Authors work in Word, not Excel."

 

Just then I once again loved having a great literary agent. I'm not exactly sure how it works, but since Miles gets a cut of whatever revenue we get, it may have been in his self-interest to have us do the deal.

 

We stitched together a brilliant Plan B that was inspired by the strategic mind game that goes on in high school cafeterias every homecoming season. (Run on sentence to follow - imagine the voice of a teenage girl reading it.) We would call back the first publisher who almost asked us to the dance but didn't come through and tell them that we now had another publisher on hold on the other line who is asking us if we are free that night. Oh, snap!

 

The wild part is that it worked. The editorial buyer at the first big publishing house (I named her Maya in the earlier post) asked for another call with us. I have to admit feeling pretty pleased with myself as I got on the conference call with Maya and Mike (my co-author) the next day.

 

After a bunch of pleasantries to reconnect since our last call with her months ago we got down to business. "Yes, we still like your book and are still interested in publishing your book, but we are going to need a buyback." Maya said.

 

"*$%@!" Yada, yada, yada ...

 

Miles sent our proposal on to a smaller publisher he thought highly of from previous dealings and they came back to us in two days with a written offer. No buyback, fair advance and royalty rates. Actually, I just wanted to use the Seinfeld 'yada' reference.

 

I researched the new publishing house when Miles mentioned them. I really liked what I saw. Lots of interesting titles and authors in their catalog. The only real difference is that they only publish in paperback form. The other publishers were going to print us in hard cover ("cloth" is the fancy term they use for that, paperbacks are called "trade";).

 

Hardcover is nice and all, but it does jack the retail price of the book up quite a bit. I actually like the idea of ours being more in the $15-ish price range than the $30-ish the other companies were going to price it at. After all, I did learn something about the relationship between demand and price when I got my own darn MBA. I want this one to sell more like beer at a ballgame than fine wine at a playhouse intermission. (That analogy looks a lot less clear now that I see it in words - I just mean I want to sell a ton of books.)

 

All right, wrap this up VP. Got to save some writing for the 50,000 words you are now on deadline to produce. Stay tuned for a whole new phase of this journey!

 

Maybe You Can Judge a Book By Its Cover (October 18, 2014)

 

The book just got a lot more real in the last few days as the publisher came up with a couple of designs for the book. I posted both options on my Facebook page asking people which one they liked better. The response was great - about 50 votes and comments from across the USA and from as far away as Australia and New Zealand. It was a clear vote of about 2 to 1 for this design. We had them do some tweaks to make the font a bit less comic sans looking. I like this design for a lot of reasons. The wood box and shadowing gives it depth and a 3D quality. It also focuses people to read the small print subtitle. I like the ironic twist it adds too by having the main title "Lead Inside the Box" sit outside the box. Just like how our main title is a twist on the "think outside the box" common expression, having the title outside the box is a nice twist.

 

I Bought A Book I Haven't Even Written (October 29, 2014)

 

I'm driving around running some errands yesterday when my cell phone rings. I see it is Mike on the screen, but I am driving so I keep my eyes on the road and let him go to voicemail. He does.

 

Then he calls right again. Hmm. This could be interesting. I wait until I park and call him back instead of checking voicemail.

 

"Hey. Amazon just posted our book for pre-order sale," Mike jumped right in. "You gotta do some stuff pronto."

 

One thing I am very much looking forward to doing as a first time author is to wander into a brick and mortar Barnes and Noble store and finding my book on the shelf. Since that won't happen until the book is actually done, that is a summer 2015 thing.

 

What I didn't think about is that online bookstores can ... and apparently do ... post the book for pre-orders as soon as they get the catalog of upcoming book releases from publishers. Apparently that quick turnaround homework that the publisher gave us right after we signed was to do the short description of the book. I really didn't think that the words I jotted down on my Mac would be up on Amazon a week or two later. This thing just got even more real.

 

"They have an author bio page up for you but it is blank," Mike continued. "You need to post a bio and picture asap. You also need to get set up as an Amazon affiliate so you get links to that page that have a referral code embedded so you get a commission for any sales that come from your links to the book. It actually ends up being a nice little income stream, because if someone buys a copy of your book from your link and then they buy a big ticket item in that same session, you get a commission for all of it."

 

He also told me that pre-order sales are especially important because they all roll up to count as your first week's sales, which is what can get you on bestseller lists. So if you are interested in my book, may I suggest a pre-order and maybe some jewelry to go along with it?

 

Bookwriting: 95% Authorship, 5% OtherShip (October 29, 2014)

 

Yesterday's surprise posting of our book on a large internet retailer (I will henceforth refer to as Rubicon.com) was fun. My scurry to learn how to become a Rubicon affiliate to promote the book was kind of a fun challenge, albeit a total urgent distraction. It's not like I am going to get rich off of Rubicon's commision rates for referrals, but I really look forward to getting the daily data back on how many sales my book is getting.

 

So imagine my surprise when I get an email tonight from Rubicon telling me my application to become an affiliate had been denied but giving no reason. They were nice enough to include a link to their Affiliate Operating Agreement for my reference. I never never never click on links from emails I am not expecting. But I was so surprised, I did.

 

Good news is that it did take me to the Rubicon Affilate Operating Agreement at a legitimate Rubicon URL. But then I realized I broke my rule of never clicking on a URL from an unexpected email. I went back to the email and, being the newly minted professional writer that I am, noticed that it said "weve" when they meant "we've" and "youll" when they meant "you'll". Seemed kind of phishy for me for a multi-billion dollar corporation to not be 100% buttoned up in their English usage. (As I write this, I am pretty sure I should have put the period inside the parentheses mark and should have used 'percent' instead of '%', but Strunk and White don't rule me!)

 

I freaked out a bit. Should I change every password on every financial site I have on every computer, alive and completely dead, in my house right now? Should I put this one in the microwave? Should I move to Paraguay and change my name?

 

I collected my thoughts and did the right thing when you feel like you might have just exposed yourself to a high tech attack ... get very low tech. I looked up Rubicon's phone number for their Affilate program and called them. I was surprised to get throught to a human pretty quickly. (I'll call him Julius, as I completely forgot his name already). I asked Julius if Rubicon really sent that email. He read it back to me and said it was from them, so I pulled my laptop out of the microwave and exhaled. Getting turned down to be a Rubicon affiliate is a much better problem to deal with than figuring out what to pack for a new life in Paraguay.

 

I'm on that and I like my chances to get that fixed, since I used to manage affiliate marketing for a big company myself way back in the day when it was kind of cool. My larger point in telling this story is to give an example of why I titled this blog entry the way I did. If you want to be an author, there is a LOT more stuff outside of actually writing the great American novel/leadership book/cookbook that you have to do. You are crossing a bright line between being a private person to a public figure. (What was the name of the river Julius Caeser famously decided to cross?) I have had to think about things in the last few weeks that I never even knew existed (e.g., hacker insurance, speaker bureaus). I haven't found any of it to be particularly impossible, but it is surprising... and it is work. Tonight's story was just one small example of many sure to come.

 

Getting Reviews for an Unwritten Book (November 19, 2014)

 

A big part of an author's job is to promote their book to boost sales. One way to do that is to get testimonials, or reviews of the book, by people with impressive names or titles that will make other people intrigued enough to buy it.

 

So that is what I am doing now. I am going through my network of LinkedIn and Facebook connections and getting a list of people who would be good names and titles to have on the book cover, the website, etc.. It is actually a fun excuse to go through my networks to see what people are up to. That said, I hate asking friends for favors, so I need to get a bit better with that.

 

Mike is gathering testimonials as well and he is much better at it than me. In fact, for his first book, he took a shot in the dark and asked Duke's legendary basketball coach, Mike Krzyzewski for a review. It wasn't totally a shot in the dark, as Mike was a fellow West Point grad and Duke professor, but I was still impressed that Coach K responded quite quickly with a well-thought out review of his outline. I better get on it.

 

"Writers write." (December 19, 2014)

 

I was listening to a sports talkshow podcast a few months ago and a caller identified himself as an aspiring writer. The show host, ESPN's Matthew Berry, asked the caller if he had a website where he could check out his work while they chatted on the phone. Berry, who is a prolific writer as well as on-air personality, strikes me as a great example of a professional writer. He cranks out words by the metric ton in his regular columns and he has a book out as well. He is a writer's writer. So when Berry saw that the caller's website had very little content and had not been updated in weeks he challenged the guy. Not in a mean way, but more in a constructive way to help motivate the guy. Despite Berry's typical verbose style, he summed up his advice to this aspiring writer in just two words: "Writers write."

 

With my deadline to get the finished manuscript to the publisher now just 43 days away, I get how profound that simple piece of advice was. Writing is hard work. Very hard work. I can feel my brain burning calories when I do it. It is easy to find excuses to not start. "Gotta just do this one thing before I sit down and start..." After I start writing, it is very easy to get distracted, with the InterWebsBook a seductive siren that never stops and is just a click away. I note the irony that the computers that make writing so much easier than typewriters of old are a double-edged sword that way.

 

The good news is that I think I have found a good system to keep the word pump that is "my finger bones connected to my brain bones" going. I found the schedule that works best for me. (I have a someone who has helped me figure that out, but I will save the story about my writing muse/coach/good siren later.) Workout first thing in morning and then I can focus on writing the whole day without worrying about that. Get started and make a nice dent before lunch. Go out for lunch out and then set up office and write in the local coffee shop. Set a goal of at least 1000 new words before I can call it a day. Make an entry on a spreadsheet that lists new words per day and how many left to the requirement in the publishing contract.

 

So, as of this morning, we are at just about 20,000 words, with 30,000 to go. If I remember my arithmetic, we are nearing the halfway point. With two of us writing away, that makes 15,000 words each over the next 43 days. I better get going...

 

The Mechanics of Writing a Book (January 26, 2015)

 

It's been a while since I posted. Not because I have been in a writing drought. Quite the opposite.

 

In the movies, an author sits down in front of a typewriter, stares at a blank sheet for a while, and then starts to type. A blink later, there are hundreds of typed pages in a nice bundle on the desk representing the next great novel.

 

Well, the real world is not quite like that ... at least for me and for writing a business book. Mike and I (OK, mostly Mike) have set up quite an elaborate system to make sure we finish our 50,000+ word manuscript by our February 1, 2015 deadline.

 

First, we split up our 40 page proposal into four sections of the book. The proposal had to include a page or two describing each chapter, so we had a good start for the full book. We decided that I would be responsible for doing the first draft of the middle of the book, sections 2 and 3 and Mike would lead on sections 1 and 4. We called it our sandwich approach, with me doing the "meat" in the middle and Mike doing the bread on top and bottom. I wanted to do the meat, as it was the most important part. It was also going to be the easier part too, as it was quite well spelled out in the outline. Mike got the hardest part, which was the end piece of describing how to apply the framework of the book at work.

 

We use Dropbox to store all of our files so we can both work on them. We "check out" a file when we are working on it by deleting it from Dropbox. This makes sure we are not both working on the same file at the same time, which causes synching nightmares.

 

We (ok, Mike) also created an Excel based tracker to show where we stand versus the 50,000 word minimum we promised to deliver to thepublisher in the draft. That turned out to be a great motivator, as I set a goal of at least 1000 words a day. My days became either good days (1000+ words written) or bad days (less than 1000 words written). It is great to have such a clear, black and white goal for work.

 

After we are done adding to a file, we check it back into Dropbox and we review each other's work in Word using the review feature. That way, we can make changes that only get incorporated when the other person accepts the changes.

 

We set a goal of having a complete first draft by January 19 and spending the last two weeks just editing and improving on it. So far so good. Stay tuned.

 

Have Laptop, Have Office (January 27, 2015)

 

One of the best things about being a writer is the ability to pack up and write anywhere. If you have a laptop and a power outlet, you can basically write anywhere. WiFi is an added bonus, to be able to save stuff to the cloud as backup and to collaborate with a co-author.

 

I have found a rhythm with several different options. At home, I go back to my office and close the doors so my dogs don't distract me. When I want a change, I head to the local coffee shop and grab one of the comfy chairs in the window and type away. The window is kind of a fishbowl where I can see everyone who goes by and everyone can see me. It is a nice way to bump into neighbors I haven't seen in a while.

 

My favorite office, and my most productive one, is pictured above. It is in Sweden, and through a combination of cheap airfares and great people to visit, I have spent a few weeks there writing. I have a feeling I may have to go back there to start my next book. Wait... NEXT book! What next book? Let's get this one all done first.

 

My First Royalty Check (January 29, 2015)

 

I got my first installment on my royalty advance for the book today. This thing continues to feel more realy. I guess I can officially call myself a professional writer now that I have gotten paid. Interestingly, the check is paid by my agent and not the publisher. The publisher pays him and then he takes his commission, splits the rest between Mike and me and sends it to us.

 

Manuscript Off to Publisher? Now What (January 30, 2015)

 

One year ago, I started jotting down an idea I had that I thought could make an interesting blog series, an article, or maybe even a book.

 

Today I just mailed in a finished 170 page, 52,221 word book manuscript to my publisher.

 

How does that make me feel, you may ask. In a weird way, I feel like I can understand a bit of what mothers feel when they deliver a baby. I am thrilled to have seen my idea come all the way to fruition in a manuscript. I am pretty darn pleased with how it came out too. At the same time, I am going to miss the experience of working on the manuscript. For the last 9+ months, this book has been at the top of my mind every morning. Going through the ups and downs of negotiating with potential publishers. Parking at my local coffee shop every day to write. Talking through the latest thoughts and edits with my co-author Mike as we both did the hard work of turning an outline into a book. Answering the "how's the book coming along" questions from friends and family.

 

Through it all, I figured something out ... I really love writing. Or, more accurately said, I love being a writer. The journey is its own reward in many ways. So Monday, I expect the post-manuscriptum depression to set in. Do I really need to haul myself to my cozy corner of the coffee shop that I have called my office for the last months? What do I do when I get another idea for a tweak or addition to the content that I want to put in the manuscript.

 

Obviously, the hard work is far from over between now and the scheduled July release date, but it has taken a real turn. The words in the publisher's submission kit kind of captures it well - "Important: your submitted manuscript is considered final. All changes after that point are made at the behest of your editor or not at all. Unless we request otherwise, we can't accept revised portions of a manuscript once it has been submitted; this prevents duplicated efforts and wasted time (both yours and ours). Multiple revisions and rewrites after submission create a space for error and confusion. Essentially, once you submit your manuscript the baton has been passed. We realize you will likely be revising and polishing right up until your submission due date, so make the most of that time!"

 

So, this weekend I celebrate getting the manuscript in a day ahead of deadline. Let's see what Monday brings...

 

Categories: Publishing a Book, Communication Skills, People Leadership