Why I Read It
My reasons may be different from yours. Even if you have no interest in writing a book, this is one I would still recommend for your business book library. Skip ahead to "What I Learned" and ask yourself how you could apply the lesson to your business, or life to see why.
This was the first Guy Kawasaki and/or Shawn Welch book I've read. It was on my reading list when I first heard of it, but it was a nudge from a colleague that put it to the top of my list.
I read it because I want to write a book. I have wanted to since I was 11. Writing has always been therapy for me, it helps me to think and communicate better. The more I write, the happier I am. I also love to teach, and I get excited when I can impart something to someone else and it helps them. I have had many great teachers in my life, and anyone I have learned something from I try to pass on to others. It helped me, maybe it will help them too.
Wanting to do something and actually doing it are two different things. I've had the thought in my head for a while and talked to several people smarter than me about it. I heard a lot reasons to do it and not do it. I figured I just need to commit to it publicly and by telling others I would feel accountable and that would motivate me.
Since then, I've felt like a deer in the headlights. Rhonda's nudge was perfect timing.
What It's About
APE= Authors, Publishers, Entrepreneurs: How to self publish a book. The subtitle is what I expected to get, and have several Kindle highlights and notes to myself (and if I can figure out how to share a link that lists them all, I will let you know. If anyone knows, please comment and help me out!?) The authors fulfilled their promise, and the majority of the book is the technical side of the actual things you need to do other than write- it's all there. (Thanks guys!)
- steps in the writing process
- format a manuscript
- do your own marketing
- find a designer
- manage the technical side of publishing for sites like Amazon
- figure out your pricing
Had the book only done that, I probably would have put it on the Kindle shelf for reference later and it wouldn't have made an impact that compelled made me to want to share it with you (ahead of the dozen blog posts half-finished in my drafts.)
Lucky for you, and me- APE exceeded my expectations.
What I Learned
Just before his book "Agency Blueprint" came out, I talked briefly with Paul Roetzer somewhere in the HubSpot halls, and asked him why he decided to write the book. When he said that it wasn't to make money, but that he just felt that others could benefit from what he learned in starting his own inbound agency, I kinda laughed in his face. After I apologized, I explained: "Forgive me, but I've talked to a lot of authors about their 'why'- simply because I feel like I want to, but all the reasons why I have heard are about lead generation, or thought-leadership, or booking speaking engagements. That hasn't been reason enough to motivate me to actually seriously do it. You are the first one I have spoken to that I heard say that."
Last year, I paid a visit to Paul at his booth at Inbound 2012. The book had come out, the training classes commenced. I asked him, "Are you glad you did it? Would you do it again? What's next?" (His answer was yes by the way, check out the Marketing Agency Insider to see what he is doing next.)
Whenever you start any kind adventure, there are good reasons and bad reasons to do it. My favorite questions to ask others and myself center around 'why'. Despite committing publicly to writing a book, I still wasn't motivated. Paul had his reason why, I needed to figure out what mine were. It wasn't something anyone else could tell me. Here is where APE exceeded my expectations and helped me to figure out my why. If you are thinking about writing a book, or start a business, or change your current business-for any reason, read APE. Find out what your good reason is, or don't bother. It's a chore you will not want to take on.
My Good Reasons to Write a Book
1. Enrich lives. I firmly believe that better businesses provides a better quality of life for people. My hope is to find those businesses and help them grow- because they serve an important purpose that is bigger than what their bottom line is. The 98% demand and deserve it.
- Impart knowledge- how can entrepreneurs build scalable businesses that build and manage successful customer relationships?
- Understanding- help entrepreneurs understand their true value to their customers and in turn, understand and treat their customers better. (because I believe this is the key to developing those brand advocates that social media experts dream about. This is the missing factor for business growth.)
- Laughter- One of my favorite lessons from one of my favorite teachers is "If you are not having fun, you are doing it wrong." When people have fun, they want to do it more. I've been known as somewhat of a metaphor junkie, and the one metaphor everyone can understand is dating. I want to help people have more fun.
2. Intellectual Challenge. I live for a challenge, it's how this all started. Once I have mastered something to the best of my ability, I need to find the next thing or find a way to make something even better. Status quo is boring, I enjoy pushing the edge. It is also how I prove to myself that I know my stuff. Writing a book is something that I hope becomes a tool for others, but it is also a tool for me to master my craft.
3. Further a Cause. According to APE, there are 2 ways to further a cause. Either by changing a bad practice or evangelizing a good one. For me, both apply.
- End the bad practice of businesses that treat relationships and customers like numbers and that is the end of the story and motivation. I want to help change the perspective. "It all depends on how we look at things, and not how they are in themselves."-Carl Jung
- Evangelize the good cause of "All lasting business is built on friendship."-Alfred A. Montapert
What I am Doing About It
"Every new year people make resolutions to change aspects of themselves they believe are negative. A majority of people revert back to how they were before and feel like failures. This year I challenge you to a new resolution. I challenge you to just be yourself." ~Aisha Elderwyn (Thanks Liz!)
Last year, my New Year's resolution post helped to light a fire for the Smarketing torch. It's a worthwhile cause. For myself, that flame is still burning, but is becoming part of a bigger fire (my own?).
I'm also reading more, I've learned that the more I read, the more (and better) I write. The next ones on the list are:
- Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
- If You Want To Write
- How to Drive Your Competition Crazy: Creating Disruption for Fun and Profit
The One Big Thing I Will be Writing About and Doing This Year: Ingagements
Last week, Pete Caputa wrote about "5 Big Things I'll Be Writing About (And Implementing) in the New Year". I mention it because it helped me get this post started (and because I stole his title).
So the writing of the book happens this year. I'll be sharing my outline, telling the story, developing the pitch. This blog will be the journal of the process. I will be asking for your feedback, help, and contributions. I'll be developing my inner circle. I'll be looking for guest bloggers who want my message for their audience, and those who have a message for mine. I'll be following the steps that APE provided me.
Happy New Year all.