I was with my buddy, Nick Varano, the other night and he looked at me and said, “Do you realize, you wrote a book?” There are many authors who would think, “Sure, do it all the time, no big deal.” But being kids who grew up in East Boston, I know he was really saying to me, “Lou, you wrote a book – can you believe it? I’m so proud of you.” He, of course, was indicating that it was a huge accomplishment, maybe even more so, because kids from our neighborhood were not writing books every day. In fact, there are probably not many, if any. The funny thing is, I don’t feel like writing the book was very hard. In fact, it all just flowed. The reality is, writing the book is the easy part. What comes next, the business side, is much more difficult because there is more to writing a book than just writing a book.
Gary Krebs, VP & Group Publisher for McGraw-Hill, emailed me this week asking me to tell him how many books I think we are going to sell, because they are going to print. I’m a publishing rookie – I haven’t a clue. He’s asking me, because as an author, it’s my job to assist in the marketing, PR and sales of the book. It’s not just about Elizabeth (Elizabeth King, my co-author) and I handing in our manuscript and being finished. Our deadline was May 1st, yet we have been working ever since we handed in the book. First, with some initial rewrites and proofing; then, with painstaking, fine-toothcomb proofing. And it’s not just Elizabeth and me; there is a team at McGraw-Hill led by senior editor, Pattie Amoroso, as well as my wife, Patricia, and our close friend Jo Newell, who has been published and has proofed books in the past.
Sure, these are all things that most would expect. Even working on the cover design with the publisher does not seem out of the ordinary. But if you have never written a book, you should know that there is much, much more. You have to send out pre-proofed PDF’s of the book to folks you think will like the book and ask them to write quotes saying how wonderful it is; you have to create bulk book incentive packages and solicit companies to make purchases (by the way, if you buy books for your company, please drop me a line – I have some books to sell you); you have to plan a book launch party, work on a marketing campaign, create lists for outreach, work on concepts and promotions for book signings, call in favors – it’s a very detailed and time-consuming process. McGraw-Hill is a huge publisher and they are fantastic, but they publish so many books, that it’s in our hands to really make the difference.
Did I mention we have also had to set up a web site and all the social media that is necessary these days? Thank goodness for Kelly Downing and the Heavy Advertising brass, Scott Heigelmann and Joe Del Buono. We also have to reach out to bloggers and contacts to see if they will assist in helping promote the book. And, then there is the legal crap that always comes with anything you do. So, writing a book is not just about writing a book; it’s impossible to just do it yourself – you need a team to assist and a village to help. Fortunately, everyone we have reached out to has been wonderful and very supportive. It has been a fabulous and humbling experience because it wasn’t just me who wrote a book, it was a team of great people, and it’s not just me marketing a book, it’s a great community of folks lending a hand.
So if you are thinking about writing a book, please know that there is much more to it than just writing. Get ready to roll up your sleeves to make it all become a reality and make sure you surround yourself with a bunch of great people. I have a great team and very generous contributors to all aspects of our book and have to give them all big hugs and props for their efforts and generosity. Help me thank them. The best way is to join in and spread the word and, ummm, buy a copy of Winning the Customer, now available pre-sale on Amazon. Sorry, couldn’t resist.
Thank you 🙂