I am thrilled to announce that a few weeks ago, as I first reported on our Twitter feed, we signed a contract to publish a book focused on our Marketing with Meaning concept. This has been about a three-year production process already, and it will be almost a year from now that our book hits stores, but all good things take time. The process of securing a publisher itself has taken a while, and I believe readers (and a few prospective authors) might be interested to hear about the process.
After more than a year of gathering research, I felt it was time to try to write a book. I sat at my home office desk about a year ago and wrote about 170 pages of “a” book. It was going well, but I decided to step back and learn more about the process of non-fiction publication. Rule #1: Don’t write the book yet. I learned from several people that the right way to start is with a book proposal, a kind of business plan for the book that is used to summarize and sell it in to publishers.
I got a lot of really good advice—most from people who I had never met before. I started with fellow leaders at WPP who have been published. The great Jon Steel (Perfect Pitch and Truth, Lies & Advertising) offered excellent tips and contacts. Shane Atchison at ZAAZ (Actionable Web Analytics) encouraged me with his suggestions for making the writing process easier. Allen Adamson at Landor (BrandSimple and BrandDigital) wisely pushed me to get an agent. David Nicols (Brands & Gaming) was kind enough to chat even though he left the WPP nest. Jim Taylor (Space Race) offered a ton of insights into the publication and marketing process. I also learned a lot from someone I never actually spoke with—Timothy Ferriss (The 4-Hour Workweek) blogged about his experience in finding a publisher, and I probably re-read his post 100 times.
After absorbing this advice, I was lucky enough to run into an old marketing buddy, Pete Blackshaw, on the way to last year’s CES show in Vegas. He was finishing up his own book (Satisfied Customers Tell Three Friends, Angry Customers Tell 3,000) and recommended his agent, Lisa DiMona. Lisa and I hit it off immediately and we started working on a book proposal. Eventually we added Laureen Rowland to the team as an editor to help me perfect the proposal (and now the book). My big team at Bridge Worldwide also was always there for me to do everything from proofread the proposal to torture test my ideas to design a mock cover. Many more specific thanks will come in actual book form!
Eventually we had a strong proposal and Lisa did her agent magic, reaching out to the biggest marketing publishers in the world. I had a chance to personally “sell” to many of them. Everyone I spoke with agreed with the concept and felt its time was nigh. We ended up with offers from a few publishers and accepted one from McGraw-Hill. What I love about McGraw-Hill is that they are focused on the business market and especially the marketing specialty. I also like that they believe in taking books globally, and work to drive success for the long term.
Last week I paused for about three seconds amid a hectic day to just stare at the signed contract and appreciate the hard work by and help from so many people who made this book deal happen. Now the writing begins. I’ve actually spent the past several weekends and many evenings at work on the book, and most of my remaining vacation and holiday time in 2008 will go to this worthy cause. Luckily my wife and family are very understanding and encouraging. My day job won’t let up, though! Still gotta build the business and help our clients win.
Thank you, dear readers, for continuing to follow our progress and add to our story. The many blog readers and comments that I see each day provide the extra encouragement I need to keep pushing ahead. Stay tuned for more!