It's been a few months since my book The Membership Economy launched, and it's been a really interesting time. I have had many inspiring conversations, helped all kinds of people from around the world and developed my own ability to write, speak and even think.
A lot of people have asked me what has surprised me about the process of writing a book, and what I've learned. In the spirit of the recently-retired David Letterman, here's my top 10 list:
10. The process of writing actually helps you think. It's amazing what I learn just by asking my own question and then trying to answer in a 15-minute free write. Writing has become my newest and best problem-solving tool. It's all about the questions.
9. (Almost) everyone wants to help an author. I cold called CEOs for interviews, authors for advice and literary friends for editorial feedback. Not all of them were willing to help me, but the vast majority took my call. I only wish I had reached out more, and earlier.
8. If you want to write a book that is interesting to other people, make sure it's interesting to you first. I learned that from my writing coach Mark Levy.
7. Spend as much time on your marketing as you do on the writing. And I spent a lot of time on the writing.
6. Find a book buddy or two. Linda Popky and I wrote our books on almost the same schedule, and helped each other every step of the way. It's like the spring 1998 mommy group all over again.
5. Be willing to pay for help. I studied poetry in college (ask me anything about Stevie Smith's use of line drawings to accompany her poems) and consider myself a good writer, but I still brought in writing professionals to help me create the best possible book. Thanks Sarah White and Wally Wood.
4. Interview and profile a lot of people in your book. Case studies are way more engaging than dry theory, and the people who are featured in the book will be more likely to support the book.
3. Remember why you're writing the book. If it's a one-pound business card to help build your professional brand, don't waste your time making it a best-seller by selling to the wrong people. It's great to sell books but not the most important thing.
2. Make time to celebrate. Two key moments (there may be more) are when you finish the manuscript and when you get your first copy of the book. Have a party for the people who helped you. Take your Significant Other out for a nice dinner. Life is a collection of moments. These are important ones!
1. Don't wait. Just write the book. (Thanks Alan Weiss-I know you had been telling me that for nearly 10 years. I believe you now.)
As the people at Nike say…just do it! And please consider posting an honest review about The Membership Economy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or any other favorite online book community. If you've written a book, you know how much they seem to matter!