I can hardly believe it but last week marked the one year anniversary of my book being published. Happily it seems to have done really well since launch, selling a lot more than I'd ever anticipated (it's very difficult to gauge what good looks like in this context of-course but the publisher seems very happy, and so am I). It's also elicited some exceptionally positive feedback, and dareisayit become something of a definitive text for digital transformation in some organisations that I've come across. But it wasn't all easy. So I guess it's a good time to pause and, in no particular order, write a few reflections one year in:
- Writing a book is energising, enthralling and an education. I learnt so much from the process, and from what has come from it since publication. To be honest this was an unexpected benefit. I guess I'd anticipated it being more about assimilation of my own (and others) thinking but then I'd forgotten about my own reason for writing in the first place (duh) which is to learn of-course
- Writing a book is hard. Frequently really hard. If I'm honest it sometimes felt like a marathon that just carries on indefinitely. I have to admit that for me the biggest challenge was probably fitting it in around existing work. So go into it with your eyes open.
- Don't do it for the money. Or at least not the money you make from the cover price. It's a nice bonus of-course but the real benefit comes from the follow up work that it brings. It's hard to quantify the exact payback that it has brought me but I know for a fact that it has secured me a number of larger scale projects and contributed towards me being chosen for many others. It also really helps with speaking gigs.
- Write it because you need to write it. I often think that you can tell when a non-fiction author is really passionate about wanting to get across their point of view and when they're perhaps just going through the motions. It comes through in the writing. This was a book that I not only wanted to write but also needed to. It felt like I was saying stuff that needed to be said and that's a good basis for undertaking any writing project.
- Putting it through a publisher does make a difference. I'd thought about self-publishing several times but I'm glad I went with a known publisher in the end. Somehow that has seemed to make quite a difference with a lot of people I've met since it came out.
- It's a physical manifestation of your thinking and your credibility. And for someone like me who runs their own business and for whom reputation is everything that can mean a lot. There's something about taking a physical book with you to a meeting that you just can't get from sending a client a link.
- It marks a moment in time, but it's like being in departures rather than arrivals. One of the weird aspects of writing the book was that I kept wanting to add to it, and build on it even after it was published. I guess that's the blogger in me. As part of the marketing for the book, I continued to write about the themes it covered over on the Agile Business Medium publication. This has been valuable not only in bringing the book to a wider audience, but also enabling me to take some of the ideas I talked about in the book even further. There's over 50 posts on there now, and a year's worth of writing.
Would I do it again? Well, as I say, it's no small undertaking but on balance I would, yes.