Every single day I bump into articles and advertisements suggesting dozens of reasons to get yourself published, and as an author deep in the process of publishing my 5th book they always peak my interest. It would seem that the idea of writing a book is somewhat “sexy” and is portrayed as quick, easy and something that will catapult you to instant riches.
My personal experience of publishing has been very, very different. If your goal for writing a book is to win more speaking engagements, because it will be fun or help you become rich and famous, then you should probably do something different. Writing a book is a traumatic, soul searching, chaotic and monotonous process, that even once completed still leaves a mountain to climb. The distribution, marketing, promotion and worst of all the immense judgment you receive for sharing a slice of your life with the world, is emotionally exhausting.
Having just published Exactly What to Say, I thought I would take a moment to sit on my couch and consider the real reasons why I put myself and my team through the ordeal of bringing this piece of work to the world and question whether the thousands of hours, thousands of dollars and thousands of torn up pieces of paper was really worth it.
The realization is though, at this stage, I really do not know. I just know my real reasons for writing it and me sharing this with you right now is my way of processing the process and checking in with myself if this action was on purpose or just because it felt right.
Here are my 9 big reason why I wrote Exactly What to Say:
1. Because I could not, not write it
I didn’t want to write this last book. I have been nervous about the title, the impact it could have on my personal life and the reaction that others could have towards me because of it. When you commit ink to paper and make it available to the world then you best be ready for a barrage of judgment from others, and don’t expect all of it to be wonderful. The truth is, that the whole idea of it sat with me for too long. I would think about it daily, and as much as I didn’t want to sit and compile this piece, it would eat at me in pockets of time, and my internal voice would not let me off the hook. This was not a good idea that we chose to execute. This was a mindful challenge in which I was forced to look inside myself and battle with all parts of my personality to extract the energy to get this right. My first books were fueled by blind ambition and ignorance. This one was different—it was completely purposeful—and although I tried to not put pen to paper and complete it, its creation was completely non-negotiable. It had to happen.
2. Because writers write
Call me old fashioned, but I live in a world where we are what we do, not what we say that we do. If I am to call myself an author then its only fair and right that I write something current. My previous works (Magic Words and Toolbox) were created in 2011 and 2012, and I hadn’t produced anything with purpose since that point. My life, experience and, I hope, skill as a writer had moved on in 5 years, and I wanted to test that belief. If you look at great authors they are always building on their past works and looking to create new. Shakespeare, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Dickens could have fallen into insignificance if it weren’t for their persistency and constant evolution. Modern greats in the personal development space like Malcolm Gladwell, Seth Godin and John C. Maxwell are continually writing their next evolution. Success leaves clues, and if I want to be a writer then writing is what I shall do.
3. Because I owe it to others
Much of my very best work in life has happened behind closed doors. In training rooms, seminar halls and boardrooms with clients, there have been moments of magic that empower and inspire brilliance in others. That work has been experienced in those moments and by those individuals, yet rarely gets transferred outside of that specific circumstance. Dedicating a life to the personal development of others requires significant personal sacrifice, and many of your loved ones rarely get to understand or experience you performing at your best. One thing I know and understand about me personally is that I love to make a difference and love to be recognized for doing so. Recognition is my drug of choice, and a goal for me writing this book and making a dent in the world was to add to a tiny legacy that can help my most precious relationships with people be proud of me.
4. Because there was nothing I could recommend to my clients
I am not just an avid reader of books, but also a avid recommender of books. I love to pass on the gems I have learned from and am often sharing great books with my clients. In just the last few months I have been a champion for Same Side Selling by Ian Altman and Jack Quarles (purchase here on Amazon, The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stanier (purchase here on Amazon) and Folding Time by Neen James (Neen James Store), yet in the space of effective verbal communication, I had nothing to share. Writing this book provided me an efficient and productive way of me sharing the information I had in my mind and wanted to pass to others in an elegant and timely manner.
5. Because I had an itch that needed scratching (big little book)
In the space of negotiation, persuasion and influence there are some great pieces of work by some very talented authors. The challenge is that many of these books are HUGE and heavy in reading. My experience has taught me that although people are great at buying books they are not so good at reading them. That’s why I wanted to create a readable book, fit for modern times that simplified complex strategies into instantly actionable behaviors. The book, in fact, has nothing to do with me—there is hardly a single reference to me in the whole piece. It is all about what the reader can achieve from making some simple changes. Exactly What to Say is a test to see if the distillation of complex thoughts into simple actions can deliver long-term results and lasting change.
6. Because I wanted to condense and sharpen my thinking
I have often admired the precise nature and clarity of thought delivered in a TED talk and admired the effort the speaker goes through to find the focus of the point with such attention to allow the audience to receive a potent pill of wisdom in a snapshot of time. The goal was to take the exact same process to my writing and make the whole piece about serving others. Forcing myself through the clarity of thought to allow the reader to grasp the key messages effortlessly, yet to spark further imaginative thoughts that germinate over time. By finding clarity of thought, I wanted to create an idea worth sharing and help others realize that our conversations really do count and words really do matter. For a picture can paint a thousand words, yet a word can create limitless pictures.
7. Because I wanted a gift to share with audiences
A keynote speech is an expertly crafted moment of brilliance that when delivered well, the highlights can live on with the audience for eternity. Learning, though, can be reinforced with further study and also a physical anchor point to reference your experience. Having a book available to event organizers at a low price point that can compete with the catalogue of branded promotional gifts they chose from for their delegates creates an alternative to the corporate branded document wallet and allows the speaker’s book to be an obvious choice for the gift to participants. Having a win/win/win offer allows me a subtle point of difference in the competitive speaker landscape.
8. Because I was moving to America
Everything else I had ever written was written in English, and that is a language that is more different in America than people give it credit for. Continual confusion between being honored or hounored and also learning that an infant is a baby in the US and the same word refers to a child in the UK has left me bewildered that we even speak the same language. This, before we even get started on sports, in which I am supposed to get excited about the one nation that competes in the “World” series and a game called “Football” in which they throw a ball with their hands!!! I suppose if I were going to live and work in this country, I really should write something in the Queens’ American 😉
9. Because I set a goal as a child, and I owe it to me to at least “have a go”
I suppose the biggest reason is because from a very early age I had a burning passion to make a difference. I have continually outperformed the expectation that society has placed on me, dreamed big and achieved some amazing things on the way. It has been far from easy, and at 35 years old, I still need to pinch myself for the life I have crafted for myself. This book is another roll of the dice to achieve something bigger. A true bestseller, with over 100,000 copies sold, without the support of a giant publishing house and using the old fashioned modern marketing methods of hard work, a powerful network and accelerated word of mouth to help the world know Exactly What to Say.
Thank you for reading my ramblings and playing your part in this story called “my life”— a book is a very personal endeavor that is shared with everyone. If you have read it, then thank YOU. If you have shared it, then thank YOU. If you have reviewed it, then thank YOU.
Success is always a dish that is best served family style in which everybody is included.