A big thank you to everyone who has bought our book, recommended our book and gained benefit from our book. For without you we would never have made it into the Amazon top 100 best selling books for leadership.
Have you ever had a time that you achieved something that you didn’t think you would?
And not only did you achieve something you didn’t think you would, but you did it without even knowing?
Well if you’d been with me in June 2015, you’d be sat in the middle of a seminar room just off the high street in Richmond, London, listening to a short, grey hair Canadian guy with glasses talk about the virtues of writing a book and how easy it is.
“There is no better thing to set yourself up as an authority than to have written a book, in fact, the word author comes from authority. So if you know something you should write a book…” his voice the mixture of a nasal shout and a game of pong, as he vocally and physically bounds from one side of the room to the other.
Don’t get me wrong I had writing a book on the bucket list for quite some time, you may have too and like many things in life, it was not urgent and not really that important. Just a nice thing to have done. In our business plan, it was noted that we would create an ebook as a “lead magnet” during one of the sessions with the marketing guys, but they never pressed for it and we were always busy doing something else.
As I tune back to what is being said “… and that’s not all, do you know no one throws away a book! They don’t! So they make great business cards…”
BANG! it hit me! That was the urgency I needed, we could write a giant business card. It’d be unique and memorable and full of useful content on how we’d delivered success in merging IT systems, divesting companies IT systems, achieving massive transformations for global corporations and seeing fledgeling businesses blossom and grow following the methods we use. And what better time than at the start of the digital age when everyone was looking for how to achieve greater success in their transformations. We’d already written a white paper on “The Significant 7 Imperatives for Delivering Successful Change in Complex IT Projects” and written on the subject for the British Computer Society’s annual Digital Leadership & IT strategy book earlier in the year.
When was the last time you set out on trying to achieve something and not really understood what you’d gotten yourself involved in until you were “knee deep” in it?
It’s a bit like one of those roller coasters in the dark, although this one went on for months!
I needed 100 pages so that the book would have a spine and you need a spine if you are going to use it as a business card so that the reader can see your name when it is on their bookshelf. And by October 2015 I only had 26 pages. Truth be told the majority of these 26 pages were the white paper that I had elaborated on. I was not finding inspiration for the remaining prose. This book writing was harder than I thought, understanding, constructing and writing: technical manuals; strategies; business plans; project blueprints; RAAIDD logs; architecture diagrams; technical reference models and the whole plethora of materials we use to get things done was simple to us. Coming up with the relevant content for a book, the title, subtitle, sales copy, preface, bonus content, squeeze pages, call to action statements, and the remainder of the items required by the publisher, who seemed to be speaking a whole new language, was hard.
The months that followed were painful. I was understanding what George Lucas meant when he said during an interview in 1974 that “I don’t have a natural talent for writing. When I sit down, I bleed on the page, and it just awful. Writing just doesn’t flow in a creative surge the way other things do.” (read George Lucas By Brian Jay Jones).
The book was creeping towards the 100-page mark, like the traffic on the M25 on a Friday night at rush hour when there are roadworks that have closed 2 lanes. I’d write 10 pages, review them, hate them, salvage a page and continue. But progress it did and by June 2016, alongside delivering a global cryptographic services change, I was at the 86 page mark and I was not happy.
Have you heard the saying “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”? Well, my teacher turned out to be (and these are her words) a Bird from Barnsley with more tattoos than her fella and a mouth so foul it would make Newcastle party goers blush with the language that it produced. And as I started to describe the symptoms that were my book, Dr Cheryl Chapman pointed out “no one knows what you are going to write other than you and this is based on your experience as to what has worked for you, so stop complaining, build a bridge and get over yourself. Stop being so selfish by denying other the possibility of achieving what you have!”
She was right, the 86 pages weren’t perfect by my standards but were good enough and with diagrams, it would be easily over 100. The right size for someone to consume on the daily commute to work by train or plane.
So after editing by an editor, formatting by a formatter, typesetting, recording, registering for an ISBN and with the British library as required, along with the many other tasks needed to launch a book. It official went on sale quietly in October 2016, all 124 pages of blood, sweat and tears. The louder public launch party arranged by the publisher to thunderous applause was in Amsterdam on 26th November 2016. Subsequently, releasing released on Kindle and Audible, a whole different experience I never anticipated having at the start.
To our surprise, we became award-winning authors when the book was recognised by our publisher for having fantastic content for those looking to change and adopt digital technologies. While the sales have been modest and certainly not something we can retire on, that was not our objective. Our objective was to have a great business card and freely give the book away.
So when I received a call from a friend, James, at 1:58 in the morning on Monday, August 13th 2018 saying “hey mate, you are a Best Selling author” you can imagine my surprise. My sleep-deprived eyes were like saucers when I opened Amazon and saw my book listed on Amazon Best Sellers list, in the top 100 leadership books based on sales.
So are you going to share your knowledge and experience?
Are you going to say yes and then work out how to do it?
Or are you going to be selfish and not realise what you are capable of?
While corny it feels apt for my experience “You take the blue pill—the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill—you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember: all I’m offering is the truth.” – Morpheus, The Matrix.
You can buy a copy of the Digital Transformation: The Significant 7 Imperatives for Delivering Successful Change in Complex IT Projects from Amazon
Or you can receive a free copy from me as a gift and a business card 😉