Writing a Book: My Journey
As you may know, I am about to publish my first book. Hurray! I have been working on this project for almost an entire year now and all the hard work is about to pay off. Many of you have been asking how I did it. What were my strategies, what barriers did I face, and why did I write a book?
Well, here is my journey:
I found myself taking a class my junior year at college.
Excerpt from my book:
The class was titled Economic Theory of Organizations
and was taught by a highly regarded professor who built
the course around a concept I had never heard anything about.
It was the organizational model of decentralizing decision-making
in a business, and I was genuinely surprised that it took me
until my third year of a business degree to even hear about
this topic. What I had thought would be the most agonizingly
generic business class ever (Economic Theory of
Organizations, yawn) immediately defied my expectations.
I sat through each lecture, gripped with deep fascination.
What is a decentralized organization?
These are businesses that are not centered around a hierarchy, rather they give their employees the power to make decisions for the company. While not familiar with the term, most are familiar with the many companies that are implementing forms of decentralization, such as Johnson and Johnson, Zappos, and Toyota... and so many more. They are truly the future of business – and much more than even that. There is a bit more complexity, but I think you know where you can read about that 😉.
I loved the class and the professor, but one thing this class didn't touch on was how employees feel about a decentralized organizational structure.
Excerpt from my book:
It’s great that these companies are often more successful
than their centralized counterparts, but how can an employee
thrive in a company that tends not to have a direct hierarchy?
Psychologist of management Harold J. Leavitt reveals that
“hierarchies show us how fast we are climbing the ladder of success;
they give us identity.” So if there’s no corporate ladder to climb,
then what is left to strive for?
So I went to talk to my professor about it.
Literally the same day I was talking to another friend who was putting the finishing touches on his first book. I'll link his website here, the guy is brilliant... and inspired me to do the very same thing.
Fortunately for me, my University was starting a program that supports and funds students looking to write books. Well now that's pretty lucky. So I went for it!
The program asked that you take two things you know a lot about and combine them in a unique way. Apparently this helps you write unique books that are highly desirable to a niche community and, therefore, publishable.
It just so happens that in talks with my professor I had already done this!
Excerpt from my book:
We discussed this topic for quite a while, and what I took
away were two fundamental points:
1. If the employee helps the company grow in the direction
the company is headed, the employee will be rewarded;
it is in the best interest of the employee to do everything they
can to align their energy, talent, and decision-making with
the company’s mission and not to their own interests.
2. The rest of the skills and habits that an employee needs
for success in a decentralized organization parallels
another pursuit of mine: improvisational acting. If you
are unfamiliar, improvisation is a form of theater where
the entire performance is impromptu and unscripted.
Everything you watch onstage is produced on the spot
by the performers.
A passion of mine, improvisation is a performance technique
that I’ve been engaged in for almost a decade now, actively
participating in troupes (groups of actors), workshops, and
classes in high school as well as college. One could say my
mind was primed to make this connection.
So Improvisation and Decentralization, boom! Niche, unique, and never written before. It was also an exciting outlet to express my curiosity and explore the decentralized ecosphere in a way that could benefit society.
February 2019, I began writing! (See setup below)
I grab some books from the library and jstor for research, and started interviewing experts in the fields of improvisational theater, leadership/management and business, as well as other authors. My professor was obviously a huge help on the decentralization side of things.
So I wrote and wrote and wrote... about 500 words a week. My goal: 25,000 words by July.
Did that, which was tough. Lots of days spent inside researching, reading and typing away. I honestly, looking back on it, had a lot of fun. (Might do it again, who knows)
The day after I submitted my manuscript to my publisher, New Degree Press, I got on a plane and flew down to New Zealand to start a semester at the University of Auckland's business school.
While I was doing that, I also started my pre-sale campaign to help fund my book. I used Indiegogo and had a month to sell 100 copies to fund my printing costs.
Did that, which also took some work. Lots of emails to family friends. Fortunately, and with the generosity of 55 people, my book was FULLY FUNDED! Very exciting moment. A bottle of champagne was opened.
Now all I had to do was revise the book, create a cover design and send it out.
On to cover design. This was fun and after a few surveys sent out to my backers I went with this cover:
I think its clean, boldly colored and informative: a good cover.
Now, this entire time I was also revising my manuscript. In revising I somehow added almost 15,000 more words... oops.
So now my book sits around 270 pages. The book was looked over by several editors as I revised, and finally one last copy editor when I was finished.
Stressful, because you don't want to make any mistakes after this time... because it will be PERMANENT.
As that process passed, it was now early October and I was finishing up my semester in New Zealand.
Right now, as I write, my book is finishing up the formatting process. This is the part where we actually make it look like a book and not a Word document. Also fun, but stressful for the aforementioned reason.
But now the book goes officially to print on October 28th, so we are almost there.
I leave NZ in early December, drive up to Rochester, NY and launch my book. The date is TBD as of right now. I just can't wait to hold the physical thing in my hands, because it doesn't feel real yet. Counting down the days!
Thank you to everyone who has helped me on my journey to becoming a published author. I am grateful to each and every one of you.