I’m coming down from the highs of the launch day for my two latest books, the updated editions of Networking in the 21st Century and Networking in the 21s Century on LinkedIn.
It was by far the most successful book launch I’ve had so far. Thank you to everyone for the support of the books! Whether it was leaving a review when they were released or just putting up with me talking about them constantly in the newsletter, it helped a ton.
I’m also recovering a little from the time and energy put in as well. Since I’m also the publisher of my books, I was managing the final production, marketing, and distribution details as well.
But that got me thinking: Self-published is a misnomer because there was more than just my “self” working on this project. And that’s why maybe the term DIY (do-it-yourself) should usually be called DIWO (do-it-with-others).
The Punk Approach to Publishing Books
When I decided to publish my first book (which was the first edition of Networking in the 21st Century), I quickly settled on self-publishing as opposed to going the traditional publishing route. Even though the self-publishing world was just picking up steam, I felt very comfortable with the idea of creating a team to help me publish the book and bring it to market on my terms.
That comfort stemmed directly from my history playing in a band that had released two albums by ourselves. We had been influenced by the punk music DIY ethic that had started in the ’80s and was still going strong in underground music scenes well into the ’90s. The idea was that you would put out your music yourself instead of trying to get signed by a music label. There were fewer hoops to jump through, and you got to control the music and the message.
So we found studios to record in, made friends with artists who could design our covers, and in general, created a cadre of professionals who could help us create and distribute our music.
The process was helped a lot by the fact that technology was making the tools of music production so much more accessible, a trend that has continued on. But even with all of that technology, the key was that group of people we found to help us with the different parts of the process. This is why that DIY ethos that stemmed from the punk world was really Do-It-With-Other-Talented-People-Who-Will-Help-You-Realize-Your-Vision. (But DIWOTPWWHYRYV doesn’t quite roll off the tongue).
So when I looked at the process of publishing books on my own, I saw that the technology in that space was also lowering the barrier to entry. It was getting easier and easier to publish without the hassles of placating a big publishing house. All you needed to do was assemble the pros that could make you shine, the editors, designers, and marketers who had the specialized expertise to bring to the project.
And I thought to myself, “I know how to do that. If I can find a recording studio in Dixon, IL with a Grammy-level recording producer, I can find a good editor.”
The Team is the Ticket
That team that I’ve been able to work with over the years to put out my books, including the latest ones, has been the real driver of success. Yes, it’s my name on the cover, but there are so many different steps to taking the crappy first draft I write and creating a polished product that looks good, reads good, and helps the reader.
Finding and working with those people is as key to publishing a book as actually sitting down and typing some words onto the screen.
You might not be writing a book, but whatever projects you are working on professionally or personally, know that gathering the right team to help is one of the shortest and surest paths to success.
You might know them already, but if not, start to cultivate a network of people around you who can help. And if you want to learn how to do that…well, I think I know some books that can help!