I know many of you may be thinking you’d like to write a book someday and you may get a kick reading about what’s involved. The Writer’s Life is a terrific interviewer, here’s a transcript of a fun interview we did together:
Q: Welcome to The Writer’s Life! Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process. Can we begin by having you take us to the beginning? Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?
I had a life-changing experience early in my career when I watched my dreams of the corner office vanish along with the jobs of 120,000 others worldwide, as a result of a company that was focused on getting “big” instead of being “profitable”. That company was Digital Equipment, at one time the second largest computer company in the world behind IBM.
Not only did that experience light my entrepreneurial spark, but it put me on a path to several successful business turnarounds (and one that wasn’t!). Ten years later as clients continually shared successes that completely transformed their companies, Profit in Plain Sight: The Proven Leadership Path to Unlock Profit, Passion, and Growth started to take shape as a way to reach and impact more business leaders than I ever could as a consultant and speaker.
Now I’m on a mission to have the same type of impact that the book Good to Great had on me many years ago – to reach 5 million business leaders and inspire them to step up to more. I want leaders at all levels to transform “We don’t have the budget for that” into an enthusiastic “YES!” to every good growth initiative that crosses their desk, because that’s how we create a thriving economy for employees, customers, and the community so that we can leave the dregs of the post-recession hangover behind for good. I structured Profit in Plain Sight as straightforward 5-step Profit Plan for leaders to achieve all the profit they need to fund the growth they want.
Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?
Writing Profit in Plain Sight was a lot harder than you might think for someone who devours business books and has a collection of almost 200 favorites! One of my great frustrations with many books is that they contain a lot of “shoulds”… but not nearly enough “hows”. As a result, early versions of the fork-lift-sized manuscript were so incredibly detailed and boring that it put ME to sleep whenever I tried to proof read it!
I rewrote the book several times to reflect many more AHA! Moments, lots of colorful success stories, and specific next-step action plans. I pulled out all the “hows” and put them into a comprehensive series of complimentary videos available through links in every chapter. People hear “Profit” and immediately think this will be full of dry accounting principles. Instead, it’s a great read that’s all about creating value for customers in uncommon ways and being richly rewarded for doing so.
I had a great editor who wasn’t shy to call me on any aspect of my content that didn’t really sing or add value to the reader, and I recommend that every writer should get a good editor sooner rather than later in the process – we all truly need that external set of eyes that can see at a macro level what we’ve become too close to
Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?
I originally self-published, and a chance encounter with Morgan James during a speed-dating networking session at an author’s conference resulted in a book deal for Profit in Plain Sight. Oddly enough, I signed the publishing agreement the very same week I got my self-published books delivered by courier! It was important to me to have bookstore distribution to reach my target audience of leaders at all levels who are committed to taking their business to a much higher level of performance.
Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?
The amount of time it took to write, edit, rewrite, edit, rewrite, design, edit, rewrite and redesign. There’s a trend in the industry today to “write a book in a weekend” – and that always shows in terms of poor structure, poor editing, and poor design. My book took me 3 years of writing and editing to get to the self-published stage, and another year to work through the Morgan James publishing cycle so that it could reach the attention of bookstore buyers.
Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?
Earlier I mentioned the “forklift-sized” manuscript. Two wise peer-reviewers advised me that I had two books, not one, and after a very big gulp, I accepted their advice. Profit in Plain Sight is available now. Growth in Plain Sight is that “second half” and I intend to publish it within 18 months. Innovation in Plain Sight will expand upon one of the chapters in Profit in Plain Sight within 18 months after that, and an as-yet-unnamed book that creates a roadmap for businesses seeking to become Legendary will follow a couple of years later to create a comprehensive roadmap for building an extraordinary business.
Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?
That depends on whether I’m in work mode or relaxation mode! In work mode, I try to catch up on the daily goings on by scanning MSN, and I’m all over the web researching, following intriguing email links, and interacting with peers. In relaxation mode, I have a secret addiction to binging on various Netflix series including House of Cards and The West Wing.
Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?
I want every business leader to feel confident that they are in control of their success, and be willing to step up to creating highly profitable companies that can provide employment and give back to their community, regardless of what’s going on in the economy. When you provide exceptional value for customers that they want to buy in good times and bad, you create your own destiny. It doesn’t mean that you won’t have to zig and zag in your business as the economy changes… but value-creation is a skill that creates the ability to NEVER again have to say “we don’t have the budget for that!”… and as a result, fund all your greater goals for the business with ease. The whole message of Profit in Plain Sight is that that outcome is within reach of every leader at any level with P&L responsibility, if they have the passion and desire to implement the 5-Step Profit Plan and see take-it-to-the-bank results.
Q: Thank you again for this interview! Do you have any final words?
Simply this. Everything in Profit in Plain Sight: The Proven Leadership Path to Unlock Profit, Passion and Growth is designed to be implemented in less time per week than most executives are spending on email per day. For less than $25, this is one of the best investments any leader will make in their business this year.