As Networlding presents its first online author salon, I offer you a three-part series of guest blogs (authored by moi!) leading up to the event.
The goal of the article trio is to give you an inside view of writing and publishing a book.
As Melissa Wilson often remarks, “we all learn and benefit from each other’s success.”
This series is for:
- Individuals who want to learn about career agility (my book topic) and how it will impact their future work opportunities
- Current and aspiring thought leader authors who will gain insights re: choosing a topic, defining why, who, what, and how, and promoting their book
The three articles will cover:
- From idea spark to defining why, who, what, and how
- A glimpse into career agility
- Launching a book to Amazon bestseller status
OK, let’s get started.
Backstory: The Idea Spark
It all started with a gathering.
In 2012, the Sprint Zero: The Physics of Agile Marketing strategy and design session in San Francisco attracted curious and creative minds.
Launched as an open source initiative, we spent two days customizing agile methods, originally used in software development, to the marketing process.
Our team of 25 marketers created principles and values, forming the Agile Marketing Manifesto. The movement inspired ongoing collaboration, a framework to organize the marketing process, and recently a certification program.
My Book Idea
While on the homeward bound plane, the creative concept emerged.
I was restless. We sold the growth stage company where I was a marketing exec to a Fortune 100 company.
Fairly certain my stay would not be long with the large corporation, I considered my next move. Evaluating my career path and personal observations leading up to the acquisition evoked a powerful question.
Because work navigation is messy (just like marketing!), why not apply agile principles to career management?
Voila! My book idea was born. I had always wanted to write a book, but never felt committed to a topic.
The topic awakened my passion and curiosity, leaving me with more questions than answers.
Launching the Agile Careerist Project as a side gig, I delved into research, which drove the content of the book.
After contrasting agility principles like flexible vs. rigid, adaptive & iterative vs. big campaigns, I started to explore agility in areas of life and work.
With research and a bit of customization, applying agile principles to career development was a solid strategy for work life.
Start with Why: Who, What, and How Will Follow
As my friend Parissa Behnia says, ”when you sell the problem you solve, you weave the story of customer pain points and your solution together.” Doing this will support a compelling business proposal. She’s always coming up with logical statements like that.
Thinking about your book idea as a proposal, a non-fiction business book will benefit from applying the same filter.
Stating the problem the idea solves is a lot like creating a why statement.
The word why is often associated with Simon Sinek, best-selling author, motivational speaker, and organizational consultant.
In his book Start with Why, Simon Sinek states, “people don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”
He suggests leading with why will inspire people in your workplace. Negotiating or pitching ideas is more successful when people connect with you through your authentic voice and mission.
Let’s review some important questions.
Four Questions to Ask Yourself Before Writing a Business Book
But, before going further with my research project, I needed to crystalize the problem and define my why. To demonstrate this, I have filled out a four-question template in this section.
- Why – define the problem your idea solves
Why career agility? (drumbeat!) Because the career journey is messy, filled with surprises and detours, contributing to pain, anxiety, and suffering. There must be a better way!
As Simon says, once you know your why, everything else lines up.
- What – your core message
As my book coach instructed, I created one sentence about the book theme. What is the core message? What do I want the reader to do, feel, or experience?
Adapt or get left behind.
There is a sense of urgency to this rallying cry, exactly what is intended. Responding to change will help everyone, and as the author, I do not want anyone left behind.
- Who – your target; who is this book for?
After interviewing three different generations, I conducted an additional survey with mid-careerists.
Target: mid-careerists in a time of change
An avatar is a specific description of a person. Age, behaviors, work experience, emotions, habits, etc. Writing up extensive avatar descriptions, I focused on one specific person.
Talking to one person, rather than a three-generation demographic, the writing tone and style is more personal.
Many people stumble here because you believe your book appeals to everyone. While your book may be relevant to the masses, choosing one avatar guides the tone of voice (your voice). People want to feel you are talking directing to them.
- How – mission; how will you solve the problem?
My mission is to mitigate the negative impacts (pain and suffering) of career management. This is accomplished through access to a thoughtful framework, empowering you to thrive and to reimagine what’s possible.
Starting with why enabled me to refine the theme, avatar, and mission statement.
My author journey is agile, leading to a lane change in the second half of my career.
While writing this book and conducting research as a side project, I was a CMO at a growth stage tech company, and then a full-time marketing contractor in Silicon Valley.
Working on a side project is an example of one of the career agility principles: Pursue it in parallel.
Through one-on-one interviews and survey research I learned agile thinking applies to many different circumstances.
And so it is with the author’s journey.
Like careers, the author’s journey is filled with surprises, detours, and uncertainty. Many of these same principles are relevant for individual author agility.
By the way, my side project blossomed into a business, enabling a transition from technology marketing executive to career growth analyst, author, speaker, and trainer.
An Invitation and Bonus Content For You
I invite you to continue with the series of posts and to register for the Online Author Salon, where I will share how career agility impacts your future work opportunities.
Tuesday, September 25, 1-2 pm CT, Online
Career Agility: How it Impacts the Future of Your Work Opportunities and Happiness
In addition to the book overview, Melissa and I will share an Amazon launch story in the final 15 minutes of the salon, complete with a handy template and checklist.
Marti Konstant, author of Activate Your Agile Career: How Responding to Change Will Inspire Your Life’s Work is a workplace futurist with an agile mindset. She is a career growth analyst, best-selling author on Amazon, speaker, personal brand architect, and founder of the Agile Careerist Project™. What started out as a quest to fine-tune her evolving career sparked a research project, a book, and workshops, where future of work and career agility are central themes. agilecareer.com