Finishing My Book With Humility And Hope
Writing is one of my life’s pleasures. It is a part of my everyday life – part of my breath. I wake up with an idea that I need to share, and run to the computer to write. Minutes later I have an article that I put away for a few hours, and revisit later in the day or week and then edit scrupulously, knowing that the article or paper is only as good as the edits. To that end, I have files labelled OUTTAKES so I can keep whatever ends up on the cutting room floor. Of course I never use it again, but just knowing that I don’t have to throw something away forever gives me permission to cut out that wonderful phrase, or that funny metaphor.
When my book, Selling with Integrity, made it to the NYTimes Business Best Seller’s list, I was ecstatic. I called my Mom. She was non-plussed. “You announced on your eleventh birthday that you were going to be a best selling author. Other kids your age wanted to be movie stars or cowboys. But you always loved writing. Knowing how driven you’ve always been, it was always a matter of time – not if, but when.”
To date, I’ve published probably 800 or more articles, 8 books, and have contributed to about half a dozen other books. I wrote an 8 page newsletter every month for 9 years (exhausting); I write a blog 5 days a week now. And I just finished a book. A whopper of a book, I might add.
In all of my years of writing, I have never had a writing experience like my current one. For this book, I decided to say what I always wanted to say. [Since I turned 60, everything has a special, new meaning. I take nothing casually, I say what I mean (and mean what I say) and I’m easier to anger and to apologize – I am both impatient with bullshit, and expansive with empathy (go figure that one out!).]
I have always been frustrated with how wonderful sales folks end up being abused by the very incomplete sales model. I have always been annoyed that people try to get others to change by using logic and information, when change happens personally and internally – not because of logical data. I have always been confounded by the waste of great sales folks who can be performing a wonderful spiritual function with both buyers and their companies, but are mired in ‘sales’ skills and don’t know how to go beyond them.
So I decided to say exactly what I wanted to say. No care if the book were purchased, or if it was a hit. I wrote this book for me. And I wrote my heart out, seeking to right all wrongs in sales, teach folks how to help others change with integrity, offer skills and tools so we could all serve each other. I wrote from sun-up to sun-up for months on end, with no days off. I was driven.
Until the end of the process when I collapsed and realized the errors I’d made. The good thing I did was to self-publish so I could do it all my way (good idea I think). But then I hired the team from hell. My long-time editor who edited most of my previous books took some sort of turn, and tried to get me to rewrite the books I’d already written. My layout designer made so many errors that after the book was re-re printed, there were still design errors that showed up that he never caught. And the very worst was the proofreader, who left me with over 200 errors in punctuation that he should have caught (I have a bad habit of using too many colons).
So I had to catch everything myself. And my long-suffering friends who were kind enough to take chapters to read for me as I lost my ability to see clearly with my exhaustion.I would have loved to have fired the lot of them. But my choices were limited: Once I was committed to THAT editor and THAT designer and THAT proofer, I had to continue or start again. And I was so psychically, spiritually tired that I didn’t have the ability to do that. And I’ve had to pick up everyone’s mess and try to remain calm and clear enough to fix what had to be fixed, even if it means a late book launch.
What is the lesson here? I don’t know yet. I just submitted my last last last round of edits on an already re-printed copy of the ‘final’ book. Amazing how one little book can have so many tiny errors — that no one else was able to find, regarless of their job descriptions.
Now the book is complete. I can only pray people like it. I believe it’s good – I took such care unravelling how change happens and how to explain it in a simple, fun, way. A complement I just got from a reader was that it was like reading a mystery novel – that he couldn’t stop turning the pages to discover the next new idea, and then the next, and the next. I hope it’s good. But mostly, at this moment, I’m relieved to be finished. I thought I was finished last week, and the week before. But now, no matter what, I’m done.
If you buy my book and you find some typos, please kiss them for me. Have empathy for all those things in life that we want so badly that our teeth hurt, and can’t always accomplish. Say a prayer for all of us who want it all, and accept what we have with great vulnerability.
But know, in the words and pages, that I am honored that you are reading my book, hopeful that some of my ideas might support you in being all you can be, and so pleased that I have a voice that is heard – even if my words may be imperfect.
Thank you all for making it possible to write books that people read. And I sure hope you enjoy my new one. Typos and all.
Listen to Sharon Drew Morgen speak on MaestroConference on Oct. 14.
Check out my new book coming out October 15: Dirty Little Secrets: why buyers can’t buy and sellers can’t sell and what to do about it. Read two free chapters. Sign up for presales deals, and announcements.
Or have a look at my book Buying Facilitation:the new way to sell that inluences and expands decisions. Click here for two free chapters. It will teach you how to understand and manage the route through the internal decision process. Will it help you make a sale? Maybe. Maybe not. But it sure will help you make a clien