Publishing Purgatory

December 10th, 2008 by Sharon Larsen

It’s safe to say that until now, Rich has never had a project that took two years to complete.  We have learned, though, that the process of publishing a book moves like cold tar. 

Early in the publishing process, Rich and Ron engaged with a large publisher, who shall remain nameless.  The publisher was excited to work with us but wasn’t sold on the concept.  They latched on to one specific principle of the book and wanted Rich and Ron to write a book focused solely on that principal.  For nine months, the publisher came back to Rich and Ron with action items, each of which they nailed.  After all the publisher feedback, the final outline was very different from the book they had intended to write, however.  It focused exclusively on the Zig Zag principal – just a small part of the current book.  At this point, all the signals from the publisher were positive and all that remained was to endure the formality of the Review Board (capital letters added to inspire awe and reverence). 

In the end, the Review Board decided to give Rich and Ron a ‘soft turn-down’ because although they loved the concept, there was one problem: Rich and Ron were not famous enough.  Despite their admitted admiration for the proposed book, the publisher was only accepting famous authors at that point.  Result: nine months of wasted time, energy, and momentum on the outline of a book that had zig zagged from its original purpose. 

Seth Godin recently argued that disseminating ideas is more difficult than actually coming up with those ideas.  We’ve experienced that firsthand during this publishing nightmare.   You’ll experience this same nightmare as you start your own business if you have the ability to come up with great ideas, but don’t have the skills – or partner with someone who has the skills – to market those ideas. 

All this is behind us now, though.  We’ve chosen a publisher and the manuscript is off.  Look for the Bootstrapped baby to be born in 3 – 4 months!

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