How It All Came Together
Last week and this, Raj Setty has shared thoughts and insights that expand what he wrote in Beyond Code.. He shared his personal story, how team loyalty and individual goals can work together, “The Inner Game” of attitudes and philosophy about career, life, and ambition, and “The Outer Game” of learning leadership.
Today we talk about Raj’s book, Beyond Code: Learn to Distinguish Yourself in 9 Simple Steps! how it came to be published, what he learned in that process, and advice he has for others who might want to follow his lead.
Raj, how did an IT consultant convince a publisher that he was qualified and able to write a book on how people might distiguish themselves to lead a fuller more successful life? What did you learn from the exprience? What advice for future writers do you have to share?
Liz, everything seem to have happened so fast and it all feels like a dream now. This was a book that was in my mind for a long time. When I started writing the book, I didn’t have a plan to get a publisher to publish it. In fact, I didn’t think about all those things. First step for me was to write a good book. My thinking was that in the end if I can’ t come up with a good book, there is no point in even trying to find a good publisher. The worst case would actually be getting a bad book published. It would hurt really bad. So all my focus was centered around writing a good book. I knew that I couldn’t do that alone and I accepted help from a lot of VERY generous friends all of whom have been listed in the acknowlegements section of the book.
The only dream I had was to get a foreword by my hero Tom Peters. This was my dream since the team I conceived the idea of the book. It took me a few months to get the book in shape, edited and packaged. It was at that time that I met with one of my mentors Tim Sanders for lunch. I was talking to Tim about this book and asked him whether he would be willing to provide an endorsement. Long story short – Tim agreed to provide an endorsement but with a condition – I had to get the book published by a professional publisher. The search was on. Through one of my friends, I was able to reach my agent, who got me a book deal in record time. Meanwhile, my dream had come true and Tom had kindly consented to write the foreword for the book. I was also featured as a cool friend on his site. That was a big bonus. And, true to his promise Tim Sanders did provide a wonderful endorsement for the book.
I have to be careful about any advice on this topic. I think there are better ways of doing this than what I did. Here are my $.02 anyway
1. Gain credibility to write the book
In non-fiction, who the author is becomes VERY important. I see what most new users of my blog do – they click on “About Me” link and read about me. It doesn’t matter how good the content is, people want to know why I am “qualified” to write that content. What is a good way to gain credibility? Have a lot of accomplishments in the topic on which you want to write the book.
2. Have a burning desire to make it happen
I know this sounds like “ra ra” stuff. Think whatever you want, having a burning desire makes a big difference. Like many things in life, you need to be wanting it badly before you get it.
3. Ask for help but be careful.
You can’t do this alone and you need help. But before reaching out to someone asking for help, think about what reasons you can provide them so that they will be willing to help you. What you have done for them in the past to be eligible to ask for help? What is your balance in the emotional bank account for this relationship?
4. Write a remarkable book
Sounds too obvious but I have to say this. There are too many “good” books that are wanting to catch the publishers’ attention. It’s of no use to write another “also ran” book. You will be wasting your time and the publishers’ time.
5. Prove that you can help in marketing the book
Publishers have to sell about 5000 books to make it work for them. They tend to work with well-known authors as they are confident that they can hit this number. For a new author this becomes the roadblock. Have a marketing or a publicity plan of your own to help the publisher meet this number.
6. Get lucky
Getting a little bit lucky helps 🙂
7. Build a personal brand
A brand will help your book and your book will help your brand. So if you get lucky and get your book published first, use that to boost your brand. If not, build a brand big enough to use that as a launch pad to get your book out.
To get to know Raj better visit his blog, Life Beyond Code. You can find Raj’s book, Beyond Code: Learn to Distinguish Yourself in 9 Simple Steps! in the sidebar.
Thank you Raj, for answering my deeply, curious questions. I realize they weren’t of a kind that you might answer by quickly qulling a quote from the book and sending it back. I am sincerely grateful for the time that you invested to give me (and those who read this extended interview) an education that goes beyond your book. This interview makes reading your Beyond Code a second time something I look forward to
It has been fabulous getting to know you, Raj, and getting to hear the stories and the thinking behind your powerful book.You are an amazing person. So much learning and so much accomplished — I can’t imagine how many things you’ll have done by this time next year.
–ME “Liz” Strauss
Interview 11.1: Rajesh Setty — Raj’s Story
Interview 11.2: Raj Setty –The Need to Participate and Differentiate
Interview 11.3: Raj Setty –The Inner Game
Interview 11.4: Raj Setty –The Outer Game