The power of teams are awesome! At the end of February, as part of Start Up Gap, we gathered a number of authors and entrepreneurs together for the purpose of writing a book together. Instead of just showing small business owners how to develop their business, we wanted to create a project that would help them build their audience and leverage their brand.
Over the course of the past six weeks, 11 entrepreneurs, authors, coaches, and internet marketers came together to create a book called Learning From Failure: 11 Surefire Ways To Turn Your Worst Nightmare Into Your Biggest Success.
While I will get back to how you can get the book at the end of this post, I want to spend a few minutes explain how having a team come together to create a book is so powerful.
How Do You Write A Book With 11 People
When the idea first came up of creating a group book, there were a number of questions. Is it paid? Do we all have to be writing this at one time? How do we collaborate across theweb, and across the United States. How will everything be continuous throughout the entire book? What are the legal ramifications?
The truth is that this was an experiment in how to complete a group book project. Part of this process was based off of Amazon Kindle’s 90 day period for promoting books. You get 5 days to promote your book, as long as Amazon gets a 90 day exclusive rights to the book. The same deal applied here. For 90 days, you give exclusive rights to the chapter you wrote over to Start Up Gap, where the book resides on Amazon.
Then at the end of those 90 days, you can do whatever you want with your own chapter. However, the book stays on Amazon.
Moreover, collaboration proved to be pretty easy with modern technology. Conference calls happened on Fuzebox and Google Hangouts, Microsoft Word chapters were emailed back and forth. Note: Thank you for the review features on Word!
Also, we coordinated the marketing through Google Docs. A few gigantic spreadsheets reside their with the information about who contacts whom. Then email and tweet templates were emailed out. Personally, used Hootsuite to schedule all my book posts.
While the majority of the writers were here in Chicago, there were some writers in Texas, Oklahoma, Boston, and New York. I guess this was not a West Coast project!
The compensation and the legal part I will leave out, as a courtesy to the other writers. Needless to say there were contracts that everyone signed.
My Failings With The Book
So often in business, success is merely a product of failure. The lessons we learn from those failures are the gift that spark our success.
With that in mind, let’s look at what we did wrong, so we can see the successes in this book. Furthermore, the next group book that we write in May will benefit from this analysis.
Top Three Lessons
First, we had a number of planning meetings. While, I know they would not be private, I would switch from Fuzebox to Google Hangouts next time. Personally, I think Fuzebox is a better system. However, a number of members had trouble logging into the system. Big issue!
I have been debating back and forth on this internally. Do we have a private planning meeting, or a public one that could spark interest in the book? Personally, with any book that has more than 10 writers, keeping it a secret until launch is not realistic. Might as well, leverage the campaign in advance.
Sort of make it free for those who might be interested in writing this with us, and the paid members get to make decisions and get the additional attention of those watching the meetings.
Second, I should have been more specific with the formatting of the book. In fact, for the next group book, I am creating the template ahead of time. Then I am requiring everyone to use Microsoft Word 2010 or later. Personally, I use Office 365 to stay up to date with Microsoft’s updates.
Third, my time frame was off. We all get ambitious sometimes with projects. Of course, we can put together a full book in 30 days. Why not? OK!
While, we finished the book in roughly 45 days, I did not think through the editing process fully. Because of this, I created a publishing schedule for the next book that will be closer to reality.
If you write a book about Learning From Failure, then you have to expect that in a blog post where I demonstrate the failings of this book we will then go over the successes.
First, we are closing in on 1000 downloads over the past 5 days. While not New York Times Best Seller level (yet), still something to be proud of accomplishing.
Second, we have consistently ranked high on Amazon in the Entrepreneurship and Business And Money Short Reads category. (See below)
Third, we actually wrote a group book. Writing a book by yourself is challenging. Coordinating with 10 other people to write a book has a new level of challenges as you get everyone on the same page for creating the book. Something I was not fully expecting when this project started, along with about 1000 questions I had not considered before other writers asked me. Henceforth, live and learn.
Note: My apologies to Judy Knoerle for using the word, actually, twice in a blog post.
To The Future
So, what’s next? Well, first I predict you want to download the book on Kindle before the clock strikes midnight tonight. To do so, click on the button at the bottom of the blog post.
Second, if you are interested in learning more about future book releases then make sure to get on our list for future free ebook releases. Go here!
Third, if you are more interested in growing your brand and benefiting from the power of teams, then contact me to learn more.
That is it! Now prepare for the future! Prepare to click on the big, slightly obnoxious download button! Prepare to read Learning From Failure!