Sorry, it's a long one...
If you've been following for awhile, then you've heard that I've been trying to write a LB Book. I'm certainly not an expert, a doctor, or a 'better' Bander…there are a LOT of wonderful, successful, banded bloggers and vloggers out there. I took this project on after more than a year of urgings of my followers, and because I did some research and knew that there wasn't a book out there like the one that would have helped me the most through my journey…one that represents all the choices, and all of us (Banders). I decided it would be a great way to 'pay-it-forward' and felt I owed it to everyone who helped me along the way.
I delved into the world of publishing with gusto. It was like learning a new language, but I was up for the task. Let me tell you that the publishing world has it's own very strict set of old-school rules that included learning how to create Queries that have to be company specific and researched like a resume, as well as long Proposals that are like thesis papers and each company can ask for different sections. That was all fine with me…I may be blonde, but I'm not dumb…my last job was leading process improvement in a Fortune 500 and I've got mad skills at mapping out the best course of action. I'm a hard worker, and most importantly, I was on a mission to help others and I wasn't going to give up. I created spreadsheet of publishers and each companies specific rules, I researched who at each Co. to send things to (they don't make it easy), as you're not allowed to send to more than one person (or they hit the 'delete'/shredder). I'm not complaining, I'm just telling you I did it. I hit most of the top publishers.
Here's the rub…about the time I started all this, the publishing houses had the rug pulled out from under them. The economy hit them, but more importantly, the world of books and the changes in how we read things hit them at the same time. EReaders and technology are changing things quickly. The Publishing Houses are scrambling to try to reinvent themselves at a time where they're downsizing and not taking any chances (on new authors). I'm sure you've noticed the Bookstores around you closing. These days authors can self-publish more easily than ever or setup their own eBook online (I think using a publisher still offers a lot though).
I'm giving you the history because I need you to understand that I really worked hard at this and it took a LOT of time…I have stacks of files to prove it. I've had so much support from all of you and I don't want you to feel like I let you down. I looked into self-publishing and I even had my DH's support in funding that.
OK, here's my one real moment of whining…the book was becoming a monkey on my back…I seriously couldn't sleep at night over this because I felt like I was letting everyone down. I sorely missed just writing my fun and sometimes deep daily blog. I missed the time I could devote toward supporting others and keeping up friendships…I missed all of you. I can't tell you how many blogs I have in 'Drafts' because I started something and then told myself I had to spend the time instead on the book and publishing. I seriously wish I could get back every hour I spent working on this and have used that to help someone else, but as someone recently told me, there's a reason for everything, even if I don't know it yet.. OK, whine over (you can't really be doing something selfless if you complain...done).
I read a few articles recently that finally lead me to my decision. The easy thing to do, would be to self-publish (I know how now), and/or publish an eBook, but I've decided not to, at least for now. I've decided to do something more 'out of the box', which is exactly who I am. I'm hoping that I've figured out the 'best course of action' to use. I thought long and hard about this and I'm excited about where I'm headed, and I hope you will be too.
I took my process improvement approach and looked at what I was trying to achieve. First, I looked at what I didn't want. The purpose of the book is not to just restate all the good medical information that's out there about the Band…there's plenty of books/sites that do that well. It's not to state 'my way or the highway', and 'follow these rules'…there are plenty of books that do that…I certainly didn't want to write just a glossed over version that's a fun read, but left me wondering at the end what I learned, if anything. Most of the LB out there are just that, with a dose of the medical side…I'm not knocking other books, I just needed to get specific about what I would bring to the table that would be any different from what's already available. I also know I don't want people to have to read my whole blog or spend a million hours on a forum looking for answers...not many people have that time.
So I thought about the feedback I've gotten from you all along and here's what my objective is. I'm a detail person (editing out for the book wasn't easy and it lost a lot of the fun and humor on the cutting room floor). I want to be able to share detail (things that aren't easily found online now) for those that want it…I've gotten lots of feedback from some of the detail I've shared that helped someone else. Being an art teacher in my young life, I'm a visual learner, and I love sharing pics, and spreadsheets (can be impossible or cost-prohibitive with self-publishing). I'm skilled at process improvement and seeing all the choices and forks in the road…I used that to my advantage in my own success and I want the book to have a basis in my story, but represent all our points of views and really focus on all the choices we each have to make along the way. You can't figure out what works best for you if you don't know what the choices are (it doesn't take long in our journey to start figuring out that there's no one owners manual to success).
So here's where I am. I'm not taking the easy self-publishing route. Instead, I've bought a website and I'm setting it up now. I'm starting to place what I'm calling a 'Living Book' on it. It's going to be a cross between a book and a condensed blog (no one will have to read my whole blog ever again!), hopefully merging the two and including your input for others to read and learn from. It's going to read like a book with chapters and sections, but it will also allow for 'comments' and other viewpoints from all of you. Since it won't be static, I can update it whenever I want. I'm looking forward to adding other media and pics to it that I couldn't have afforded with a book (I've already done the 'cover art' and a 'music slideshow' and I'm looking into a spreadsheet doc). I'm trying to use as much technology as I can figure out. I've started right now a format that looks like my blog so the transition between the two is seamless and just a click away (I'll probably update the layout eventually). I may put some form of it in eReader format (like a Kindle book) eventually for those that want the information that way. I've decided to make this all public/give it away, at least for now.
The downside of all this is that I've got more work ahead of me still. My biggest worry is that I won't have an agent or a publishing house to advertise it, so I'll be begging all of you to help me get the word out. And as with everything that's free, I know there's a perception that it can't be good information if I didn't pay her $24.99 for it…that's just something I'll have to prove in the product.
I'm trying to decide right now if I want to roll this out in sections, or wait to do it all at once. I could have the first section done in a month or so (I have a big vacation coming up that I've made no plans for yet), but the entirety would realistically take until maybe late summer. I want the newbies to have the pre-op info. ASAP, but I'm worried that it will be confusing not to have the whole thing at once. Thoughts?
Anyway, that's what I'm up to, and thank you all again for your support! Now, back to work!
P.S. Happy Leap Day! I formally declare that whatever number of pounds you lose today will instantly quadruple (down, not up silly)...you're welcome.