Repurpose Your Career 3rd Edition
The launch of the 3rd edition of Repurpose Your Career has started. The plan is to publish the book in mid-September.
The book has evolved since 2013 when the first edition was published. The self-publishing industry has evolved and morphed to the point that an indie author can make money writing books.
Repurpose Your Career – A Practical Guide for the 2nd Half of Life, Third Edition will be the 4th book released by Career Pivot Publishing.
At the time of publication of this post, just over 4,100 copies have been sold in paperback, Kindle ebook, and Audible audio formats.
I am writing this post to take you on my journey as an indie book author, and publisher.
In the Beginning …
Let me first state that I am not a writer. I grew up very learning disabled in the 1960s and 70s. The term learning disability was not defined until the 1980s. When I graduated from high school in 1974, I read at a rate of 30-40 words a minute.
My first job after graduating from Northwestern’s Technological Institute, now known as McCormick School of Engineering, was working for IBM developing word processors. Yes, this guy who had trouble reading was developing word processors. This turned out to be a good thing because the job allowed me to travel the world and work on my language skills.
I am telling you this because I was not capable of doing this alone.
The Origin of Repurpose Your Career Title
I left my last corporate gig in January of 2011 and I was suffering from significant burnout. I spent the previous 3 plus years at LifeSize Communications as a Senior Manager of Learning and Development. After the company was acquired by Logitech in late 2009, I experienced some ethically challenging circumstances that I have previously written about on this blog. I spent much of 2010, planning my departure and building the foundation for my next pivot.
I hired a business coach, Sherry Lowry, who helped me hire a branding specialist, Ginny Murphy. It was working with Ginny, that we came up with the Career Pivot brand along with the tag line Repurpose Your Career.
The Career Pivot brand was launched in February of 2012.
Hiring a Co-Author
Sherry recommended that I find a writer to help me with the creation of marketing collateral, white papers, and anything else that we would produce. I was introduced to Susan Lahey in 2011 and that relationship has continued to this day.
I was Susan’s first major client in Austin and if you would like to hear Susan talk about her journey, listen to Encore Episode with Freelance Writer and Author Susan Lahey [Podcast].
We started out collaborating on a whitepaper that is still available called Don’t Retire Even If You Can, A Baby Boomer Manifesto. That became the seed for my first book Repurpose Your Career – A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers.
Working with a Book Coach
I met Gudjon Bergmann, very shortly after I left my last corporate position in early 2011. Gudjon had moved to Austin with his wife and kids from Iceland. Gudjon was an accomplished self-published author which in 2011 made him a real trailblazer.
Gudjon and I very quickly developed a mutually beneficial relationship. I helped Gudjon with a number of career and networking issues and he tutored both Susan and myself on developing the title, book layout, and design.
I followed the processes laid out in his book The Author’s Blueprint: Successfully Write a Non-Fiction Book, Conquer Procrastination and Never Get Writer’s Block Again (affiliate link).
I decided to use the tag line from the Career Pivot brand, Repurpose Your Career, as the main title after some crowdsourcing from my network decided on the subtitle of A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers.
One of Gudjon’s mantras that are deeply ingrained in my psyche was:
Write a book and not the book!
If you write the book you will likely never finish.
Writing the First Book
I found from working with Susan on the Baby Boomer Manifesto that she was extremely good at writing in my voice. What I did was choose a collection of blog posts and along with the white paper told Susan to write the first draft. This book was written back in 2012 when large swaths of baby boomers were unemployed and it was all about getting back to work and recovering from this second devastating recession in the past dozen years. We focused on the basics of mindset and getting back to work.
As you will see, this will evolve as the economy improves for some but not all, we all are getting older and our priorities shift.
Once we had the first draft, I sent it to approximately 50 people who I felt would be in the target audience and asked for feedback and constructive criticism.
The feedback was extremely good but with one common criticism, all of the stories in the book came from my career. That was a valid criticism but at this point in the journey of creating Career Pivot, they were only stories I had. Susan fixed this in the 2nd edition.
I was writing a book and not the book. My plan was for this book to evolve over time with multiple editions.
Gudjon also taught us that you need about 131 pages to get a binding on a book, i.e. having your book title on the side of the book when on a bookshelf. We selected font and paper size so that the book was 144 pages. It was a book you could read on the airplane, i.e. something you could read in a couple of hours.
The book was almost ready except for the book cover.
Book Cover Design
Let me first say, I am artistically challenged. I am the last person you want to design anything that is pleasing to the eye.
I once again turned to my network and was directed to many graphic artists but none of them knew anything about branding. They would ask me about the resolution of the graphics and other technical details but nothing about what I wanted the cover to say when someone saw the book online or on the bookshelf. I did not feel comfortable with any of them.
I eventually found Mamiserwaa through someone in my network whose business was providing services to aspiring authors. Mamiserwaa put me through a branding process that led me down a path of selecting images for the book cover. I ended up with several cover designs that I took to the job club that I served on the board, and asked the opinions of hundreds of job seekers. The following cover was chosen.
The metaphor for the bottom image was walking towards sunrise and a new day. As you will see later we used the same image in the 2nd edition and the metaphor in the 3rd edition book cover.
Publishing on Demand through CreateSpace.com and KDP.Amazon.com
We first loaded everything up into the CreateSpace.com website and requested proof printouts. With the help of Gudjon, this went very smoothly. We then loaded everything up in KDP.Amazon.com for the Kindle ebook edition and used the proofing tools on the website and even loaded a copy onto my first-generation Kindle reader.
It took several revisions to get everything that was close to perfect. I say close to perfect because you will never catch all of the errors.
The book was released in paperback on January 10, 2013, and the Kindle edition several days later. I did a free give away and 8,000 copies were given away. The idea was to seed the market for future books and I am not sure this was a good idea but…
We held a little party in Austin and that was all that was done for the first book launch.
I was in contact with the executive team at NextAvenue.org, the PBS Baby Boomer website, and they agreed to let me publish an article from the book called The Key to a Successful Career Shift: Asking for Help. This was published on February 4th of 2013. Forbes then republished the article on February 8th. The book now had credibility.
In late 2014, I started to explore using ACX.com which is Amazon’s self-publishing platform for audiobooks. I had a client who had recorded some voice overs for webinars. She had access to a rudimentary recording studio at work and was willing to narrate the book for me. This turned out to be a LOT of work for me.
The recording quality is fair but I needed to edit out hours of breath sounds from the 4-5 hours of audio that I edited down to a little over 2 hours. The Audible version was released in March of 2105 and has sold a little over 100 copies. This was an experiment that cost very little other than my time.
This original book has sold close to 2000 copies and probably generated $6000 in total revenue. It was slightly better than a break-even proposition but so much was learned.
Next week, I will finish this publishing story on how the follow-up versions were written and published along with a few missteps along the way.
The purpose of telling this story is if a learning disabled recovering engineer can write a successful book, with a lot of help, so can you.