“Have you thought about publishing your own books?” No I hadn’t, and, to be honest, the question took me aback when I heard it a decade ago. I was chatting with a long-time colleague, Tom Berger, about the new book I was about to start writing. Tom and I had gotten to know each other years earlier at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio, where we worked closely together – I as chief of staff to the president and Tom as director of public relations. Tom asked his provocative question right after I’d given him my nutshell description of the new book and lamented the hours I’d have to spend pitching the concept to the acquisition editors of a number of mainline publishers.
My immediate reaction to Tom’s question? “Not on your life!” I wasn’t about to get into the “vanity” publishing business, I explained, after years of writing bona fide books for reputable publishing houses. The thought of self-publishing conjured stacks of amateurish-looking volumes supplanting one of the cars in our garage. Well, Tom quickly set me straight, describing dramatic changes in the book publishing landscape in recent years that made it possible to self-publish books that are indistinguishable from the ones you’d see on the shelves in your local bookstore, and also to arrange for their distribution and sale.
Well, that eventful conversation with my long-time colleague led to my authorial declaration of independence a decade ago. Within months, with Tom’s help, I’d created my own publishing company, Governance Edge LLC, which has brought out five of my most recent six books – books that I not only wrote, but also own and sell.
But you don’t have to create a legal entity to get your own book published, as Tom explains in the podcast we recently recorded for this blog. Every CEO reading this blog is capable of writing a powerful book, drawing on her rich practical experience. In fact, you owe it to the field of public/nonprofit leadership to share the leadership lessons you’ve learned at the helm; the literature will be enriched by your practical wisdom. Of course, not all of you will want to add author to your resume, but if you do, you’ll find Tom’s podcast a treasure trove of practical advice and counsel for taking the book you envision from concept to bookstore shelves in a matter of months. My counsel: Go for it! It’s never been easier, and your colleagues will appreciate and benefit from your contribution.