I’ve planted several trees…
I’ve birthed 2 children and God, later in life gave me 2 more through our blended family + a son in law…
And this week I released my first book, The Square-Peg Leader Delusion: The Art of Building and Leading Bulletproof Teams...
Hi meaningful leader,
In honor of this event, I’ve written a different type of article for today (we’ll go back to our regular content next week, pinky promise).
Today’s blog post not only marks the 40th article Iâ€™ve created for you throughout this year, but it also includes some insights about this book, the whole project, the good, the bad, the ugly and all my lessons learned, because sharing is caring and you are my tribe and what best audience could I find to share the details of my journey into authorship with, than you.
This project started out as the outline for a team-building course I wanted to create, but there are so many important topics to address in leadership that the content started to grow and grow and it started to turn into the outline of a book instead.
In full transparency, I questioned every aspect of this project…repeatedly!
- I’ve never taken a creative writing class.
- Who am I to write a book?
- Who would read the content I’m creating?
- Is there value in the ideas I have to share?
To quiet my doubts and test the waters, because I believe in measuring twice and cutting once, on January 4th, 2022 (40 weeks ago today), I launched this blog, and more and more people became engaged with its content and reach out with positive feedback (I’m not crying, you are!)…
Note: Isn’t it funny how a baby’s gestation period and this blogâ€™s life by the time of the book launch have matching timelines? but I digress….
Your feedback was the fuel that ignited this book and I committed time each day to write. It became my non-negotiable. A big part of this book was written on my phone, technology is great! I wrote while waiting to board planes at airport gates. I wrote during flights. I wrote during Uber rides. I wrote late at night when I couldn’t sleep. I did plenty of voice recordings while driving and later integrated those ideas into the manuscript. I wrote while eating my lunch. I wrote and I wrote and I wrote and I fell in love with the process of creating and with the idea of transitioning from writer to author and seeing my work published.
This book is not only about leadership and team building. It has the essence of who I am. In it, I share about my childhood, my upbringing, my love for aviation, the very first team I led, some of my favorite quotes, the ups and downs of my career, and my standard operating procedure (SOP) for building and leading teams.
I’ve poured my soul into this book and I’m proud of the results. It’s far from perfect, but it’s mine and I nurtured, edited and formatted every single word in it. And above all, I didn’t write it for me, I wrote it for the leaders out there who are looking for a more sustainable way of serving their teams and growing their operations.
As an avid reader, instead of book reviews, I like to find quick summaries in the back cover of books, so I know in advance what to expect (book reviews on the back cover are overrated plus I don’t have any yet ðŸ¤ª). Therefore, I included one, a summary that is and I’m sharing it with you at the end.
I also included some cartoons to help solidify some of the ideas through humor, while lightening up the mood, because some people jokingly asked me if my book was going to have pictures, so yes it does!
This project started in September of 2021 (a year ago) and the manuscript’s first draft was fully completed at the beginning of June 2022. I created a peer-review group and shared the manuscript with them to evaluate if the ideas were clear to anyone outside of my head. These generous souls read small parts, like the book hook, or the whole draft of my manuscript and provided invaluable feedback. Others walked the whole process with me, allowing me to vent and share what I was learning and offered support when I hit roadblocks.
Also, there were those along the way who kept reminding me that I wasn’t writing this for myself, but for my readers and helped me to get out of my own way when I was second guessing the quality of my work and called it crap. OUCH!
The Process of Self-Publishing:
The Photoshoot: I hadn’t had one dedicated solely to me, since my First Communion in 1983 so that was an interesting process. I hired Hazel Photography for a Branding Session. Aligned five outfits, picked up a friend for moral support, bought two large iced coffees,, and got my hair and makeup done. The session was a blast and Hazel made me feel like a rockstar. I got the perfect picture for the back cover of the book and several more for my website.
The Cover Design: I decided to outsource it to the talented graphic designer and author Gareth Southwell, based in UK (G for short), because I don’t like boring and conventional. Also, you DO judge a book by its cover, and the design we created evokes curiosity. Plus, think of how tiny the thumbnail of a book shows up in the search at Amazon on your phone. I wanted my work to stand out and I think we achieved it.
The Book Editor: I hired Hugh Barker, also from UK, who did an amazing job at correcting typos, questioning inconsistencies, arguing my excessive use of dashes, and who disagreed with my “making up words”. Hugh was fantastic to work with and he gave me the following feedback after completing his review:
Firstly, thanks for asking me to work on this. I really enjoyed working on it. I used to lead a small team, which I was OK at, but then when I got promoted at another company I had to run a bigger team and Iâ€™ll admit I was not good at it. Iâ€™m happier working on my own and didnâ€™t really think through all the things I should have done. Iâ€™m not sure Iâ€™d do much better now, but I do feel Iâ€™d have had a better chance if Iâ€™d read your book first.
…this was the goal behind the book…so, WOW!
The Cartoons: I love Randy Glasbergen’s office humor and I wanted to include some of his work throughout the book. I reached out to his team and got the green light to publish, after buying the copyright for them which is valid for up to 10,000 printed copies of the book and unlimited ebooks for one edition.
Jared’s Article: Mechanical Engineer, Jared Mauldin, wrote an amazing article about women in STEM on October 5th, 2015 for the Eastern Washington University Student Newspaper, when he was still a senior. His article has been since heavily shared online and throughout social media because it’s beautifully written and describes the challenges of women who embark in male dominated fields. It wraps up my ideas for the chapter “Women in Leadership” perfectly; yet despite the article being publicly shared, I needed Jared’s permission to include it in the book and this is what he answered me when I contacted him via LinkedIn:
The Formatting: I wanted to format the book myself because I wanted to have the control of how the final product was going to look like. I bought a formatting software and went to town. This process was super intuitive and so much fun, Vellum rocks!
The Publishing House: As a self-publishing author, I had to learn the whole process. I created Meaningful Leaders, Inc. so I can have my own publishing house, I bought 10 ISBNs (International Standard Book Number) under its name, so I still need to write 9 more books, say what?!?
I incorporated Meaningful Leaders, got my tax number so it can legally get paid for book sales and royalties, built this website (I had bought the URL meaningfulleaders.com over 4 years ago) , created my logo, formatted it and reformatted it, until I got the perfect one that I love…you’ll find it in the book as well.
The Copyright: I learned that you don’t need to copyright your work, you’re the sole owner the moment you created it, but I copyrighted my book either way because I don’t like loose ends or dealing with lawyers (again, measure twice…).
Printing on Demand: I’m using Kindle Publishing (KDP) to publish both Paperback and eBook via Kindle through Amazon. I made a mistake and publish the book without requesting the proof first on Sunday, Sept. 17 at 8:00 PM (because I didn’t read the instructions, shame on me!) and despite claiming to take up to 72 hours to publish, the book was up on Sept. 18 at 7:00 AM, freaking Amazon, talk about efficiency! My final cover design had a small error on the spine, so I had to take it down before anyone bought it. Thus, since Sept. 18 till the official release on Sept. 25, itâ€™ll showed as out of print – currently unavailable, yet I couldn’t change the publishing date so the book will have two birthdays (BIG lesson learned).
I also learned that when publishing with KDP, you cannot set paperbacks for pre-order, only eBooks…bummer!
The Book Launch Event: Okay I didn’t even know I needed one, but apparently I do. So my hairdresser put me in contact with the owner of the cutest coffee shop, called Macondo Coffee Roast, because Iâ€™m a coffee snob and what better way to launch the book than with friends, family and cafÃ©. So we are arranging the event for early October.
Overall, writing this book and publishing it has been a BLAST! I’ve grown so much in the process and my confidence bank account is doing great.
I found so much joy in writing, that I know now this is just the beginning. I already have the introduction for my second book and the outline drafted, and thank God for that because staying a one-hit-wonder has to suck! LOL
I hope you pick a copy, here’s the link. I hope you read it and I hope you find value in it. I wrote this book for YOU! Next time we run into each other, if you have it with you, I’d love to sign it (I haven’t learn that part yet, but I’ll figure that one out too).
I’ll leave you with the summary as promised:
Have an amazing rest of the week, read on and God bless,
PS1: among other things, I’m a stylophile (that means pen lover and I have a pen monthly subscription and gazillions of pens to prove it, don’t judge). Anyway, did you know that there’s a complete subculture about what pens are best for book signing depending on the paper, ink bleed, yada yada yada? yup, I learned that too!
PS2: The proof of the book arrived Saturday (9/24) at the house and holding the finished product in my hands for the first time was indescribable, I’m so happy this moment was captured in video for posterity…