I am writing this on my way to Sedona, where I am going to relax for a couple of days before starting what is sure to be a busy and exciting adventure.
So many of you have been with me on this journey for a long time, trading emails and blog comments, talking with each other on calls and even, occasionally, meeting in person!
I wanted to give you a little behind the scenes update so you know what I am doing in the next few weeks and why I am doing it. And for those of you who have similar plans to write books or launch programs or start a company, maybe my successes and failures can help you a bit in your own journey.
Here are some things you will see happening:
After what seems like a long time, the Escape from Cubicle Nation book will actually be hitting bookstores and shipping from online booksellers on April 30. A number of you got early copies with your pre-order, and I have been totally excited to hear your thoughts about the book. It seems like most of that communication these days has been happening on Twitter. I jump up and down in my chair when I imagine real readers holding the real book. It is pretty exciting.
I had the great fortune of giving my very first finished copy of the book to my Dad, when he was visiting here in Arizona. I know he reads my blog so sorry for embarrassing you Dad, but we both got choked up. My Dad has been hugely inspirational to me as a writer (I dedicated the book to him) and seeing his pride and excitement as I handed him the first copy is something I will never forget. See for yourself here.
The Book Launch
At a high level, here is what I am doing for the book launch:
- Coordinating with bloggers who have gotten early copies of the book and will post reviews
- Working with the media to get the word out by traditional channels like newspapers, magazines and radio. I am working with my publicist to schedule 20 interviews in different markets so we get broad coverage and reach people where they live
- The day the book launches, I am doing a call with Suzanne Falter-Barns, who encouraged me to create this brand and start this blog for a class assignment. I thought it was really fitting to talk about the whole journey from idea for a blog and brand that was a glimmer in my eye to full-blown book. Join us here if you want to hear the story! (My blog is not quite 4000 today, but it was at one time – Technorati is fickle!)
- I wrote a number of special pieces for the launch, some of which came out (like the New York Times piece, and an article The Myth of the Stable Job for Powell’s, the wonderful independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon), and some will come out later. I will be sure to keep you updated.
- We are going to see about live television after the book gets out in the world. Hopefully we can get some buzz going and producers interested, since the topic of layoffs, meaningful work and starting a business are very timely! You all know it is my dream to sit across from Matt Lauer on The Today Show and talk about the book, so let’s see what happens. And The Daily Show and Colbert Report are also on the dream list, so John and Steven, if you are reading (hah!), call me!
- I will be asking anyone who reads the book and enjoys it to spread the word to people in your life who need it. Seth Godin has influenced me a lot in this regard, with his views that things worth spreading will spread.
- For those of you who have the book already, if you are inspired, you can send me a short 1-minute video with your impressions, takeaways and thoughts for other readers. I look forward to posting some of these videos during launch week. You can send the link to pcs (at) ganas (dot) com.
After many years of your patience with my homegrown blog design, that many of you diplomatically remind me every now and again is hard to read, cluttered and clunky, I am shifting blog platforms and moving to Wordpress.
My hope is that this move will make the blog much cleaner, easier to read, and integrated with the rest of my business. While my friends at Typepad have been great over the years (especially my great buddy Andy Wibbels who works for SixApart- sorry bro!), it is really time to move to a platform that will support growth, look better and integrate with applications I want to use.
If all goes well, the new blog will go live this week, before the book drops. You won’t have to do a thing – the URL will remain www.escapefromcubiclenation.com, so it should be transparent. But for some of you who have been with me for a long time and who may have subscribed to my original Typepad URL, you may find you need to click the RSS button on the new site to resubscribe. I know we will work all that out after the launch, and like all technology projects, it will have some bumps along the ride. So thanks in advance for your patience.
I also know, from having worked on a lot of web projects over the years, that some of you will not like the new design or long for the old days. I wish I could make the perfect thing that will appeal to everyone, but of course we know that is impossible. I promise to give it my best shot and, at the very least, I promise to write good content for you. Change can be hard, even when it is good in the long run, so thanks for hanging in there with me.
New posts (or lack thereof)
I really apologize for my anemic posting schedule lately. This is what happened when I was writing my book, and it is happening now when I am getting ready to launch it. This is a matter of time, energy and sleep. In the final 2 months of writing my book, my husband took the kids out all day on both Saturday and Sunday in order to give me time to write. With kids aged 4 and 18 months, this gets really strained sometimes. I do my best to live with less sleep, and know that this hectic schedule will not be forever. But to my kids, it is harder. So I do have some hard boundaries about not working all the time so that I spend time with them.
I appreciate your patience so much, and look forward to getting back to writing meaty posts.
One of my regular readers was really upset with me in my last post because it seemed to him or her (the comment was anonymous, so I don’t know who it was) like all I was talking about was my book and some new programs I am working on. I have always believed strongly in sharing 80% of my content for free, and charging a premium for the remaining 20%. I learned this from Robert Middleton, who has a marketing philosophy and process that I find generous and ethical. So in the big picture of almost four years of writing this blog, I feel good about the balance, falling well into the 80/20 balance. Right now, given all going on in the business, you will hear more about the “business” side of my life. Given that this blog is about creating a life you love, doing work that has deep meaning for you and making a living while doing it, I hope you see it in that context. I would be worried for you if you never charged for your services, and gave everything away for free.
I actually like to raise this topic, because I know it is something you will deal with when you really get cruising with your businesses, and move from planning to launch. I have some specific thoughts about it and will write some posts in the near future on the topic.
I don’t pretend to have it figured out. It is a plain hard balance to achieve. I tease my friend Sonia Simone, who wrote an excellent post on this topic for Copyblogger called “Is Your Tribe Holding You Down?“, that I will leave it up to her to figure out the “poetry vs. commerce” or “sharing vs. charging” dilemma for us all. In the meantime, never be ashamed of taking care of your family, or charging money for your special talents.
I have been working behind the scenes on a number of new things that I am really excited about. We have a wonderful group working hard on their business plans in my new ongoing program Life After the Cubicle: A Quickstart Guide to Self-Employment. I am totally enjoying working them on their specific plans, and watching them support each other in the community forum. I have been wanting to provide a way to work with a larger group of people than my 1:1 clients for a long time, and this is proving very satisfying.
I will continue to provide one on one coaching services since that is the heart of my business. I never tire of the very specific work we do together, and am lucky to have a really special group of clients. I will keep the number of individual clients I work with to a reasonable number, since I like 1:1 coaching to be about 30% of my business
Now that my kids are a little bigger and able to function well without me at home ALL the time, I plan on spending a little more time on the road speaking. I have always loved to present to large groups and teach workshops, so I will be spending some time developing that part of my business. With the book coming out, there is a lot of content I can use to develop a one or two day workshop, so I may look at rolling things out in a few cities where I have other events planned (like New York, the Bay Area, Portland and Chicago, to start). Let me know your thoughts – would a live workshop be something that would interest you? I would love to hear what would be the most important content to cover.
So <phew> that is the long-winded update! Thanks for reading, and for your ongoing support.
I talk with a lot of other bloggers, and am convinced that I have some of the most compassionate, supportive and funny readers out there. Instead of having to field tons of controversy or attacks, I spend most of my time saying “thank you so much for your tremendously kind and generous comments!” What a gift that is, and I really do appreciate it.
Enjoy the changes this week, and if you tune in to the Today Show and see me ribbing Matt Lauer, you will know my evil schemes worked.