Buying a Business Book with Guest David Moldawer
David is now the head of business that creative live, which is tremendously exciting. Uh, but david kind of back story for everyone around the world. Before coming to creative life, david worked as a senior requiring editor at amazon publishing, and before that was a senior requiring editor at penguin portfolio who just so happens to be the publisher of the personal mba. So I had the very good fortune of when we're going through the process of thinking about the personal and b is the book. I had the good fortune to meet, david and david became the editor of the personal mba. So david is directly responsible for this book being as it is right now because he took all of the things that were not so great about the book of which there were many and made it a really, really wonderful, wonderful things. So david is as much responsible for the book being awesome ahs the work that went into writing. So I wanted to bring david here so we could have a conversation about business books, right? We...
talked about, um, buying a business book and getting value out of it's like you pay twenty ten, twenty dollars, and if you got one idea that helped your business it's paid for itself many, many times over so I thought I'd bring david david on so we could have a conversation about what what goes into making a business book and what's a good one and how is that process work? Absolutely submersible I want to say um if you haven't bought the personal mba yet josh is exaggerating it's a terrific book and it came in terrific I fixem spelling or something I didn't really do anything to it if you're enjoying the content that you've seen over the last two days the personal mba is is all that you actually sit down and and take your time with it and go back over and it's a different experience it's a complementary experience to go out and buy the book on the kindle on physical edition I'm very excited to see the second edition the book is out to the audio book did you read the audio book iaea and narrated the audio book that was a good time so it's a no brainer get all three editions yes yes all editions oh yeah so I actually haven't really publicly announced this yet, but the personal mba way we're announcing it live on creative live right now the personal mba audio book was nominated for a two thousand thirteen audie awards which is like the grammys of the audio book publishing so um pretty well it was a good time so yeah so as an acquiring editor for some of the largest business book publishers in the world how do you go out and find idea what what do you look for when you go about when you went about requiring a business book? Sure well, there are a lot of different kinds of business books. Ah, there are, you know, business histories you know, six stories of success in business then there are books of advice where there's ah core idea. And so for me as an editor, I was looking for the idea that transformed how I thought about business and if it had that everything else will fall into place it's a lot like a business in that way in fact, every book is a business is a start up and they operate by a lot of the same principle. So if any of you are thinking about writing your business book or many people watching right now are thinking about that, you have to think about the core concept and then that is the scaffolding on which everything else hangs and the idea here of doing away with or at least complimenting but really doing away with traditional business education and letting you know, taking this is your structure and letting and being teaching yourself learning the principals yourself with josh is your guide that was really exciting I mean, you will in that job you see the effect that he has I met him too and I had the same experience and I said this is a guy who has a has a remarkable ability to learn himself and also to teach others how to learn and that is that's really rare really powerful so I figured if we could take an ounce of that put that into a book you have something that people would really want to read that turned out to be true it's not always my instinct was not always correct but in that case it turned out to be true so you know with a business books the ones are really work it's an idea that you can encapsulate in one or two sentences and that makes people say I'd never thought of it that way before but you articulated something that I've sensed that I've suspected about how business operates that on the one hand it kind of justifies all the observations you've made here and there in your own work experience and things you've seen elsewhere and on the other hand it steps it goes one step back and it makes a theory out of a few observations and it all ties together and that that's what makes a really really fantastic business burke book work and that's what I look for when I when I went hunting so let's let's take people behind the scenes a little bit because there's a lot that happens when when you find something that may make an interesting or fascinating, you're useful business book so let's say you found an idea you found a promising potential author what happens? But how does it go from idea to having a physical book sitting in front of you on a bookshelf? It takes a long time, it takes a long time and it's interesting how many times people come up to me and say, oh, well, now that we have e books, then they should just be no time at all, right? You just have I have it all written down somewhere. So what is that, like a week? Like, what does it take you to do? Like, two weeks that's, not the case, andi, I've done books that have been a book only and it's just it's a lengthy process, so that so even when a book like this comes in the door, it's almost never written. In fact, in my entire career, I don't think I've ever worked with a book that was written when I when I bought it, typically it comes in the form of a proposal, and I think that that's that's a really important phase even and especially if you're thinking of self publishing your your business book to go through the phase of outlining what you intend to write thinking through your platform and how you're going to use your platform to market and sell your book, who the audience is the traditional elements of a book proposal that's a really useful experience just like writing a business plan for your business, figuring it all out, letting bouncing you know it off, the experts and people you can really reach out to his resource is before you actually start laying down the brickwork and writing the book on dh. So I take that that structure that's what I buy the book based on and then the author takes quite a point a bit of time to go from that stage to the first draft of the manuscript. That's a that's a lengthy process, people out always have, often, especially first time authors have understated view of how long that's going to take I've got all right now have got a plan. I wrote the sample chapter in one week, therefore multiply that by twelve chapters, and I'm done right. It doesn't work that way no it's, it's, it's nine months minimum, unless something really unusual is going on nine months a year, year and a half is what it takes to really flesh it out, because as you right, you're going to discover hidden connections and new opportunities for expansion in the idea that it's really going to flower as you work on and I'll be a part of the process is the editor. But even if you're working by yourself in self publishing, a book having people read drafts, discussing the ideas in the book, getting feedback, you're going to see that certain ideas resonate with people, certain ideas leave people scratching their heads, and that requires more explanation. Or maybe you should trim that out so there's an entire development process that happens, and then when the book is actually written, it's at that point that we got into an editorial process, which was quite a bit of fun. Yeah, the one thing that really surprised me, that that was different, that from my expert tate expectations going in and writing the book was, I really undervalued the amount of time you need to spend thinking about the structure of the book like what's the idea, how does it all fit together? How does it become this cohesive hole that makes sense to people? And at least half of the time I spent working on the book was changing the structure, trying to get to something that would actually help our reader. I know I probably drove david crazy with all of the very early attempts at trying to get the structure and just it wasn't working in the way that that I wanted it to work and david was really awesome at helping me figure out what that structure was going to be to get to the end result, which is a reader who knows a lot more about business is now more comfortable and is going to go out into the world and do something different. So once the structure was great, you know the rest of the draft came together way more easier and and that's where it's like final mate our draft manuscript send it over the david for editorial notes, and then we really do work on the polishing just a quick question. So here are some innovations in the industries such as guidance, domino project or even kickstarter. How that how does that change the way that the industry works? Well, it's, there's certainly more people, self publishing than ever and that's, you know, that's trending upward very quickly. But it is also more people with big platforms self publishing, which that's a big change. The idea of someone who has the ability to walk into a publishing house uh and is well known enough that they can. They can basically count on selling their book and having it published in the traditional way, choosing not to and because the tools are available and there are a host of advantages and disadvantages doing that I think for most people watching that's not ah problem that they really have to wrestle with I think but it's actually a really exciting time for anyone who has an idea this year because a business book is a really powerful tool for a business owner in the same way that block can establish you as a voice in your industry just to demonstrate your expertise you know a book is a great you know, talking point it's almost like the ultimate business card if you have even self published a book and conveyed this rick or ideas let's say you're a web designer or a photographer and of certain ideas about how your job should be done putting those down in a book and self publishing it on a platform like create amazons creates based platform or just a kindle addition even and then you can share that with people on you could say, well, this is what I'm about when you work with me as a freelancer this is what I'm about and then they can recommend you not just saying this guy's a great designer that can say read this guy's book because he understands something about what he does no one else understands no he goes he goes beyond just being a practitioner he's an expert and that's what these books accomplished for people at every level so it's the's tools are free they are easy and not at all intimidating so I really would encourage everyone to look into the options there's a host of them there's also a lot of bloggers and authors out there who are very happy to offer advice and support in and how to do that yeah and what I found that's really a hidden benefit of going through the process of writing a book whether you do it for a publisher yourself publisher or you do it on a block or whatever writing forces you to become very, very specific on what it is you're trying to say and why you are saying it and so just the benefit of clarifying your thinking by instead of having all of these jumbled up thoughts in your head putting it down on paper and explaining it in a way that's going to make sense to somebody else gives you a huge benefit because you have to become a way more clear about what you think and why you think it I found that really, really tremendously we're rewarding absolutely and if you want an example of a business book that is fully fleshed out and really does the job properly personal mba right here in paperback thank you so uh I always love asking you this question because of all of the people in the in the world you read as many business books as I do, eh? So what are some of your favorites what what are some of the things that are books that have really really caught your eye over the past couple of years that's a good question that's a very good question um can I mention books that I worked on that I've yeah absolutely feel great so books that I've that I've worked on that I've learned so much from just working on them in addition to the personal mba making ideas happen by scott belsky is great it is one of the best books on productivity if you're a fan of david allen but you're creative professional and you're looking for someone who shifts that message someone else who writes in that space on dh speaks to create a professional's is todd henry who wrote a book about the accidental creative which has some really tremendous advice in there um if you are a small business person or freelance or an entrepreneur john dance referral engine is another great book that really talks about how people interact with your brand and how they perceive you and how to get them talking about you that's really the best form of advertising there is is just one person telling someone else you gotta work with this guy um at heart you know, for people who are business owners it's your business this is that's how you get out there so those are a few that I would highly recommend and I know because I've read them multiple times. Excellent. Well, thank you for taking the time to sit down with us and help everybody around the world understand how business books get found on and are made. And what makes a good point.