Back in August last year I had a conversation with a literary agent the upshot of which was the idea for the book about Play that I’ve been working on intermittently for the past 10 months. It’s been very intermittent: the idea was sprung at a time when I was, as actors put it, “resting”, but that was a surprisingly short period and I was back into a number of pieces of work by September. Time seems endless when you’ve nothing to do.

I then got distracted by, in order, setting up WB40, a number of presentations at various events, getting up and running with three other new clients, launching into a massive house renovation project, learning to meditate, and once in a while just having an overwhelming desire to do nothing.

It’s a combination of factors going on; lots of stuff, an easily distracted mind, and perpetual writers block/imposter syndrome. Am I really a writer?

So the month of June is when I sort this stuff out. I either get a proper plan in place to deliver this thing, or I stop kidding myself.

There are a few things I need to resolve in these 30 days:

What’s the purpose of the project?

There are a stack of things I think I’m trying to do: properly explore an area of thinking; to theorise and create my own spin on the topic; to change the minds and approaches of other people (for the better); to have some fun; to get a sense of achievement from delivering a tangible “thing” (much of my work is quite abstract at the moment); to be able to “scale” myself; to build my brand; to add credibility to my work; to scratch an itch that I’ve had for about a decade…

Who is the audience?

My blog, dear reader, is written primarily for me. It’s a way for me to work out my thinking about stuff – sometimes implicitly, sometimes more explicitly (like this). A audience of “me” for a book feels very self-absorbed and like commercial suicide (I’ll saturate the market if I buy a copy, and why the hell am I going to buy a copy of my own book?).

So if not for me, then for who? Preaching to the converted, those who already see the value in adopting less structured approaches in working life? Or to the cynics of such unbusinesslike approaches? Is it a “business” audience or something broader? Maybe I need to find a book that I like that’s sort of in the same space and try to target that audience?

What is the literary format?

Am I writing a “factual novel” or creating a piece of journalism? Is it a manual? Would a series of interviews work?

What’s my target channel?

I’ve said to date that this is an exercise that needs to involve a traditional publisher. I have thought that I want to have someone else’s input and commitment (and a bit of their brand rubbing off on mine)?

But then I spoke to someone who runs a crowdfunded publishing business and I started to wonder if that was a model that rang truer with the values of what the book is about?

And if it did, then why didn’t I go the whole hog and self-publish? It worked for that one about spanking…

But books. I mean, they’re so 19th century! Isn’t there something else that’s more appropriate to the age?

But books. Just imagine. An actual book from an actual publisher…

I’ve a couple of future milestones, one absolute, one arbitrary. At the end of September I speak at the Silicon Beach event in Bournemouth. I really do need to have something rather interesting to say because otherwise I’ll humiliate myself in front of hundreds of people, some of whom I actually know.

The other one is the end of 2017. Because it’s the end of the year.

So far I have a book structure, an introduction, two written up interviews, one partially transcribed, one still in audio form only, and a long list of people who I have got to agree to be interviewed in the future. Later this month I’ll be meeting up with a long-time friend and publishing whizz Tracey. Tomorrow I will spend some time exploring the first big question: why am I doing this?

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2 thoughts on “1. Book reset: Where is this going?

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