My Book is Finally Done! Now What?

I can’t believe it! It’s finished! I just sent the final edits off to my publisher and it’s finally done!!!

I’m popping the champagne – and I want to share with you some lessons I learned that are useful for any nonprofit leader with too much to do.

(And I also want to ask your advice about putting together a special launch team to work with me on getting the word out – watch the video to learn more!)

So what do you think… do you want to be on my book launch team? If you have thoughts about it, or want to apply, please go to this page and let me know!

And also, you can download a free chapter of the book right now and also sign up for free bonuses if you pre-order. All the information is available at www.NonprofitsAreMessy.com.

Video Transcript

I’m kind of pinching myself.

I’ve just finished writing a book! It will be published on March 6th by John Wiley & Sons. It is a real honest to goodness book, not just an ebook (although those have value.) It is called and here it is, Joan Garry’s Guide to Nonprofit Leadership. This is actually the final manuscript. Spending the day putting final edits on it, and I’m really proud of it.

I’d always wanted to write a book actually. Wasn’t sure what that would be about, but I always knew that I had something in me I wanted to write about.

I remember having this conversation with my agent who said, “Sounds like a good idea for a book and think about 70,000 words.” I was like, “What, 70,000 words?” Well I managed to come up with 70,000 words, about 200 some odd pages, and like I said I’m kind of proud of it.

I’m going to talk a little bit in an upcoming post about why I wrote this particular book. There’s a couple things I think are important that I wanted to share with you today.

I’ve written blog posts and op-eds and things like that, but books are different, really different. There’s some real personal investment in it and of course my team was very involved in helping me shape the book, and of course they read it and they really liked it actually. Of course they’re nice people and I do pay them.

Then it came to a point where I had to actually send it out to objective people. So I have to go out and look for people who will write book blurbs, there’s actually a verb for this now. It’s called “blurbing.” I made this really long list of people because I figured a lot of people would say no and most people actually said yes and people like Alan Cumming, and Jenna Bush Hager, the CEO of the Boy’s and Girl’s Club of America, UNICEF USA, the CEO of the Union for Reform Judaism. All these people who I admire so much had the opportunity to read the book and wrote really lovely book blurbs for me. Like “pinch me” nice, really.

You’re going to see some of those book blurbs on my book website, which I’m going to talk about in just a second. Before I get there I wanted to, as I typically do in blog posts, offer you a little bit of advice. It’s the advice that comes from having spent the last year writing a book when I already have way too much to do.

I thought to myself well that’s like a nonprofit leader right? You have all these things to do and then somebody drops a big project on you like strategic planning or what to do in the context of a new administration, boom, right smack on a plate that’s already overflowing. I thought my experience writing a book, while I also have a full plate, might be of value to you. I have sort of four and a half pieces of advice for you.

Here’s the first one, block out time for your project.

Now this may seem obvious but here’s the hook. Block out time and a half. I spent a lot of time figuring out how much time it would take to write a chapter and then I blocked out time and a half, so if I had to give it away or I just couldn’t manage it that day I still had enough time. So that’s tip one.

Tip number two, don’t always work in your office. It’s nice in my office here but it’s really distracting, so another office, a common workspace, a spare bedroom, someplace where you can stay focused.

Advice number three, chop a big thing into small pieces. Here’s how I approached each chapter that I wrote.

Session number one was the outline, sort of what did I imagine that chapter was going to … What was the journey in that chapter, where was I going to start, where was it going to take people, what was the road like? That was one session and then I’d stop.

Then I’d come back, so the second section, I’d come back and I’d tweak that but then I would move on to okay, what are the materials I need for that outline, what data, research, interviews, blog comments, whatever the pieces of the puzzle were that supported the outline, second session done.

Then the third session was the actual writing and it didn’t feel like I had a blank slate, I felt like I had an outline and I had the materials and that I just have to weave them together. It really worked for me, so something for you to think about.

The fourth one is one of those little trick things you do, is that I set my own deadline to get the manuscript to the publisher that was in advance of when it was actually due, so that if I blew the deadline I blew my own deadline. I didn’t blow the publisher’s deadline.

I have a bonus piece of advice which is you might want to consider getting sick on your vacation as a way to get through a big project. My wife and my dear friend Sylvia and I went on vacation. I got sick. They went out sightseeing. but I wasn’t too sick that I couldn’t sit at the table overlooking the mountains and crank out a couple of chapters. This is not an ideal strategy. I don’t highly recommend it but it did actually work for me.

Today that’s my advice for you about how to handle that big project in a world where you already have way too much to do. Now it’s my turn to ask for some advice from you. The book is done and it’s due out on March 6th and I have a little over a month and a half to start to promote the book, and I’m asking for your advice and your help. How should I best do that, what might that look like, and do you want to help?

I’ve decided on this idea of having kind of a swat team, a launch swat team. Maybe I’ll come up with some other name for it, maybe you’ll help me, that will help me to market the book on social media throughout the course of the next month or so.

I’m looking for people who are on social media regularly, pretty active, but most importantly are really interested in making sure that nonprofits thrive. I think that’s the biggest important piece here is motivation. If you think you have some ideas for the launch team or that you might be a good candidate for it click on the link below and fill out a very simple little application, and we will take a look at them and build this little swat team soon. I hope you’ll give that some thought.

I talked about the book site, now back to the book site. You’ll find it at www.nonprofitsaremessy.com (all one word.)

There you will find lots of information about the book. You will be able to download a chapter of the book and you will be able to pre-order the book and then come back and obtain some bonuses that we offer to you as a courtesy for pre-ordering the book.

One of the things that I learned is that pre-orders really are instrumental in building awareness for the book online and through Amazon. That the more pre-orders the more visibility Amazon and these other online retailers offer your book and therefore the more people who know about it and can potentially access the resources in it.

I think that’s it. Joan Garry’s Guide to Nonprofit Leadership hits bookstores and Amazon, etc. on March 6th. Think about whether or not you’d like to play with us as a member of our marketing launch team. Go to the book website at www.nonprofitsaremessy.com. Think about pre-ordering the book, downloading a chapter, get some of these bonuses and stay tuned for more information about the book as we get closer to pub date.

Thanks so much.

Joan Garry
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Joan Garry

Widely known as the "Dear Abby" of nonprofit leadership, Joan works with board and staff as a strategic advisor, crisis manager, change agent and strategic planner. Joan also teaches at the University of Pennsylvania with a focus on nonprofit communications and leadership.
Joan Garry
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  • Congratulations Joan! This is wonderful!

    • Scott. Thanks so much. Hope you will consider joining the launch team 🙂

  • Debbie Sanders Guilbault

    I really want to be part of the launch team! I filled out my application, so please consider me! Congratulations on achieving another bucket list item!

    • can’t wait to see the applications. hope we get a bunch!

  • A total dream of mine. I will follow your journey. Can’t wait to read it!!

  • Erica Waasdorp

    congratulations!! It’s not easy…

    Can’t wait to see the picture of you with the book, fresh off the press… i do remember that smelll. super, congrats again, cheers erica

  • Jackie Brown

    Hi Joan — your blogs have been so helpful. Through your insights, I have found a way to pare down what we do at my non-profit and thus make our services and mission clearer. Can’t wait to read your book (I’ve applied to be on your launch team, so “pick me”!)

  • Congratulations Joan! Quick Q: Did you use Scrivener?

  • Valerie Kosheleff

    Thank you Joan! I’ve found your podcast to be very inspirational and helpful for my anti-poaching nonprofit, Save A Horny Friend. Congrats on the book and I look forward to reading it. I don’t think I have the time to be on your SWAT team but will pre-order your book to thank you for everything you do for us!