I wrote a book.
There. I said it. I wrote a book.
Even now that it’s published and out in the world it still feels surreal.
It’s not the first time I wrote a book, so perhaps digesting my accomplishment should be easier but that is not what I am finding. Instead what keeps going through my mind is how the !#@!! did I do that?
This book was not top of mind when Dave Hollander, Assistant Dean at the Tisch Institute invited me to teach in the Real-World Strategic Partnership Program at NYUSPS back in 2018. In that moment I just liked the idea. A real company (that semester it was jetBlue) gives the students a brief with a problem to solve. Students are divided into four teams and over the course of the semester they solve the problem, culminating in pitching their idea to the client to “win” the business for their team.
That was pretty much what my corporate career in media ad sales working for CBS and TimeWarner was like. I knew the drill. Now I had an opportunity to offer my graduate students a truly “real-world” experience.
I learned pretty quickly that first semester that crafting a pitch and then pitching it was a skill set that was not being taught. I should not have been surprised. I have sat through enough boring pitches in my life to have known better.
There’s a lot out there on how to sell and how to design slides, a lot I don’t necessarily agree with, some that I do. A lot of those books are full of more jargon than practicality. Invariably more are written by men than women.
I knew how to pitch. I earned a living for twenty-five years doing just that. I knew that the secret to engage an audience and “sell” your ideas was to learn how to tell a story. I also knew that most people do not really understand what that means.
Now that I was teaching this course I had to break down that process and create a framework.
That was how this started. With a framework. It was not with the intention to write a book. Just a framework to give some structure to a process that at first glance can appear daunting.
The more classes I taught in the program, working with Porsche, Samsung and EY, the more I honed the framework and the more I saw that the students who applied it were invariably the students who delivered the best, the most compelling and always the winning final pitches.
It sounds like it should have been easy, but it wasn’t. In fact, I don’t think I have heard many authors, fiction or non-fiction say writing a book is easy. It’s not. It never is.
While I never had children, I imagine this experience is a lot like giving birth. Some days are a delight and some days are hell. Some days you can’t wait to see this beautiful thing you created out in the world and other days you wonder what ever made you think this was a good idea.
And then it’s out there in the world and you’d like to think you’re finished, but then reality hits and you realize you are just beginning. Like a child a book needs care and feeding to grow. It needs nurturing. It needs your time.
I seem to have forgotten that second part in the last two years. I was too immersed in writing and rewriting, draft upon draft, beta reads from my students, hiring an editor, a book designer, getting new head shots and honing the framework to remember what comes after the birth of a book. I have to market it. I have to sell it.
I’d like to believe it will sell itself but I am a professional. I know better. There are few things that just sell themselves and even when they do, they still need to be found and that only happens when the word is out about it.
Maybe I hadn’t forgotten. Maybe I chose not to remember that the end is actually the beginning. If I had maybe I never would have started.
So that is where I am today. I wrote a book that I am very proud of and know will help a lot of people beyond my graduate students – anyone who wants to gets to better at crafting their pitches so their ideas are heard – and I am spreading the good word.
Note: If you do buy the book and you like it, Amazon reviews and social sharing are greatly appreciated!