First published in April 2006
My first book hits the shelves in three weeks. My publisher and I currently talk almost daily as last- minute marketing and distribution issues are being discussed and resolved. It still all seems a little surreal. To list the emotions of being published for the first time would take a year's worth of blogging. The only thing to which I can reasonably compare it is the birth of a child. I watched both of my children enter the world, and it is a truly humbling experience. To see a being that you helped to create breathe her first breath, make her first sound, and start interacting with the world around her is frightening and amazing and exciting. I put my heart into Race Through The Forest over the past two years. My blog-master, Mike Sansone, suggested I write a few posts providing some background on how this book came to be.
For starters, I've maintained a love-hate relationship with business fables over the years. They are great mind candy for when I want a fast nugget of wisdom that doesn't require a lot of mental digestion. (However, I'm generally a person who loves to wrestle with what he's reading.) My future as an author came into focus over a weekend in May, 2004. My wife was teaching a satellite graduate class for our alma mater, Drake University, and had asked me to escort her for the weekend (she recognized that I needed a change of scenery). Having recently purchased Raving Fans, that would be enough reading material to get me through a short weekend away. It's really hard to argue with the premise of the book. Blanchard and Bowles are right: Differentiating oneself in the marketplace through exemplary customer vision and focus is key in today's world. It was the whole "fairy godmother" thing that made me shrug my shoulders. And the concepts were right out of Common Sense 101.
(Of course, I've had a bone to pick with Ken Blanchard for years. One Minute Manager. Yeah, right. When somebody publishes the One Minute Neurosurgeon and the One Minute Class Action Attorney, maybe I'll bother to take the One Minute Manager seriously. Yo, Ken, it's a LIFETIME JOURNEY. I also take offense at some of the "For Dummies" books, but I digress.)
As a project manager, I began wondering why somebody didn't write a decent business fable on project management. At least then there would be a business fable that people could read and then go back to their desks and actually use. Then the light bulb flashed. Why don't I write a decent business fable on project management? And Race Through the Forest was conceived.
Lessons Learned: With what are you currently dissatisfied? Why are you dissatisfied? What can you do to change it? What change of scenery do you need to view the problem in a new light? Any other first time authors out there care to comment?
Author's Footnote: It's been three years and I still feel the same about business fables. Steve Farber is about the only one I've read who can really write one that is engaging, challenging, and entertaining. And even though it's the second time around for this book, I still have the same level of excitement and emotion. July 1 is the release date, and the new link is up!