When visitors enter the front door to my house, they have to come through a second door through a room that is covered on all four walls by books. Another few stacks, each at least a couple of feet tall stand next to the bed, and likewise, my son’s room is filled to capacity. Some people are carrying their libraries around in a device called a Kindle or a Nook: I’ve got a lot of books in one of those, too. I love books, and if you call my mother, she’ll tell you that I always have.
So, instead of responding to middle age by climbing Mt. Kilamanjaro, or sailing around the ocean, I’ve been writing a book, Social Marketology, which is being published by McGraw Hill, and will be available at bookstores or Amazon.com near you in June 2012. It’s an incredible challenge – one that I’m enjoying in so many ways.
Taking a brief break from getting my quota of words out today, I’ve reflected on some of what I’ve learned in the process. The first and foremost thing is that my respect for people that have written books has just gone through the roof. Whenever I meet my local writer friends like Tony Fletcher, or Holly George Warren, I bow, genuflex, and gasho – mentally, that is. Both of those guys are consummate pros.
In reviewing books on social media, I used to tear through them, underlining whatever I thought was prescient, pretty much ignoring the rest. Today, I more carefully study those texts, to see how they did it.
My friend Kevin Von Duuglas-Ittu (@mediasres on Twitter) introduced me to an online program called Workflowy that allows users to easily create indented lists. Besides loving the interface, I’ve found that the program is a great tool for helping my writing.
Paragraph by paragraph, I annotate each paragraph with a sentence that sums up the purpose of the paragraph. These reside in Workflowy in their indented and nested structures. If the chapter makes sense in Workflowy, then I know I’m on track. If something seems out of whack here, I know that I need to noodle the chapter structure.
Two of social media’s wunderkinds wrote some blog posts that I found helpful.
Chris Brogan’s posts on writing books: http://www.chrisbrogan.com/writing-a-book-structure/ – (and note the links to the related posts)
Geoff Livingston’s: Getting Ready for the Long Write was similiarly helpful: http://geofflivingston.com/2011/08/15/getting-ready-for-the-long-write/
On several occasions, my speaking engagements have provided me with some forced breaks. The wonderful part of those breaks is that I’ve been attending conferences like BlogWorld, PivotCon, Conversion Conf, BizzBuzz, and many others where I’ve had some killer conversations – many of which have added new thought and substance to the book in progress.
Another break that occurred for me was that after I was about a month or so into the book, my editor called and asked if I would write a small eBook. I’m of the mindset that you always say “yes” first, and then figure out the “how,” and this was no exception. That book, the DragonSearch Online Marketing Manual came out a couple of weeks back. The great part about writing that book is that besides being brief, it was based on the information that was already sitting in my head – gathering from years of being in the web development and online marketing business. This gave my brain a bit of a deflection, which I think in the long run was helpful. I’m not sure I’d design my next book project like that, but in this case, it was a big help.
Let’s not kid ourselves – there are a lot of books out there on social media marketing, and even more on social media in general. There are books that are heavy on the evangelical – helping people understand why these new platforms are turning the world upside down. A lot of others are heavy on the tactical – how to do particular things on particular platforms.
Coming from the application and web development world, I’ve always had a passion for process and process improvement – and ever since we founded DragonSearch, that ethos has been a large differentiator for the firm. Social Marketology is all about taking the process improvement mindset to social media marketing. I’m working to bring a body of unique thought and approaches to social media marketing – things that are not being discussed in existing books, conferences, or magazines.
If you’re interested in getting updates on this project, be sure to sign up for our blog updates, or connect with us on my Facebook author page at http://www.facebook.com/ricdragon.author