Making Survival First: Part 12 - The Manifesto
Half-assed books are worthless. Only a whole-assed book will have a chance at creating the opportunities I’m hoping for. To make a whole-assed book I needed a whole-assed team of baller All Star book industry professionals.
Since I'm self publishing Survival First I had to find the right people, synchronize them to my vision, and pay them. Spoiler Alert: I spent way more than I imagined spending, but built an amazing team and created something I couldn’t be happier with.
This will be a two part post. I'll this post I'll describe the journey to build my team and how I communicated my vision. In the next post I’ll describe who I worked with, the roles they played, how much the book it wound up costing, and how you can approach building your own All Star book team.
Originally, I didn’t think I would have to build my own team. Plan A was to go through the entire book journey with Scribe Media. They were going to coach me, pair me right the right team, and publish the book.
That didn’t happen.
Scribe melted down and went bankrupt (as of this writing they’re under new ownership and management). While shitty at the time, this wound up becoming the best thing that could have happened to me. I was plugged into the heart of a thriving ecosystem filled with recently-laid-off book industry professionals. I effectively had à-la-carte access to work with whoever I wanted without any external restraints.
But I still had to find the right people, and as somebody whose never done a book before I would have to get lucky and learn some lessons the hard way.
Before hiring the All Stars the most important thing for me to do was bring something good to the table. Even the best professionals can't turn shit into gold. In this case I had to write a good manuscript that had the potential to be great. Based on initial editor feedback, I had something good enough to move forward with. Once I got that greenlight it was time to build the team.
Well, almost time to build the team.
Before that I wanted to document my vision for Survival First. I figured the better I communicated what was in my head the easier it would be to filter for right people and get them up to speed once hired. This is what I cooked up.
Click here for the Survival First Book Manifesto
I imagine this manifesto isn’t what you would expect for a business book. Rather than business, I talk more about art history movements like the Renaissance and Baroque periods, and artists like Caravaggio. The central theme was about approaching this project first and foremost as an art project. The first reason for this approach was becasue….it seemed way more fun and exciting to take this approach.
There’s a practical reason too. Most people treat business books as well….business books. That’s why they all tend to look and feel the same. I’m betting that treating Survival First as an art approach will give it the best chance at standing out.
I’m also betting this approach will make my team more excited. I suspect a lot of book industry professionals feel creatively boxed in by industry norms and that artistically oriented project like this would ignite some latent creative energy.
This approach gave me a filter to work with. It meant I was looking for people who were not only experienced industry professionals, but creatives who will bring their own artistic energy to the project. This was why I wasn’t going to hire a bunch of bottom priced scrubs from Upwork who would see this merely as some business transaction.
Once I found the right people, I wanted to have a good relationship with them. This may not seem like a big point, but it was critical for me. I wanted full buy-in from everyone I worked with so they could bring their best energy to the table. I can’t imagine working on a project like this with people I don’t get along with. This is why I never questioned rates (not that they ever seemed unreasonable) and always made sure to pay them on time.
In the next post I’ll describe how I built my All Star team and how much the book cost.
More please! Jump on board the Survival First book train!