This has been a hard one to keep to ourselves, but the time is finally right: We’ve signed a deal with a publisher to publish our next book.
Even though we had tremendous success self-publishing Getting Real, we decided that this time we wanted to write a best seller. We want to sell hundreds of thousands or millions of copies. We couldn’t do this on our own, so we decided to work with a traditional publisher.
To help us find the right publisher, and to help us navigate the process, we enlisted an agent. We hired Lisa DiMona on Seth Godin’s kind recommendation. Lisa had the connections that made the meetings that made the deal happen.
With Lisa’s guidance, we wrote a proposal which she distributed to about eight different publishers. Proposals were sent to big New York publishers, small indie publishers, and a couple in between.
We received positive feedback from almost all of them, and received a preemptive offer. We were planning to go to auction with the book in a few weeks, but one of the publishers wanted to make us an offer so we didn’t go to auction. After careful consideration we thought it would be best to go to auction instead of take the preemptive deal. In the end I believe this was the right decision.
Off to New York
A few weeks later David and I were in NYC for the Web 2.0 conference. We set up meetings with six publishers while we were there to meet with the publishers who showed the most interest.
The meetings were really interesting. At the end of the day they were all going to do roughly the same thing, but the way they approached the deal was different. Some publishers had more progressive royalty arrangements, some had more traditional ones. Some dangled big marketing plans, some were more low key. Some touted their current roster of authors and shared their books with us, some barely mentioned their other books. Some were flashy, others were modest. But we enjoyed meeting all of them. We learned a lot in those meetings. They were all good people, but we certainly hit it off with some better than others.
Picking the publisher
After two days of exhaustive meetings, David and I went over our notes. Most of our conversation revolved around the personalities we met. They were all big time publishers so we knew they had the muscle to get behind the book. They all had similar promises and similar plans to get the book out in front of the right buyers. Some could definitely pay more than others, but I’d say we figured they’d all be able to deliver the money as long as the book sold well.
But the personalities were different. And since we had to work closely with these folks for a long period of time, we wanted to find someone we felt comfortable working with. After talking a lot about this, we figured that there were three publishers/editors that we felt the most comfortable with. We told Lisa who we were most excited about.
The next day Crown, one of those three we really liked, decided they really wanted the book. They made a preemptive offer. Crown knew the auction was the following week so they wanted to get in ahead of everyone else.
We really liked their offer and we really liked their people. Their pedigree was impressive. Their author roster was solid. Rick Horgan, the Executive Editor, and the main guy we’d be working with on our book, has edited over 60 national bestsellers including books by Bill Gates, T. Boone Pickens, Maria Shriver, Fran Drescher, Henry Louis Gates, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Pete Sampras, Jackie Joyner Kersee, Louie Anderson, among others.
We took it. We signed with Crown.
UPDATE: We submitted the first draft of the manuscript a few weeks ago. Last week we got 20+ pages of personal feedback from Rick. The feedback was detailed, thoughtful, honest, and instructive. We were blown away by it (in the most positive sense imaginable). We’re lucky to have an editor who cares this much about our book. His feedback confirms our feeling that we made the right decision going with Crown.
What’s it called and when’s it out?
The working title is Unconform (descriptive subtitle TBD). We know that’s not a word, but that’s why we like it. It suits our core message of doing business differently and it’s a battle cry for all those who are willing to try something different. But titles are funny things so we’ll see how much we like it a few months.
We don’t know when the book will be out, but these things typically take a good 12 months to finish up, package up, plan out, and publish. When we know more about the release date you’ll hear it first here on Signal vs. Noise.
We’ll be sharing notes about the writing and editing process here. We also hope to share some behind the scenes footage (audio, video, and text) along the way.
So thanks for everyone’s support and we hope you like the book once it’s out!