A WCA@Lunch Program Recap
As women find not just their voices, but success in their business endeavors, they are eager to share their knowledge and their passion. Writing a book becomes a natural next step.
Dr. Nancy Dome, equity consultant and author of Let’s Talk About Race (And Other Hard Things), and Jackie Insinger, who with degrees from Duke, Harvard and MIT wrote Spark Brilliance, both launched their books this year. As the featured speakers at Women Communicators Austin’s WCA@Lunch program in late June, these two successful businesswomen shared how they navigated the writing realm and the publishing world.
Facilitating the discussion on “So…You Want to Write a Book,” WCA Program VP Aurora Blase kicked off the conversation by asking about the inspiration for getting started.
Acknowledging that it was probably a decade ago that her husband suggested she write a book, Insinger realized that to take her business to the next level, she was going to have to embark on this journey. With two young children and a busy professional life devoted to coaching women executives in how to navigate the C-suite, Insigner pays tribute to her husband for helping her juggle the many and varied demands of family, business and authoring a book.
Dome, whose DEI work was expanding beyond its initial roots in the educational field, found that in hiring a COO two years ago, she attained not only order for her organization, but a champion for her work. With someone who could clear her calendar and create the space needed, she and her COO earmarked MLK Day 2022 as the book’s publication date.
Both authors wanted to retain the rights to their manuscripts and neither felt ready to self-publish so they sought alternative solutions. Scribe Media provided the answer with a hybrid approach that let each author select their desired services. The scariest part was the financial commitment but both realized this was an investment not just in themselves, but in their businesses.
Once deciding to write their books the process moved ahead fairly quickly. Dome found an immediate match with her assigned editor who lined out the work to be done on a weekly basis. For Insigner, finding the right match took a little longer. With data-driven material that involved a lot of neuroscience, she needed an editor who could grasp her concepts and help mold them into a framework that would appeal to high-level executives.
Seeing their manuscripts in book form made everything real. Then, conquering any imposter syndrome fears, each author had to reach out to peers and mentors for endorsements and back-cover blurbs.
The responses received in asking for endorsements and blurbs provided an unexpected validation for both authors. The same could be said upon publication. During the first week of her launch, Dome’s book made the Amazon best-seller list in four categories. Insigner’s work earned great reviews, along with several keynote speaker invitations.
When is the right time to embark on writing a book? As Insigner recommended, if you have an expertise, pay attention to what resonates with the people with whom you interact, and follow that thread. And, as Dome added, let perfectionism go. Get the big ideas down and tell the stories. Then, go back and refine. The key is to “get out of your own way.,” explained Dome.
Looking ahead, Dome is already at work on a companion workbook that she has entitled The Compassionate Dialogue Journey. For her, the ability to move right into her next project is based on the fact that writing is now a part of her week.
With the intent of using her book as a stepping stone for her business, Insinger is focused on leveraging the opportunities gained to expand and further develop her consultancy. Although she, too, is developing workbooks, her intention is to use them as exclusive offerings to her clients.
How much time did each author devote to their book writing undertaking? For Dome, she spent about four hours every week and that included 90 minutes with her editor. Insigner, who already had material prepared in the form of blogs and lots of data, spent five to 12 hours a week, primarily trying to figure out what information and content to include in her manuscript.
Now hooked on writing, Dome has gone on to complete The Artist’s Way course. Her biggest surprise has come from the demand for the workbook. Although she had questions and next steps outlined at the end of every chapter, she has discovered that readers don’t like writing in their books.
Insigner is working on narrating her own audiobook and is looking at launch package options. From comparing notes with a friend who was concurrently working on a book using a traditional publishing process, Insigner believes that while both she and her friend faced tough deadlines, by working with a hybrid publisher, she was more in control of her content.
As Insigner said, “Times are changing and you can be successful on your own.”
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