My book Executive Charisma (McGraw-Hill) was published in 2004. Last week it showed up on some business bestseller lists, ten years later. Now that’s an early Christmas present for me! Not only did it please me to see renewed interest, but it means in April and October of next year there will be another royalty check in the mail.
I don’t write this to brag but to give you the back story. After my first book Lions Don’t Need to Roar (Warner Books) I thought, “That’s it. I wrote a book. I’ve done it.” But what I didn’t know is if it sells well, the publisher wants you to write another one. I thought I was a one-book person – I put everything I knew into that one.
Well, the publisher insisted, paid a nice advance, so I struggled to write another while thinking, “I can’t do this.” Until one night when I woke up at 3 AM and decided to change the words to “I can do this.” Went back to sleep, got up and started writing How To Think Like a CEO (Warner Books) which made all the big business bestseller lists.
So then I got hooked on writing and ended up publishing my tenth book this Spring, The CEO Difference (McGraw-Hill). When cleaning out my files yesterday I ran into one titled “Book Proposals” and started going through it. Although the publisher wants you to write another book, you still have to have a good idea so you pitch a proposal you think they might buy. In one six-month period, I presented eight different proposals to them. Each one was rejected until the last one (on the list that follows) hit the mark.
To give you an idea of what was rejected:
- How to Present Like a CEO: The Ten Keys to Commanding Authority, Influencing Others, and Leaving a Positive Lasting Impression
- Do It Everyday: 365 Tips, Tricks, and Tales from a Leadership Development Expert
- Beyond Brilliance: 101 Ways to Ensure Your Upward Mobility
- Busting Out of Pink Collar Prison: Career Advice for Women on How to Break Out and Prosper
- Fix It!: Today’s Business Leaders Show You how to Solve Problems and Become Tomorrow’s Leaders
- Top Dogs Talk: What Good Leaders Do and You Should Too
- The Heart of the CEO: The Human Side of the Public Job
- What to Do From Age 22 to be CEO by 42
Every pitch got rejected except the last one, which was re-titled and became my ninth book, CEO Material (McGraw-Hill). So when I brag about a new book, remember that it came after l-o-t-s of rejection. You and I just keep trying though, don’t we!