6 months ago on June 12, 2012, I published my multimedia ebook Camera Ready: How to Present Your Best Self and Ideas On Air or Online.
After having two kids and “leaning back” in my career (as Anne-Marie Slaughter and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg call it) by freelancing part-time for a couple of years, I was ready to mount my comeback. Since I knew I needed flexibility in any new work I decided to pursue, I thought consulting would be the ideal job. The ebook would be the cornerstone upon which to build my business as a video consultant. Or so I thought.
This is what I expected to happen when I published my book
I would begin to earn a “passive income” from ebook sales and I would ramp up the amount of media training I was doing at media organizations. Modeling myself on Gary Vaynerchuk (and who doesn’t?) I would pursue the new model of digital rock-stardom: write a book and after it goes big, write another book about how the first book went big.
This is what actually happened
1. I got 3 job offers. And I seriously considered one but decided flexibility was just too important to give up at this point in my kids’ lives. GOOD.
2. A pilot for a radio show that I’d given up for dead was given the green light. Coincidence? When it rains it pours. When people see you are “making stuff happen” they gather like moths to a flame, and other cliched metaphors. Since September I’ve been hosting a weekly segment, looking at how tech is changing the way New Yorkers live, called New Tech City for WNYC (part-time). GOOD.
3. My ebook (and multimedia ebooks in general) haven’t taken off like I’d hoped. It made the Top 100 Journalism Ebooks on Amazon (hey, it’s niche but I’ll take it). Yes, I know it’s a slow process and Camera Ready has done respectably but I’m impatient. SO-SO.
4. I realized that I wasn’t ready to hang up my own reporting and “content creation” spurs just yet. Freed from the reins (apologies for all the horse imagery in this post) of unimaginative corporate bosses, I refound my on-camera voice and I’m thrilled by the positive reception. The future of video is not just about indie online YouTube series: smart, creative, newsy video that educates and entertains is ON THE ASCENT. Check out the workshops I’m trying out with the new interactive platform Spreecast. EXCITING.
5. I discovered I still like working with people. Or maybe camaraderie has improved in the workplace thanks to the crappy economy? As we all become advisors, freelancers, and consultants does that mean there is more generosity and less in-fighting for corporate territory? Sure, few of us have healthcare, benefits, and pension but maybe freedom, flexibility, and the possibility of equity makes for nicer people. GOOD.
The Bottom Line
6 months after being published, my ebook succeeded in establishing my credentials.
Did it result in massive sales? No, not yet. But it catapulted me back onto the media scene unlike any plain vanilla job search ever could.
I thank my children for making me stick to my rule of flexibility, my husband for not laughing at me being so supportive, my Kickstarter backers for literally having my back, my parents for encouraging me not to skimp on production values, and the Vook multimedia publishing team for holding my hand and creating such a great end result.
A book can be your calling card and establish your credentials but is unlikely to be your meal ticket.
Write a book to show you have the brains and patience to do it and that you have something unusual to say. It’s an investment in yourself.
Manoush’s Spreecast workshops will be based on the curriculum and methodology laid out in her multimedia ebook Camera Ready (Amazon’s Top 100 Journalism ebooks). Her video expertise comes from years of reporting and producing for BBC News and Reuters Television. She works with organizations to make better video and is the host of WNYC’s New Tech City. Follow her on Twitter @manoushz.