Day 63 How to Lead by THE BOOK: A True Tale of Persistence!

I suppose that every author gets asked the following question at least once: “How did you get your first book published?” My answer is similar to most authors I know: “Very slowly! It was grueling!”

Back in 1998, when we sought a publisher for my first book, Selling Above the Crowd: 365 Strategies for Sales Excellence, I could have papered the walls of my house with publisher’s rejection slips. There were dozens of them. No one would touch the book for one primary reason: I had never published a book before! Thus, no one wanted to publish me because no one had ever published me! My wife Rhonda and I believed that this book would help a lot of people, so we never gave up. Finally, we decided to self-publish it. We financed the layout, copyrighting, cover design, and printing out of our own pockets. Without a publisher, we were unable to get the books into bookstores, but we were able to sell it through Amazon.com, at workshops, and through our own www.learntolead.com website. To our immense relief, the book took off through word of mouth and we sold thousands of copies. With this success behind us, we decided that I should write a book for managers. As a result, the idea for, No Nonsense Leadership, was born.

We thought that surely things would be different when trying to find a publisher this time around. After all, we had published a book that had sold thousands of copies! We couldn’t have been more wrong! The rejection slips poured in again! Since we hadn’t been published by a “recognized” publisher, no one took us seriously yet again! Undeterred, we also self-published No Nonsense Leadership and sold thousands of copies once again! Before we could submit a book proposal for my third book to a publisher, I received an email from Matt Holt, at Wiley Publishing (the world’s largest business book publisher), who had seen an excerpt from No Nonsense Leadership in a popular business magazine. I’ll never forget what his email said: “I just read your article in Executive Excellence Magazine and really liked it. Would you like to discuss book ideas?” My first reaction was, “Where were you two hundred rejection slips ago?” Matt and I hit it off and my third book was launched in 2003, Up Your Business: Seven Steps to Fix, Build or Stretch Your Organization. It proved so successful that I wrote an updated and expanded version in 2007. It’s been translated into several languages and has sold well around the world.

The lesson? Never give up! Have faith in God, believe in yourself and invest in your dreams! Keep finding ways to improve your abilities and add value to others, and you’ll outlast most of your competition. Stay in the game long enough to get noticed by the people that can help you and to attract their help and support. I’m now writing my eleventh book overall, and my ninth book with Wiley, How to Lead by THE BOOK: Proverbs, Parables & Principles to Tackle Your Toughest Business Challenges. Whenever someone asks what my favorite book is, I always tell them it’s the one I’m currently working on. But without a doubt, that first book that nobody wanted, Selling Above the Crowd, still holds a very special place in my heart. This is especially true as, twelve years after it’s initial publication,  I continue to get encouraging letters from salespeople all over the world who have changed their careers and their lives by applying its principles.