A little bit of self-indulgent feedback requested for my book project

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Christy_loveCan I enlist your help again for the Escape from Cubicle Nation book project?  You have been so helpful so far and I really appreciate it.

When I was in New York, I met with my book agent and we discussed my "positioning" for this project.  As any of you who have written or pitched books as a first-time author may know, in order to get interest from publishers, you need to be able to explain how you are different, unique and "fresh" compared to all the other people out there writing books in your same genre.

When my agent asked me what I thought was different about my message compared to other "start a business" authors, I fumbled around for awhile and thought it might have something to do with my many years experience inside corporations as a self-employed consultant, coupled with a pinch of California "woo woo" appeal, aided by a bit of creative "street cred" from many years training as a martial artist.  But mostly I ended up confused, and realized that I may be too close to my message to know what it means to the people I care most about helping:  creative, frustrated people in corporations who dream of starting a business but don’t quite know how to do it.

Publishers are always fond of creating composite characters just like movie producers are …

"She is kind of like Seth Godin lunching with Deepak Choprah, with a sympathetic Ann Coulter serving coffee"
"This movie is like Shaft meets Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragen with a Titanic love storyline"

So for those of you who have been following my blog for awhile and find it useful, here are two questions for you:

  1. What do you find different about me as a writer compared to other start-a-business-and-live-your-dreams experts out there?
  2. If you had to create a composite character for me, what would it be?  (this is really for my own amusement)

My own dream composite:  Christy Love and Jim Collins’ love child.

Thank you so much for your thoughts!

15 Responses to “A little bit of self-indulgent feedback requested for my book project”

  1. Marilyn says:

    If your book even remotely resembles anything by Dr. Phil, Suze Orman or (shudder) Ann Coulter (even a terribly nice version), I’m afraid I’ll steer very clear. 🙂 I’ve only been reading your site for a couple of months, so maybe I’ve misunderstood your focus. I thought “cubicle nation” was a mindset, rather than a literal workspace. I don’t work in “corporate” America–I work at a school, but I feel limited by corporate mentalities in my workplace nonetheless. What has impressed me thus far is that you’re not automatically assuming that your readers even KNOW what kind of work they want to do. I think a good many of us know what we’re passionate about, but might need some guidance in funneling that passion into practice. Your ‘pitch’ thing reminds me of “The Player”…and if I were to pitch what I’d like to read from you it would be something like “Barbara Sher meets Martha Beck on a quest for spiritual passion.” (Lame, I know, but it’s the best I can do at the moment.) P.S. Loving the podcasts. You have a great radio voice.

  2. – You are the synthesis of the right and left brains: creativity meets capitalism.

    – You inspire passion while maintaining a real world twist. Have fun, but be realistic.

    – Instead of providing a how-to manual, you give readers the tools to create their own reality. It isn’t about FINDING a job you love or a lifestyle you love; it’s about thinking outside what exists and CREATING a job you love and a lifestyle you love.

    Keep up the fantastic work, Pam!

  3. Nathan Black says:

    Honestly, I’m going to have to address this from my personal standpoint. What this blog means to me is that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I’m toiling away in my windowless office with a purpose now. Not to make someone else money, but to bootstrap myself into a business where my work contributes directly to my happiness and well being.

    You are providing realistic methods to achieve goals and dreams. Your suggestions are grounded both in personal experience and in experience in guiding others through this difficult transition.

    If you want to see what someone who is just starting to go through your methods might produce, you could look at my website. I know it isn’t standard fare, but it is a subject I’m pretty passionate about, and have been working really hard on in my off hours. I’m a mid level tech worker by day, tattoo enthusiast by night. My day job provides me the stability to pursue my passion. One day I’m sure it will begin to pay off. I’ve got a few plans to maybe make that happen.

    In any case, thank you for the inspiration and tips.

  4. Megan says:

    My apologies to Alvin for misassigning his line. Those horizontal rules really throw me off.

  5. Megan says:

    I think most business books assume that you already have an entrepreneur mentality. Unfortunately that can make the difference between having the knowledge and being able to apply it.

    I think your strength is in acknowledging that we can want a business without necessarily having the right mindset to do something about it. You offer an understanding of what the personal blocks are and how to deal with them.

    I love Carla’s “[it’s] not just about becoming a business owner, it’s also about creating the life you want.”

    And the mentality that you want.

    Think of it as a zen master guiding people to a cubicle-free nirvana-mind.

    ___

    Thanks Megan!

  6. I think your biggest USP is that while you deal with the nuts & bolts of starting your own business you focus more on the intangibles, mindsets, beliefs, and values behind WHY people want to flee the cube & start a business. The best business idea ever built on a flimsy foundation (the person, beliefs, and mode of operation) is just not going to work. You speak to the foundation.

    Hmmm as for question # 2 I would say Robert Kiyosaki meets Martha Beck meets Susan Sarandon.

    ____

    Very helpful – thanks Paula!

  7. Blondini says:

    The advice and hints and information you give are also relevant outside the US. Your book should reach and be helpful to an international market.

  8. Alvin says:

    I get the feeling like you’re not just about becoming a business owner, it’s also about creating the life you want, and therefore parts personal growth coach 🙂

    What I love about your writing is that it gives very clear and helpful insight into what it takes to get from over here (being employed) into over there (being self-employed). It’s not pumped-up fluff, it’s real and honest.

  9. Carla Golden says:

    Pam, I can so relate to what you’re going through right now as I am going through exactly the same thing with my book, trying to position it.

    What came to mind for you was the “holistic approach to entrepreneurial coaching.” I saw a definition for holistic that said: Holistic is
    any approach that emphasizes the person’s total well-being, including psychological and spiritual as well as physical aspects. That is definitely YOU!

    So many others focus on actions to take out there in the business world and you look at the other inner-directed aspects as well. Suze Orman comes from this perspective too, although of late I haven’t heard her talk about it. If you’re going to use Deepak Chopra make sure you don’t put an “h” on the end of his name.

    And PLEASE do not compare yourself to Anne Coulter! She is one of my least favorite people right now and, unless I’m mistaken, you are NOT like her.

    Hopes this helps. Maybe I’ll ask for some help on positioning my book, which is changing now also, as I reconsider the theme.

  10. Biblioholic says:

    Dr Phil combined with Suze Orman with Sue Johanson

    Dr Phil – tough love — “how’s THAT workin’ for you?” practical, accessible, clear, direct, bald (in all senses of the word), generous, opinionated (in a good way), polarizing (in that he forces you to THINK, not just DO)– if you really are committed, he’ll help, otherwise, don’t waste his time – surrounded by experts outside his own expertise – doesn’t believe anyone can do anything, including him — synthesizes the views of others into something that most people can understand — feel the fear and do it anyway. — failure is not only an option, but is also probable — learn from experience (did I say “how’s THAT workin’ for you?”) – if you don’;t try, you won’t succeed

    Suze Orman – another form of tough love — classy, energetic, alert, “face the facts” and get on with it, practical, accessible – start small and then grow into it

    Sue Johannson – speaks about what makes people VERY nervous and uncomfortable in a very matter of fact way – unflappable – funny – committed to the truth —

  11. basquette says:

    Easy. You’re the Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Betsy Ross, and Patrick Henry of entrepreneurs: you invent the means, help us govern our business models, lead the charge, make and fly the flag, and exhort us to fight to the death to preserve our business liberty. You’re like every founding parent rolled into one nice blogorific cheerleader with a touch of Martha Steward practicality thrown in for good measure.

  12. Oaks says:

    1. From what I get from your blog it helps people see that there is hope for people working in corporate America. There are still alot of people that feel that they are trapped(myself included). Your blog has given me a different way of thinking about life and how to take charge of it.

    2. I would say Dave Chapel(on the keepin it real mantra) meets Julia Roberts.

  13. John Dodds says:

    MTV Cops?

    oh no – that was Miami Vice. Getting my pitches mixed up here.

    Hailey Joel Osmond meets Working Girl (the movie that is) – she sees dead people!

  14. ann michael says:

    John – sometimes you scare me! (But…you always make me laugh)

    Pamela – I haven’t been reading your blog for very long, but I find you’re perspective quite unique. Every day more people are leaving their corporate jobs or deciding they want to. Many of these people (us!) have no idea how to prepare themselves for this and what to do once they make the move.

    They need a community that understands their unique issues. They need to define a new support network (not the “water cooler” support they may have experienced in the past). They need to learn skills and habits that will make them successful and shed the ones that no longer apply. To do this, it helps to have someone to point them in the right direction – you do that, quite well.

    This group is not the traditional “start a business” group and you don’t appear to me to be that type of author. So far what I’ve seen you highlight are all the issues we face that aren’t on the left-brained, task-oriented, check list we might find in most books about starting a business.

    You appeal to me because you are professional, real, and not an ounce “preachy” or patronizing. You understand that your audience is also made up of professionals that are doing real work, in new and exciting ways – through partnerships, consortia, virtual teams, and all the methods that enable us to be on or own but not alone.

    I don’t know if this helps you, but you help me – thanks!

  15. John Dodds says:

    The Hannibal Lecter of mentors lunching on the fetid entrails of corporate conformity?

    ___

    I think I have the catch phrase for my press release John – thanks!

    -Pam

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