About thirteen years ago, I was getting ready to go to a publisher with a manuscript I’d been working on for a couple of years. I actually hadn’t set out with the intent to write a book, rather I’d been going through some notes I’d collected over a thirty year career with the largest retailer on the planet. I’d only intended to organize my files in the event that some consulting work came my way. It was only after organizing and categorizing that I realized I might have something of value that others would want to read.
Before contacting the publisher, I selected a group of five folks that I really admired and asked them to critique my work. Two of them were published authors, whom I’d met during my career, and the other three were former co-workers that I knew would be honest with me about the work. For the most part, my co-workers gave me some very good and direct feedback. The two authors, however, responded differently. One didn’t respond at all. The second one’s response indicated he’d not taken very much time looking my work over and made sure to tell me that 99% of all manuscripts submitted were rejected. Aside from already knowing that fact during my own research, it was clear he wasn’t impressed and he certainly wasn’t encouraging at all.
The good news was that the book went on to brand me in my chosen market and in the community and state in which I work. It has sold to date about 15,000 copies and led to a second edition and numerous other publications.
The lesson here is that no one really knows for sure if something’s going to work or not. All we can do is our best work. All we can do is share our ideas and speak up. Critics and subject-matter experts can share their perspectives and they can point out what doesn’t match their expectations.
Truth Be Told, it’s up to you to care enough to share your project and your vision, regardless.