Some years ago I decided I wanted to write the story of Neller Software for a number of reasons … and along the way developed an approach that I think applies to writing of any modern history book in a very cost effective and rewarding way.
But why is the first question when it comes to writing a book. Well…… Neller Software has played a very siginificant role in the birth and development of the Computer Software industry in Australia
And it had played a very signifiant role in my life and development in three different periods and in three very different ways.
1, I was sent to work there by my employer at the time Chrysler Australia to help complete a Payroll system we had bought
2 As an employee who went there as a techo and came out a few years later as a marketeer – an Analyst programmer who went on to become Product Manager
3. As Marketing Director and shareholder when the ownership changed and I was between jobs …. more about me and that later….. in the book.
So having the decided the what I needed to work on the how. Of course a comapny that had been in busienss for decades and gone from pioneer to industry leader had relied on many people to do what it did . As such it was vital that as many people as possible who passed through Neller over the years were given a chance to have some input.
But how to achieve this especially with no spare time and no budget at all. Well thats when I turned to technology and re-thought the how a couple of years ago and realised how much easier the whole process has become and as such I laid out the plan which I am now enacting.
Of course no such project starts without background research and looking for people, quotes, words and images. What better place to start these days than Google and using the Wayback Machine at archive.org to look at historical versions of websites going back 10 – 15 years.
And then when it comes to getting into production –
Firstly – How to track down all the people who had stories to tell? – FaceBook and LinkedIn
Secondly – How to cover the costs of time and outgoings to make the project personally worthwhile? – CrowdFunfuding eg Pozible
Thirdly – How to capture the input of so many without countless interviews and a lot of travel – WordPress.
Lastly How to publish – eBook and print books – Blog2Print
While there are a variety of tools that can be used I settled on the ones listed as I am familiar with them and they are the most commonly available and used. The approach I am taking to using each is as follows:
FaceBook and LinkedIn
The first step is to track down all the people who have stories to tell, pictures to provide and memories to build from. Clearly LinkedIn and Facebook is the place to start. Setting up a simple page on Facebook and on LinkedIn outlining what we are doing and then searching for people that we know is the start point.
LinkedIn will be the best people to find people as we can search n past employers and as long as people have listed Neller n the profile we will find them.
Crowdfunding eg Pozible
In the old days the only way to make money from a book was to get a publisher to pay an up front in advance. But these days you can get the potential buyers to pay up front ….before you start even.
So… in this case having found the people who lived the story (or parts at least) via LinkedIn etc and asked them to provide their memories why not ask them to contribute to the costs and some of my time.
As such via the CrowFunding approach you can go to the “market” tell them about your project and ask them to contribute money in return for exclusivity …early release, autographed copy, mention in the book etc etc
As with any project asking for money from your buyers before your product is ready is a great way to validate the market too. If nobody wants to buy why bother to write …apart from your own self satisfaction.
When Nikki and I “wrote” The Grumpy Old Managers Guide to Social Media Marketing we used as a base all the blogs that I had written in the previous 2 years.
As such in writing the JNA story the approach will be similar except I will ask others that contribute their own memories, pictures etc by giving them co-author rights on the blog site set up for this….. JNA2Eternity.wordpress.com
That way those stories/memories plus comments by others can be edited and form much of the content … In fact using a Blogging tool such as WordPress can be more effective than a word processing tool such as MS Word.
Another great advantage of using an online tool such as WordPress is the ability to easily add hyperlinks that can take the reader to a more detailed explanation…. rather than include it in the text or provide a reference list.
Once the blogs are completed their are now tools such as Blog2Print that can combine all of the Blogs into one document which can very easily be published as an eBook.
Also these tools provide services that will deliver printed copies of you eBook for around $10 each for a reasonable quantity.
With the tools and techniques available today its never been easier to write a book ….. all you need is an interesting story and the time to put it together