As I looked into it more, I saw lots and lots of people already doing this. And they are way, way ahead of me, with long lists of clients, testimonials, multiple product offerings, appearances at industry events and panel discussions, published books, etc. Oy.
So out of the blue I wrote to one of these people who seemed particularly organized and accomplished. I just briefly introduced myself, commented on what I admired about her work and asked her to consider me as a possible part of her team (which her website implied she had, and which would seem like a logical way to break into the business). She was very nice to write back and gracious and complimentary. But she also said her current team can handle all the work she has now, but she'll keep me in mind for the future.
And somehow it occurred to me that I should write a book. More and more that's pretty much a given these days among marketers and PR people and firms. They all have books (like the one I'm working on for the ad agency), which serve as a calling card and add little bit of extra credibility to their efforts. Having a book says that you have a) a point of view; b) the ability to articulate it; and c) the wherewithal and follow-through to actually write it all down.
Now getting it published is a whole other thing. Doing that can add even greater credibility to the whole enterprise. But it's also a byzantine, increasingly fractured and more democratic world. More and more people are self-publishing, blogging, and doing ebooks.
I don't really care at this point whether I can and do get it published. (And the bar is quite a bit easier to get over for business books -- there are a lot of academic presses out there who publish this kind of thing.) I just want to do it, and I'll figure out along the way how it gets out there.
And I'm going to get it done fast. I've got bits and scraps of things -- ideas floating in my head, old blog postings, message board rants, outlines of proposed seminars, etc. I actually outlined two dozen or so individual chapters. My thought is it would be a short book. Booklet, maybe. About 15,000-25,000 words. Some chapters would be very short -- a few hundred words -- others a couple of thousand. I want to mix it up and make it a quick, fun easy read.
In the last three days I've actually written three chapters. There's lots to figure out -- the tone and the theme (is it "lessons on business writing from the world of acting?"), but topics will include using emotion, driving behavior change, storytelling, messaging, understanding your audience, finding the voice of the speaker and, of course, everybody's favorite, grammar pet peeves. It's not intended to be a comprehensive, A-to-Z manual, but a light, fast read with a mix of anecdotes, observations, tips and advice.
Most importantly, it will be something that captures my viewpoints and experiences. Just like my website represents who I am and what I've done, this will capture what I think. And it'll be fun.
My goal is to have a first draft together by end of June, which I think will be more than enough time, unless things suddenly get super-crazy.