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All Write! How to Co-Author the Follow-up to a Rule-Busting Bestseller

Itching to get your name in print? Here’s a way to do just that: Join me in writing a follow-up to a best-selling book — one that broke all the rules of publishing in 2010.

Yes, I am shooting straight here, both about 1) you becoming a contributing co-author, and 2) our new book breaking a whole batch of publishing rules.

Here’s the backstory:

Last year, I edited and served as a contributing co-author for Business Model Generation, a book that turned into an international bestseller — so far, it’s shipped more than 115,000 copies worldwide and sold translation rights for 14 languages.

We didn’t take the usual path to success. In a blog post that explains the counterintuitive reasons for Business Model Generation’s success, Jeffrey Krames, the agent who represented us, wrote that BMG “breaks most every rule of business book publishing.”

Our book did break all the rules. It was:

  • Self-published
  • Authored outside the U.S.
  • Suboptimally titled
  • Too expensive
  • A non-standard size
  • Etc., etc.

But that’s not all. Business Model Generation itself became a living example of the innovative business models it advocates, turning the traditional publishing approach upside down by attracting 470 contributing co-authors from 45 countries — all of whom supported the work by pre-purchasing copies and providing feedback on chapter drafts.

Now, hang on. I’ve been bandying the term “business model” like a high-priced consultant. What does it mean, exactly?

Put simply, a business model is the logic by which an organization sustains itself financially. Kind of like a blueprint for an enterprise.

Given worldwide recession, white-hot international competition, and the U.S. financial market meltdown, companies (along with governments, schools, and other nonprofit organizations) are finding it essential to examine, analyze, modify, or even completely revamp the models by which they sustain themselves.

That’s where Business Model Generation comes in. By creating an understandable vocabulary for talking about business models, as well as a simple, visual tool for sharing those models, our team produced a work whose precepts have been adopted by thousands of companies worldwide. In fact, Inc. Magazine dubbed Business Model Generation one of 2010’s “best books for business owners.”

Readers, here’s your cue.

While working on Business Model Generation, I was struck by how relevant business model concepts are to our personal careers. Even people who aren’t solo entrepreneurs, I realized, can apply business model thinking to their own work lives. By reconceiving ourselves as “single-person enterprises,” we can take four simple, powerful steps toward reinventing our work. The steps are:

  • Draw a simple one-page “picture” of your career (see Business Model Canvas below)
  • Reflect deeply on Step One and decide how you want your career “picture” to change
  • Diagram your new, reconceived career
  • Act to make your re-envisioned worklife a reality

The process uses the Business Model Canvas created by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur:

I came up with the notion of a “personal business model” and proposed to the original five-member Business Model Generation team that we work together on a sister book: Business Model You!

The answer was a hearty yes, and the project is now underway at BusinessModelYou.com.

Please take a look, and if you are sincerely interested in career development, consider joining us as a contributing co-author.

While we can’t guarantee that our new book will also become a bestseller, if we work together with the right tools, the odds are in our favor — and yours.

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Business Model You! book site

Business Model You! Facebook page

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