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Here’s what I believe:
I think the world is a better place when people are able to do what fulfills them and work in areas where they can create the most value.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to do that when you feel stuck. Maybe your boss is overbearing or your family isn’t supportive. Maybe you’re in a toxic environment or you hate what you do.
Some people say, “Quit your day job and do what you love!” That sounds nice and all, but it lacks practicality.
We all know people who quit their job to pursue their passion only to end up having to look for a job again.
Rather than quit your job, there’s another more practical alternative: you can overlap.
To overlap is to make a purposeful transition from what you’re doing now (like a soul sucking day job) to what you really want to be doing.
But the big question mark is the how. How in the world do you actually make money? There are plenty of fluffy quotes on social media telling you to live your dreams, but what are the actual steps to doing that and making sure you can pay rent and put food on the table?
I’m a practical guy. So I wrote a practical guide.
That guide is a book called Overlap.
I’ve poured so much of myself into this book. While I wrote it in the month of July last year, it’s something I’ve dedicated many years of my life to researching.
Overlap picks up where other books leave you wanting.
Overlap is the ultimate guide to turning your side passion into a successful business.
I’ve gone to great lengths to make this book timeless (as you’ll hear me talk more about in the upcoming segment). I also wanted the physical properties of the book to embody the timelessness of the principles inside.
I decided to self publish.
When it comes to design, editing, typesetting, printing, and more, we are working with the best of the best at every turn.
In all honestly, I originally had my sights set on launching the book in June of 2017. This was back in 2016 when I thought this would be plenty of time.
I got on an initial consultation call with my typesetter and told her my target launch date.
She interrupted and said one word that shook me.
This is where I’ll have a video update about the book pick up the story.
Going into this, I had no idea what it took to write a book. If I had seen a mind map, a flow chart, or an infographic of every stage of what it takes to write a book, and how long those stages take, average time, that would have been really helpful.
I didn’t have that at all, so I was blindly stumbling forward.
It was hard to write a book, but what was even harder was not knowing what comes next or how long that’s going to take.
Now, I’m at a more zoomed out mindset. When I wrote the book, it was all about writing, staying focused, and being disciplined. It was about getting the words out.
Now, it’s thinking about editing and realizing that when I look back, writing the book was maybe half the work.
I didn’t realize that editing it was almost exactly the same amount of work, and that’s even with hiring a professional editor.
I wrote the book in July of 2016, and I set it aside. We had some other projects going on. We hosted our first seanwes conference in Austin, Texas, but I also wanted to get some space from it and revisit it with fresh eyes.
It was really good, but it was a first draft. I wanted to come back to it and give it another pass, work at it again, before I sent it off to the editor.
The Editing Process
I hired a professional editor. He worked on the book for about two months. I could have given him my first draft, but it was too raw. I wanted to get it to a place where I was happy with it before I sent it to the editor.
When I came back after several months of it setting it to the side, on the back burner, I came back with fresh eyes, and I had a lot more clarity on it.
I knew the story I wanted to tell better, and I was able to improve it quite a bit before I even sent it to the editor.
I learned a lot of things with that. The editor can’t add things for you. I was omitting things. I was like, “This doesn’t need to be in there. We probably don’t need this chapter.”
Then I started seeing him cut something, cut some more, and cut some more, and I realized, “He’s never going to add anything back for me.” It’s better to give him more than less. I ended up taking a week off just to do preparatory editing before sending it to him.
He worked on it. He edited the book for two months. He came back, and I was talking with him about typesetting the book.
In my condensed time frame vision for what goes into writing a book—this is my first book, so I had no idea—I’m thinking, “You write it, you edit it, you print it, you launch it.” There are a lot of little steps in between that I glossed over, because I didn’t have the experience.
One of those is typesetting. Typesetting is the layout and the formatting of the type. It’s the interior design of the book, the letter spacing, the headers, the margin, line height, bullets.
It’s all of the little, detailed stuff, making it exactly as it will be when the printer goes to print and makes 1,000 copies or 10,000 copies.
Right now, we’ve got a draft that turns into, say, a Google Document, where I’m editing. My editor is editing, and we’re collaborating and going back and forth.
We send that to the typesetter, and they format that in some kind of program that adds all of the numbers and titles. We send that final piece to the printer. I asked my editor if he was interested in doing the typesetting.
I was thinking, “We’ll get it all done.” He said, “I could do it. I have done it. But it’s not really what I want to do. It’s not my specialty. I’ll go see if I can find this tool I could use. I’ll research it and get back to you.”
He researches it. I’m thinking, “Pretty soon, we’ll get this typeset and sent off to the printer. That will take a few weeks, and we can launch.” He goes and researches this tool, and he said, “It’s kind of basic. This will give us a finalized book that we could go to print with, but…”
He’s read the book. He knows my story, my background of being a designer and a typographer, and caring about the details.
He said, “It’s not going to be to the level of quality that you want.” At this point, I realized that I needed to find another typesetter.
I asked him some questions. We asked the printer some questions. They’re both thinking, “This is not a very intensive thing. It’s not going to take a very long time.”
The editor and the printer influenced me, so I thought the next steps wouldn’t be a big deal.
We go to a typesetter. I find a typesetter that I really like. I read a bunch of her articles. She’s very knowledgable. She knows what she’s doing. She’s been in this for decades. She’s very professional.
I was like, “I have to have this person. This is the person that I want. They’re very good. I want to hire them.” I contact them. We’re talking about the project.
I say, “The book launch date we have is June 13th.” Up until this point, she had been very courteous, just listening to me, mostly quiet, answering with short answers. Immediately, she goes, “Impossible.” I was like, “Oh, okay. It’s impossible.” She said, “Normally, it takes 90 days.” I was like, “Oh my goodness.”
This step that I almost completely overlooked, thinking we go from editing to printing, this step of typesetting, according to this professional who has done this for decades, takes 90 days.
I’m trying to figure out days that we can bring this down. The reality of it is that if you want it done well, creating a book is an intensive process.
From the beginning, I’ve set out with this book to make something of quality, something you feel proud of, something you could hand down to your kids. It’s going to be hardcover, cloth bound, the paper is high quality, and it’s written in a way that’s timeless.
I go to great lengths to make sure the things I say in the book, the analogies I use in it, are timeless. It’s not going to look dated in ten years.
Hopefully, my goal was to not make it look dated in 20 or 30 years. I wanted the physical properties to feel just as timeless. I know I need to invest in quality at every single step.
At every step, we’re working with the best of the best to make a quality book.
We’re hiring professionals. We’re getting the experts, and we’re not cutting any corners.
This is the first time I’ve ever written a book. It’s certainly the first time I’ve ever self-published my own book or made a hardcover, and we’re learning a lot of things.
When we launched the pre-order of the Overlap Book in 2016, I said, “We want to launch this in the first half of 2017.”
To me, that seemed very reasonable. That seemed like plenty of time. As it got closer, we were looking at a launch date of June 13th. It seemed like we could hit that.
After talking to the typesetter, we came to the conclusion that that was just not possible.
She said, “Is it humanly possible to hit that date? Maybe. But that’s not what we’re trying to do here. We’re not trying to churn out mediocre books. We want to make something great.”
The same with my editor. He said, “This is a really good book. You’re a good writer.” I said, “Thank you. That means a lot for me to hear from you, as an editor. I want you to help me take this book from good to great.”
At every step, that has been something we’re trying to do.
Overlap Launches September 14th
I asked the typesetter, “Tell me your recommendation. We told people we were going to launch the book in the first half of 2017. What do we say? If it’s going to take longer, what do you think I should do?
“Should we do this anyway, and should we just explain to people that quality takes time and sometimes things don’t go exactly as we expect? Sometimes, things take longer than we anticipated. Should I share the journey? Should I tell them and be transparent?
“Should I be honest and say, ‘It’s going to be a little bit later than we thought,’ or should we figure something else out?” She said, “If you want to make something good, people are going to be understanding.”
I was kind of beating myself up about this. I wasn’t even sure if I should push the date back. It’s pretty much going to be September 14th. That’s the new launch date, based on all of the things we have to do.
The new launch date is September 14th, 2017—that’s when we’re confident in saying that the book can launch.
That’s pushing back a few months. It’s really tough. I was beating myself up about it, because to me, the ultimate sin is setting an expectation and not meeting it. It’s saying, “I’m going to be there,” and not showing up.
I hate doing that to people. I want to be someone who’s consistent. The reality is, we made new mistakes. It’s good to make new mistakes and not repeat old ones, but it still hurts to make mistakes.
I was talking with my friend and telling him all of this, and I asked him, “What do you think? He said, “What’s something you’re looking forward to in 2017 as a consumer?” I said, “Interesting question. Star Wars is coming out. They said December of 2017 is the next Star Wars movie.”
He said, “Imagine if they ran into some troubles with production, and they said, ‘I know we said December, but it’s going to take a little bit of extra time. It’s going to take a few more weeks. It may actually be the next month.'”
“‘The alternative is, we could give you a sub-par movie on time, when we said.'” Immediately, I’m like, “No, take the time you need. I’m understandably disappointed, because you told me it was going to be in December, but take the time you need, because I want a great movie.”
He said, “That’s how everyone is going to be.” That’s my hope here, that people are understanding.
I hope people are on board with us. I was talking with the team, and the consensus is that:
We’re not trying to make the greatest book launch ever, although that would be the ideal.
We’re trying to make the best book ever, and I think we have.
I think that is this book. I think it’s worth doing well, because it’s going to stand the test of time. It’s going to be something great. It’s going to help a lot of people. I want to do it right. I want to do it well.
To everyone who has backed the book and preordered it, you deserve the highest level of quality.
Overlap launches September 14th. If you pre-order the book at OverlapBook.com, I will sign your copy and as of this recording we still have a special pre-order bundle there with a limited edition letterpress print, which will all be going away soon.
Thanks for your support and I’ll catch you in the next episode!