October 10th, 2014

Lessons Learned from Two Failed Book Launches

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In the last 12 months I have failed to launch two separate books. It has been a process of being eaten to death by ducks, which I consider to be a somewhat humiliating way to die. While I am proud of how I have handled myself in the face of numbers difficulties, I have regrets for the impediments to action.

In November 2013 I was preparing to launch a Kickstarted publication containing worksheets and tools for special needs families. I postponed this launch (perhaps indefinitely) to better be of service to my friend Raun Kaufman’s book launch.

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In April 2014 I was preparing to launch a free e-book consisting of interviews with special needs parents. Days from publication I canceled this launch at the request of a lawyer. Regardless of legal right, I preferred to maintain cordiality with the organization that I was promoting.

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It has been an amazing process and I have discovered deep love of writing, publishing, and promotion. What I will examine, though, is the underbelly. The reasons behind why I failed twice in six months to publish resources that I see a need for in the world. I hope these will be useful to inspire others towards learning new things, and help avoid mistakes and especially the fear of failure.

Eaten to Death By Ducks

There is no one moment that I can point to and blame. There is no person to blame but myself. Each decision was my own and it is useful to see where decisions lead. Instead of tiny steps towards the end goal, in the last weeks before launch I took tiny (unintentional) steps away. There was a conversation with a friend where we discussed postponing by a week. There was a conversation with a lawyer where I had to consider my next moves. All decisions and responsibility rested with me, but by taking tiny steps away from the end goal I was eventually subsumed by minutia and failed to launch.

Set Dates, Stick to Them

I am extremely self-motivated. When I set out to do a thing I get it done. And one of the problems I have discovered with self-publishing or internal deadlines is that then I am responsible only to myself. By having no one outside of myself monitoring the launch dates of my Kickstarter, of example I was arbiter. By having no one else dedicated to a specific date it was well within my jurisdiction to postpone. If, instead, I had had commitment to backers, my clients, etc. it would have been harder or impossible to postpone.

Work With People You Enjoy

This is one of my greater mistakes. I have studied with several amazing teachers and mentors, but have been limited by what is available within their protective umbrella. Unfortunately, some of these teachers have also been very protective of their specific domains such that when I go to promote their work through unusual means or create under their auspices, I have been readily shut down. We are social animals and it is important to collaborate with others on projects bigger than ourselves. But I have learned to choose more carefully the people with whom I want work and the projects that I will work on.

Do Work You Love

I love the study of how humans learn movement, and practical philosophies that can expedite the learning process. As a result the topics of all that I was writing about and promoting fit within my domain of expertise. While my enthusiasm for specific projects waxes and wanes, my dedication to the overall studies that are summarized in my works has never faltered.

I recently did publish my very first book “How To Do A Handstand.” And I have more on the way. I suggest staying staying tuned via my mailing list, where I send out periodic updates and a monthly learning challenge I’ve tackled.


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