How to Request Blurbs
Claire: You have numerous glowing reviews of your book from other authors and successful people in business, can you describe the process for requesting blurbs from people?
Ed: I have two sources. Either individuals with whom I have worked or leaders at a certain level (usually Senior Vice President and above) who would like to provide a blurb. I send them each a personalized note requesting, not only their participation, yet an offer to craft the blurb if my colleague does not have time to create one.
Choosing a Title
Claire: After reading your book I noticed that the title Drive Your Career utilizes the word ‘drive’ as a double entendre, how did you come up with this title? During what stage of your writing process did you decide on the title?
Ed: The title came out about half-way through the writing process and was a suggestion by my editor, based on what she had read of the book. I don’t try to come up with a title—I like to let it unfold naturally —and when you get it, you get it!
Writing Engaging Anecdotes
Claire: I like the way you start each chapter off with an anecdote, do you invent these examples or were they based on real events?
Ed: All of my stories begin with a reflection of a real client engagement. In order to ensure confidentiality, I used self-created names to share the story.
Highlighting Key Points
Claire: Your book employs several full page quotations of your own points as well as quotes from many other notable people, how did you decide on these specific quotes?
Ed: I don’t believe that many of the readers often have time to read a book in full. Hence, I thought a great tool would be to recap a key thought or idea from each chapter to help readers digest key take-aways.
The Value of Books as a Medium
Claire: Your insights blog and your podcast Be Brave at Work both focus on leadership development. What do you think books as a medium have to offer your readers that they can’t get from listening to your podcast or following your blog or social media?
Ed: Different people learn differently. Some folks like audio and some like to read key thoughts and ideas. What may be ago for one may not be as good for another. Hence, I think all mediums are equally important to obtain as much information sharing as possible.
Inspiration Behind Drive Your Career
Lisa: What prompted you to write your most recent leadership book, Drive Your Career? What was your vision?
Ed: My first book, Raise Your Visibility & Value shared my thoughts and observations of leadership behavior based on my years in corporate America. Drive Your Career is a reflection of my thoughts and observations of leadership behavior based on my years as an independent consultant. I have always been inspired to study the behaviors of others and share these observations with readers in order to help them.
Lisa: What’s your favorite chapter and why?
Ed: I love the chapter entitled Play the Hand You’re Dealt as this is based on my own real-life experience, combining a personal activity with information that can help clients focus on the future.
Claire: In your book, you describe nine main ideas of ways people can take control of their careers. You allow the reader to decide for themself which idea they find the most important, but which idea has helped you personally the most in your career?
Ed: I did not list the main ideas in order of importance to allow readers to select the ideas that impacted them the most. That said, the idea that impacts me the most is the first story—Have a Positive Relationship with Your Boss. While the names I use are meant to ensure privacy, the first story is mine! I truly believe I was laid-off from Iron Mountain due to the lack of a positive relationship with my boss.
Advice on Writing a Leadership Book
Lisa: What advice do you have for our readers who are looking to write a leadership book?
Ed: I believe you need to understand your unique experiences and how those experiences can be converted into information that can help others. Simply writing your experiences is not enough. What is the point? How can this help me? How do I do it? These are all important questions a prospective author should consider answering for readers.
Lisa: You’ve written two leadership books, as well as chapters in two other books. What are some of the writing and publishing lessons you learned from the first three books that informed your most recent book?
Ed: You need a timetable; you need to be held accountable by another person; and you need to be flexible to the feedback of others. This is the base way to ensure you produce a body of work that can connect with others.
Advantages of Self-Publishing
Lisa: You self-published Drive Your Career. What are some of the advantages of
Ed: In today’s marketplace, I believe self-publishing, if your book has been professionally edited, is the right way to go. You control the volume of books that are produced and you obtain greater income from each book. I read an article a year ago that said that 95% of books published in the United States do not sell more than 100 copies. This is a call to self-publish!
Lisa: What advice do you have to aspiring authors when it comes to self-publishing? Are there any lessons you learned the hard way that you wish someone had imparted to you ahead of time?
Ed: You should want to produce a book that looks good—great title, great cover art, great paper color. Books that look good are more likely to sell than books that do not look good. Authors who plan to self-publish should take these concepts to heart.
Ed’s Writing Tips
Lisa: Any favorite writing tips for our readers?
Ed: My number one tip is to have an accountability partner. We all need someone to work with who can ensure we make progress and work through unexpected roadblocks. Do not make the mistake that you can do it on your own—a book is produced by a community of folks who honor your vision.
Claire: You make some very unique comparisons in your advice, such as thinking of the range of people’s receptions of your ideas at work as a bell curve. What are some other ways you as a writer try to articulate your experiences?
Ed: I believe that individuals can connect an idea with its point via metaphor. Hence, the use of the bell curve and a poker game. This is just one way to express ideas creatively, to connect with a reader, in addition to being explicit. I believe these can also ensure your stories are more enjoyable and read-able.
Working with an Editor
Lisa: You worked with Lynne Heinzmann as your editor. Were there any particular writing tips you picked up from that experience?
Ed: Lynne is a fantastic editor for three reasons. She is candid—if she loves or does not love something, she will tell me. She is creative—she truly understands what it is I am attempting to create and honors that in her feedback. She is timely—she always does what she says she will do.
About Ed Evarts
Ed Evarts is a leadership coach, team coach, small business strategist, host of the bi-weekly podcast Be Brave at Work, and author of Raise Your Visibility & Value and Drive Your Career. Ed helps successful leaders build their self-awareness so they can self-manage more effectively.