Before you take on any challenge – whether you are planning a trip to someplace exotic, or contemplating a career change, or whatever – there is always a step you will do first if it is available to you: You’ll ask other people how they did it. You probably won’t follow the same playbook as those who went before, but knowing how others approached the same challenge, and how it turned out, will narrow your choices. And that can help a lot.
After Dilbert became a big deal, people started asking how I was able to beat such long odds. Was it simply a case of hard work plus extraordinary luck, or did I have some sort of secret method?
The interesting answer is that my career unfolded according to a written strategy that I created after I graduated from college. I still have it. And on top of the strategy I have several systems designed to make it easier for luck to find me.
Last year I realized that my personal story has just the right amount of twists and setbacks to make good reading. So I turned it into a book that will come out in October on the topic of success. The title is How to Fail Almost Every Time and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life. It’s a non-Dilbert book that includes humor in some chapters, but it’s mostly a very different approach to the topic of success. I wouldn’t expect anyone to follow my systems and get the same results, but I think it is helpful to know which methods other people have tried and how it turned out for them.
Anyway, my publisher asked me about getting blurbs for the back cover. In publishing lingo, a blurb is a recommendation or positive review of the book that appears on the back cover, as in “A fantastic read. I couldn’t put it down. – Joe Blow.”
My problem with collecting blurbs in the usual way is that it feels like assigning homework to strangers. A typical blurb process might involve picking some famous authors in the success field and asking my publisher to ask their publishers to ask the famous authors to 1) Read my book, and 2) Write glowing reviews. The whole process feels wrong.
This is where you come in.
My publisher has agreed to print blurbs from you, my blog readers, knowing that none of you have read the actual book. What’s in it for you is that you might see your name on the back cover of the book.
The trick is to write your review in a way that addresses my general writing/thinking qualities as seen on this blog. You won’t be reviewing the book so much as reviewing me as a writer. Keep your reviews to a few sentences at most, and don’t be so overboard that it looks disingenuous. The trick is to say something positive that isn’t over the top. And don’t pretend you actually read the book.
I’ll select several winners from what I see in the comments and stick them on the book.