Today I’m on the blog tour for She’s Back by Lisa Unwin and Deb Khan sharing a piece about how they ignored the naysayers and brought their book to market. She’s Back is published by Urbane Books and thanks to Kelly of Love Books Tours for the invite.
About the book
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2019 CMI BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD
‘A must have guide to get more women back into the workplace.’ – Arianna Huffington
‘If you’re a professional woman who wants to unlock your potential this book is a must-read.’ – Sarah Wood, OBE
Women’s careers twist and turn. Women step back or step away for so many reasons. Then, let’s face it, returning is tough.
Whether you are coming back after a break, or looking to ramp up a level, this book is an essential guide and helps you succeed.
You’ll learn the truth about how the recruitment market really works; how to craft a narrative that explains your value; mobilise a network to support your ambitions and find work that will work for you.
Examples of real women’s struggles and winning strategies provide inspiration and will enthuse you about how to make your own comeback.
Lisa and Deb draw on years of research across several different sectors and their experience of working with and listening to the stories of thousands of women to provide a fresh, pragmatic and above all useful handbook for today’s fast evolving job market.
In a world of #MeToo and Time’s Up, She’s Back. And so are you.
She’s Back is available to purchase now – Amazon UK
How to Publish and Sell a Book that you are told no-one will want to buy
Lisa Unwin and Deb Khan, authors of She’s Back: You’re Guide to Returning to Work talk about how they ignored the naysayers and brought their book to market.
“If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it.” Toni Morrison.
We knew that our book was needed. So many women were approaching us with the same questions: why has my career stalled? How do I get it back on track? What am I going to do for the next twenty years?
And we had the answers. After three years working with women, conducting unique research, advising organisations and reading pretty much everything there was to read on the subject,we had not only some answers but also a plethora of powerful stories.
What could go wrong? Well, we were not famous, we had no hefty PR budget, we were novice authors, we didn’t have thousands of followers, in short, despite having a literary agent, we were not an attractive proposition. Some of the juiciest rejections:
● Career books for women don’t sell
Clearly, we ignored all this advice and pressed ahead. And here is our advice for anyone else who has a book in them and who is not quite sure where to start.
1. Be clear on who your book is for and why you’re writing it
We had a razor sharp focus. The purpose of our book is to help women pick up their careers again after a period either out of work or operating below their potential.
Yes, there’s lots below that, yes, men take breaks too, yes, organisational culture needs to change if more women are to succeed, yes, the cost of childcare is an issue, yes there’s unconscious bias at play, yes the recruitment industry needs to change.
There is more to it than that and it has a wider relevance, of course, but that’s were we began.
2. Find a publisher who shares your vision
We knew what was needed: something highly visual, entertaining, colourful, dip in dip out, handbag sized, with a modern, graphic feel. The type of modern manuel that inspires us.
We have grit, we persisted and eventually we found a young, innovative, like-minded independent publisher who “got us.” Together, we crafted a shared vision for what our book should be like and committed to a very tight deadline. Within three weeks we had nailed the title, the front cover and a visual straw man of the contents.
3. Break the elephant into chunks
Our initial thrill at finding a publisher was tempered when we realised we needed to write 60,000 words.
Once we’d picked ourselves up off the floor – we were used to writing 1,000 word articles – we realised that this wasn’t an impossible task. We sat at the kitchen table and worked out the titles of each chapter. The task became clearer – 15 articles, each of around 3,000 words. OK, that’s still not 60,000 but it’s definitely closer.
4. Find your tone of voice
We were clear that we wanted to talk to our audience in an authentic tone. We wanted them to feel as though they were sitting at the other side of that kitchen table, engaged in a debate. No jargon; no nonsense; no buzzwords and equally no patronising. If we ever wrote a sentence that sounded vaguely corporate,we would stand up, walk around the kitchen and say what we meant out loud.
5. Test it with readers
By far the most valuable thing we did was engage with our audience early. Apparently, test readers are a big thing amongst cookery writers, who use them to test recipes. We can thoroughly recommend them.
Our test readers gave us amazing insights and detailed feedback, but the most important thing they gave us was the confidence and enthusiasm to continue.
And we’re so glad we did. Here’s just one of the five star reviews given by a reader who liked what we had to say.
My type of book – the style avoids any kids of bush beating or walking on eggshells. It cuts to the heart of issues with no apologies or sentimentality. For change to happen it needs this kind of bold, brash and unforgiving celebration of all women have to offer.
About the authors
Lisa Unwin is the founder of She’s Back, a business whose purpose is to enable business to access the unique talent in women returning to work after an extended career break. A former partner with Arthur Andersen Business Consulting and Director of Brand and Communication at Deloitte, Lisa had a 20 year career in professional services prior to setting up She’s Back.
Deb Khan combines two successful careers, leveraging her background in the creative arts. She has a proven track record affecting change across a wide range of businesses in the Advertising & Media, Technology, Charity & Education sectors. Deb is a results driven Trainer, Workshop Leader, Facilitator & Coach.