Most of the people who follow us or have heard us speak know that we have written a book. Those who have heard us talk about social capital, relationships and our six laws of connection frequently suggested we write a book to share in more detail how an individual or organziation could harness the power of social capital to become wildly successful. So, we did . We wrote a freaking book. I don’t know if it’s a great book. But, I think it’s a pretty damned good book and I know that the stuff in this book is real and that the advice we share works. But, as we have discovered, writing a book is just the beginning if you actually want anyone to read it. There’s a step called “publishing” a book that is pretty critical if you want your book to have any real meaning beyond providing a sense of accomplishment.
So, as I reflected about our quest to publish our book and the obstacles, setbacks and frustrations we have faced, I realized that there’s a good lesson in here that ties back to social capital. When we talk about social capital, we always share examples of the type of social capital that you might have access to through your network. Maybe you know a accountant who will give you free tax advice. Or, perhaps you know a woman who is a recruiter and always has great job leads to share. Relationships with others can yield a lot of different kinds of value.
Our quest to publish a book revealed something about our networks which turned out to be pretty important. We both had large blind spots in our network when it came to connections within or related to the book publishing business. We didn’t know people at big publishers. We didn’t know people at small publishers. We didn’t know people who help authors self-publish. We had a blind spot. In our situation, our blind spot that wasn’t too critical until we decided to publish a book. But, may people have blind spots in far more critical areas. They may not have answers to important questions like:
- Who would you call if you lost your job?
- Who would you call if you needed urgent legal advice after hours?
Having a great network is really important. And blind spots in that network can be dangerous if they are in critical spots.
Our quest to publish a book also reminded me of a lesson that is a hard one to learn for a lot of people: It’s much easier to network with someone when you don’t need or expect anything from them. Ask anyone who’s been laid off suddenly and forced into networking to find a job. Relationships grow and develop better when they aren’t formed around a transaction (I need a job, you may know of one) but rather takes root in an authentic connection around a common interest or activity. The lesson many learn is that you must build your network before you need it.
We will publish a book soon. It is inevitable. Had we had the right social capital, it would probably be done by now.