Elton Sherwin made a dramatic career change from corporate high tech job to venture capitalist at Ridgewood Capital more than a decade ago. Sherwin credits his first book, The Silicon Valley Way, for broadening his opportunities which led to Ridgewood Capital.
Sherwin was already involved in high tech, first with IBM and then Motorola where his last position was heading the Silcon Valley office of Motorola ventures. Although he had a foot in the world of technology start-ups, he was mid-career and looking for opportunities.
When Sherwin started his research on Silicon Valley, his goal was to uncover and reveal the techniques of successful Silicon Valley entreprenuers in a concise and usable format.
He found that a published book confers the author with a mantle of authority for his topic. Consequently, Sherwin was sought out for advice, speaking engagements and insights from the media. This PR led to making more connections in the industry and connections led to his transformed career.
When starting work on his second book, Addicted to Energy, he found that self-publishing via Amazon was the best route. The tools provided by Amazon are excellent, the quality of any printed materials is outstanding, author compensation is competitive (although unlikely to make one rich) and the author retains rights to his work.
Sherwin shared more tips:
- Allow one to three years to complete research and write your book
- Even if you self-publish, prepare a brief to guide your work
- Acquire your own ISBN to avoid the "published by Amazon" moniker
- Leverage new e-book formats by using visuals extensively
- Ensure your readers take away key points even if they are skimming content by writing great summary headlines and captions for illustrations
- Share first drafts of chapters on your blog for feedback
- Recruit many industry experts to review your book and comment on it
My discussion with Sherwin was valuable since it confirmed the next step in my strategy to enhance my influence. I had thought about writing a book and also investigated self-publishing tools on Amazon. Stay tuned.