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    Monday
    Aug222011

    Sixty Lawyers Were Sitting In a Room...

    ... and staring at ME. 

    This was my first talk about being a freelance attorney. And I have never been in front of so many people. In fact, I had never been in front of more than 20 people at a time. Not once. So yes, I went from 20 non-lawyers to 60 lawyers, in one seminar. 

    I was alone, seated at a table in front of a large room. All eyes were on me. I had an hour to fill, and the silence in the room was deafening. 

    And then I began. I said hello, introduced myself. The problem with speaking to an audience this large is when you talk to them, they don't talk back. You say "hello," and your "hello" is greeted with more silence. Which does not make the situation better.  

    Once no reply to my "hello" came, I merely continued talking. I told them that I am a conversational speaker, and I encourage them to ask questions as soon as they come up. I told them about my background, and how I got started working as a freelance lawyer four years ago. I explained what freelance lawyering was, and what it takes to get started. 

    And a question came - and I was so, so, so relieved to hear someone else's voice, not just my own, in that large, otherwise silent room. Gratefully, I answered the question. And someone else raised their hand. 

    I was thrilled. My "lecture" lecture had lasted only about 25 minutes - and then the presentation turned into a Q&A. It turned into a conversation. They were awake. They were excited. They wanted to know more, and they asked great questions. I was thrilled. 

    I had to cut our conversation short - my time was up. I closed with an invitation to pick up one of my business cards and email me with any questions they may have. I thanked them for coming, and for listening.

    To this day, I have not received half as much positive feedback for anything I have ever done as I did after that presentation. That was the day I became convinced that my message is important, that people want it, and most importantly, I am ready to deliver it. And so I began writing The Independence Track. 

    Thursday
    Aug182011

    Forgotten, But Not Abandoned

    Well, of course, I have forgotten all about the blog. Last time I wrote, I was waiting for a word from the publisher. Since then, the following has happened:

    - I turned down the first publishing offer.

    - I told the second company that I do not want to wait, and will self-publish.

    - I set up print-on-demand publishing with Lulu. 

    - I set up my Lulu account (going through some minor technical annoyances.. but all is well that ends well...)

    - Received my proof - the first ever professionally printed but not bound copy of my book.

    - Set up Insantpublisher.com - bulk printing, ordering some copies for sale to the first bulk purchaser.. and some copies for myself.

    - Sent out book launching email on 8/1/11.

    - received 200+ congrats from the email recepients.

    - Officially closed down SF office.

    - Moved into a two times bigger office in Campbell.

    - Scheduled 5 seminars at various Bay Area law schools. 

    So, I guess it's been a busy summer (the above doesn't include doing actual legal work, you know, the stuff that feeds me and pays my bills...) 

    But here I am. Working on the new Independence Track website. Playing around with various business models, payment structures, website templates. I think I will just turn this into the new Independence Track site...

    OK, now that we're all caught up... Stay tuned for more excited changes sure to happen soon!

     

    Thursday
    Jun232011

    Tomorrow, I May Get An Answer

    A large publisher's publishing committee reviewed my book and my book proposal last Friday, June 17. The editor communicating with me told me he'd get back to me with any news and feedback by Friday, June 24. I have ben nervous - more nervous than I have ever been about the book. 

    The original plan was to self-publish. Until an apparently unprecedented and unexpected rejection from Booklocker.com. They only accept less than 5% of the submissions, the owner said. And it took her a surprisingly short amount of time to say so. I thought it was strange. My book coach thought it was strange too. 

    But, as the cliché goes, there is silver lining behind every cloud. The rejection forced me to further evaluate my self-publishing choice, and, I thought, I may be better off with a publisher. 

    A friend of mine put me in touch with a legal organization that occasionally publishes books. The editor and I had a delightful nearly-hour-long chat, and I felt very positive about my prospects. She wasn't sure they'd be able to publish it, but mainly due to budget restraints. She did read the manuscript, and told me that it was "well written and engaging" - I feel my manuscript could not have received a higher compliment, paid by someone with decades of experience in the industry. 

    Then, I went online and found the number to the general editor of one of the biggest legal publishers, and cold called him. To my surprise, his response was quick, professional, warm, and excited - and he quickly put me in touch with the right department.

    The new editor, my main contact, told me he'll bring the manuscript up at the next commitee meeting, together with my book proposal, which turned out to be a 5 page long form attached to the email.

    Boy, was it a detailed form. I basically had to put down all of my thoughts about all aspects of my book. Who's the target audience? Why would they want it? How will I market? What competition exists? How will readers benefit? What's my elevator pitch? Why is now a good time for such a book?

    Fortunately, I have thought of all of these questions a lot, over the years, as I was planning on writing the book. I was thankful that I was not trying to sell my memoirs, or something equally useless - how would I answer the "how would readers benefit" question then?.. 

    Anyways, I filled out the form, updated my resumé, and sent it in. And now I wait. Because I was told the reply would come by Friday June 23, on Monday, if I don't hear anything, I can follow up. And I'm dying to know!!!