Most would agree that writing a book and then getting it published is huge with a lots of blood sweat and tears.
I did shed all three and then some. Getting others to contribute on time and in the way that works is another thing all together. I remember speaking to my publishing consultant about my ideas of getting others to contribute and she sort of half nodded with a look that said, ‘nice idea but can you really pull it off?’ I did and here are my lessons of empathy, hope, gratitude, humility and good old fashioned pleases and thank-yous. It’s snapshot of the networking journey and those who weighed in to help me work my quirks;
- Empathy: Everyone single one of the contributors, reviewers, editors, consultants and illustrator came via my network. Some I’d known for decades and others in the last year. Forget what you know of people until you have to deal with them on a very personal level because that’s when you know that your timeline is yours and not theirs. I came to respect others even more as I got to work closely with them and they taught me empathy and learning to walk gingerly in their shoes too;
- Hope: As we got closer to the deadline, it emerged that a forward was required, and on a wing and a prayer, I asked host Lina Bourdan at a networking event to introduce me to Penny Power OBE whom I knew of from Ecademy days. Both said yes – and I thank them for saving my hide on a really tight deadline. Lina’s introduction meant that she was lending her credibility to me based on her knowing that I wouldn’t go and create a right royal cock-up in her name;
- Gratitude: My mum in the above photo, helping to cut the cake at the launch, always taught me to stay humble which helped a great deal as I sought others’ time to work with me. Saying please and thank you are a given but asking people to give up their weekends and free time to contribute to something they are yet to see was always a challenge and a major ask. Yet still, the contributors, Helen Walbey, Mavis Amankwah, Stella Fehmi and Rachel McGuinness selflessly provided their tips on their specialist areas to augment my knowledge. I only had to ask once and they said, sure, when do you want it?
- Paying it forward: The illustrator for the book was my mentee and God-
daughter, Amanda Quartey who’s passion for art is very deep but had never really done anything commercial in her name. I asked her if she fancied working with me on the project. Again, a huge yes – when do we start was the response. Her work is now showcased in chapter 7, where we look at what looks great in a professional woman’s wardrobe – big girl pants and spanx all make a delightful appearance;
- The right fit: I had the opportunity to speak with a couple of book publishers and I found the right fit for me in Sarah Houldcroft at Goldcrest Books who guided me through the writing, editing and publishing process. She has the patience of a saint coupled with a strong will to tease you back to focusing on your goal and the looming deadlines. She’s definitely a #bookduola in my book;
- 5* Reviews: A couple of reviews are always good for the reader before the book goes to print, Sarah dutifully informed me; and when I asked my network to support, they came and represented at very short notice. For that I thank Evadney Campbell MBE, Victoria Griffith, Lina Bourdon, Jenny Garrett, Candy Kisseih and Caroline Morgan — merci beaucoup;
- A Successful Launch was delivered by another shero, Paulette Harris-German who just brought her own sparkle on the day with her entertaining wit and people management skills as a super compere & host. It’s just comforting to know that your host will have everything sewn up on the night and she did just that.
I’m grateful to all the other sheroes and heroes especially my brother and legendary mixologist Douglas Ankrah for keeping us topped up with copious amounts of #PornstarCocktails during the launch. Thank you to all who have been there with good-will that has carried me through this journey. I’m reminded that we shouldn’t always go it alone because two heads are always better than one and three, four or more will be even better.
If you are looking for a summer read to get you ready for the September come-back, then grab a copy on Amazon in hard copy and on Kindle – it’s fun and full of tips and tricks for the professional woman in the digital age.
Here’s to working your quirks!
About me: My name is Lily Mensah, author of Work Your QUIRKs: The businesswoman’s companion for a sparkling personal brand, an internationally savvy personal brand connoisseur with a flair for creating professional and endearing presence on paper, in personal and online. As a branding specialist and coach, I work with talented individuals in projecting and articulating what makes them unique so they can stand out from others with similar qualifications and expertise.
As a fire-brand, I host my own radio show called #TeaWithLily where I interview the great and the good on tips and tricks for professional and personal growth. You can find me at www.lilymensah.com.