Action mapping book now available

Dig deep into action mapping and activity design with my new book, and find out the lessons I learned while writing it. Learn more.

Action mapping book now available

By Cathy Moore

action mapping bookMap ItMy new book, Map It, is now available in print and Kindle from Amazon sites around the world. Learn more here.

The book walks you through action mapping in way more depth than I’ve been able to use in this blog. You get 418 pages of detailed how-tos, examples, and even scripts for specific things to say (and not say!) to your client. Plus, of course, some gentle snark.

It’s all written with Cathy’s characteristic dry wit and humour and with a running story of a couple of learning developers in content hell. It’s as entertaining as it is informative. — Norman Lamont’s review

Free stuff

You can read a big chunk of the book for free on Amazon by using the “look inside” feature.

You can also download some action mapping job aids and see activity examples that relate to specific chapters in the book.

Lessons learned

In the interests of working out loud, here are some advantages I enjoyed from writing a book instead of, say, a series of blog posts.

  • Freedom to dig deep: I enjoyed having the room to write in depth. When you create blog posts, course modules, or those other quick snacks we’re expected to produce, you can feel pressured to simplify too much and smooth over too many rough edges. Expectations for a book are different. For example, I was able to dig way deeper into client management and problem analysis than I’ve been able to go in my other materials.
  • Freedom to take risks: In the book I felt freer to say things that could irk some people, because those statements are surrounded by a ton of context. A blog post or slide in a presentation is easier to misinterpret.
  • Freedom from a publisher: Some years ago, I sold a non-fiction manuscript to a publisher and it was turned into a book in the usual way. I also wrote a lot for trade magazines. These weren’t terrible experiences, but there was no doubt I’d be publishing this book on my own. I wanted to use my natural voice, which in my experience publishers want to tone down, and I wanted to make sure that the marketing fit my brand, not theirs. This meant that I had to learn about book publishing, but it wasn’t too painful. (Interested in publishing your own book? Patti Shank has been presenting on this and sharing resources, as well as publishing useful books for learning designers.)

I also confirmed a couple of lessons.

  • Reinforce the base before you add any more weight: The book was late in part because I needed to overhaul how I process the many emails I receive. I knew that a book would inspire more emails, and I was already unable to deal with the current amount. This required experimentation with several technical solutions and policies.
  • Seek professional help: I wanted to focus on writing, not production. So I hired this excellent book formatter to create custom Kindle and print designs, and this professional, responsive cover designer to make the outsides pretty. They both have far more skill than I could ever develop and left me free to write. (That’s one reason why I say that instructional designers should analyze and design, and someone else should produce the materials.)

Thanks, everyone, for your patience while the book slowly crawled out onto the market. I hope you find it useful.

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8 comments on “Action mapping book now available

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  1. I actually have a real paper copy made from good old dead trees with ink on over here in the UK, and I can say the book is brilliant.. Full of excellent guidance and very thought provoking. Written in the unique Cathy Moore style, I am recommending it to everyone in the business of training as a must read. it is really a breath of fresh air in all the pseudo psycho nonsense that is out there.

  2. Cathy,
    I can’t wait to get your book! I agree with you 100% about instructional designers analyzing and dsigning. How do I find that job?!


    1. Hi Cindy! It’s really unfortunate that our jobs have been increasingly defined as “Do everything from analyzing a complex cultural problem to creating an animated, talking poodle.” When I had actual jobs, I found that the bigger elearning developers (outsourcing firms) were more likely to separate design from production. I could focus on the analysis and design, and a team of much more talented people than I would create the graphics and make everything work.

  3. Thank you so much for finally binding your words in a book! Now I can point people to a book that walks them through action mapping end-to-end. I created cards for each obstacle type, and I’m using with clients in the discovery phase. Little tangible things sometimes make a big difference to keep them focused!

  4. Cathy, Thank you for this terrific book! I have always been a huge fan of your blog and familiar with the Action Mapping technique from e-book but I feel like I hit the jackpot with MAP IT!. It’s the perfect book for the current work environment where you have to where so many hats. I recently received the book so I’m only half-way through but it couldn’t be more timely. I’m applying the model to current projects as I read it
    and your detailed content, job-aids and providing the different scenarios that can occur between stakeholders, SMEs, etc…are priceless. Thank you!!