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