Strategy, Tactics, and the Plan for the Next 97 Days

Have you heard the news about the death of publishing? Books are going extinct! Paper will cease to exist! Buy stock in digital ink.

Seth Godin, a mentor to me and the rest of the internet, recently announced his retirement from traditional publishing. Seth is perpetually ahead of the curve, so as usual, most people completely missed the point in responding to the news.

When I read his interview, I thought "Wow, I need to catch up." If I had twelve bestselling books, I'd say farewell to traditional publishing too. So everyone else in publishing, traditional or otherwise, who doesn't have twelve bestselling books needs to get to work.

Then I read something on a publishing web site with another author complaining that "The only authors who sell books anymore are those who have popular blogs."

This puzzled me. Where does a popular blog come from -- does the blog fairy descend from the sky with a passionate group of readers, all eager to support a new writer? Or does it maybe have something to do with consistent, dedicated work over a long period of time?

Speaking of Books and Strategy

A few days from today I'll head out on the world's first Unconventional Book Tour to 63 cities. Venues are now posted over here... at least for the cities I have lined up so far. I get a lot of credit for being strategic, which is overstated at best -- or more likely, completely untrue. I really don't have a strategy besides what anyone can see on the site.

But yes, friends, there is indeed a method to the magic. The method is called: Dream very big. Decide to do big things and then set them in motion.

My strategic plan is: say yes to everything. The tactic is: get up early and stay up late.

Whoa, so strategic! I know, I know... I'm really giving away the secrets to the store.

Next, get very smart people on your team, like Reese the Superstar Design and Nicky the Genius Developer. Together they do things like make the Unconventional Book Tour site come to life, where people can sign up, post directly to Twitter, and even volunteer to bring cupcakes. (And just wait till you see the World Domination Summit site... coming next month. They're raising the bar even higher for that project.)

The point is that you don't have to figure everything out before you get started. Dreaming comes first; details come later.

Which leads to another very important point: If you have a big dream, you should find a way to pursue it.

Derek calls it the hell yes moment -- when you hear about something that sounds amazing, don't worry so much about what else you have to do to make it work. Just say hell yes. You'll be scared about it in the beginning and happy about it as you work it out.

Now, the process of following a dream is not without stress and tension. The point is not to retreat from the tension, but to embrace it and live in it. I am frequently reminded of this quote by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi:

The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times... the best moments usually occur when a person's body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.

By the way, I'm also encouraged by Csíkszentmihályi because if he can be successful with that name, Guillebeau should be no problem. But I think the point at hand is: If you feel discontented, change it up by doing something challenging instead of something relaxing.

So for the book tour that begins next week, some things are good to go and other things have yet to be finalized. I have no idea where I'll be in Wilmington (Delaware) and Manchester (New Hampshire) and those stops are on the very first leg. I finally decided if nothing else, I'll show up at a Starbucks somewhere and we'll go from there.

But it's OK. It will be fine. I try to take everything step-by-step. Get on the plane and fly to New York City. Have a fun book launch with all of Manhattan at Borders on Tuesday night. Figure out how to get to New Jersey. Look up the locations of Starbucks in Delaware.

No worries. We'll make it happen with the help of a small army.

So, back to you over there...

What's your plan? How can you embrace tension and pursue a big dream? What can you say hell yes to?