When One Succeeds, Many Can Succeed

Wendy TownleyFew things get my blood pumping like a new project. As a writer, these projects can vary from the short-term (blog post, essay, a press release for a client) to the long-term (my first book, Nerdy Thirty, published earlier this year). There’s just something about the clean pages, the list building, and the brainstorming that I find extremely gratifying and energizing.

With Nerdy Thirty, I spent the better part of a year editing humorous essays that were originally posted to my blog, and writing fresh essays on new, more recent experiences. Like many writers, although I have a cozy home office, I find my more productive hours are spent at locally owned coffeehouses in my hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. The energy around me doesn’t yield distractions; rather, it produces motivation. (And let’s be honest: the constant stream of caffeinated drinks can’t hurt my progress, right?)

Although the final product – in this case, a book – is produced in a largely autonomous work environment, it is shared by (one hopes) hundreds, thousands, perhaps even millions of readers across the country. The collective that can result from something like a book is exciting.

As I progressed through the editing and preparation process for the publication of Nerdy Thirty, I made the decision to share the experience with as many local creatives as possible. The book, of course, would be about my life, my experiences, and written in my voice. But other components of the book and its resulting (and necessary) marketing efforts could be allocated elsewhere. It would be my mission to allow others in Omaha to own a little piece of Nerdy Thirty. Its cover was the handiwork of Eric Downs of DownsDesign; and the clever (and highly sought after) Nerdy Thirty stickers were the brainchild of Steve Gordon of RDQLUS Creative. Even my author photograph, which has found its way far and wide online since the book’s publication, was made by Chris Machian.

Of course Nerdy Thirty is my book; but my approach in giving Eric, Steve, and Chris projects related to the book was equal parts strategic and gratifying. Why not provide local creatives another piece for their portfolios? Why not give them “bragging rights,” regardless of their volume, when the book was mentioned in breezy conversation over coffee?

Some have asked if “farming out” these components to different individuals was a wise choice. Some questioned whether my branding suffered. A few more cautioned me of negative feedback or hurt feelings of those involved.

The result, I’m delighted to share, has been anything but. There was no mystery surrounding the multiple parties involved in the branding and marketing of Nerdy Thirty, and as a result, I believe, these relationships were strengthened because of it. While Eric, Steve, and Chris cared for and looked after their Nerdy Thirty components, they remained busy on their own separate projects. In a way, us four worked together without really working together. And the end product (and the experience itself) has been nothing short of a dream come true.

If you’ve done something similar, let us know in the comments section.

When One Succeeds, Many Can Succeed

By Wendy Townley

Few things get my blood pumping like a new project. As a writer, these projects can vary from the short-term (blog post, essay, a press release for a client) to the long-term (my first book, Nerdy Thirty, published earlier this year). There’s just something about the clean pages, the list building, and the brainstorming that I find extremely gratifying and energizing.

With Nerdy Thirty, I spent the better part of a year editing humorous essays that were originally posted to my blog (http://wendywriter.wordpress.com/), and writing fresh essays on new, more recent experiences. Like many writers, although I have a cozy home office, I find my more productive hours are spent at locally owned coffeehouses in my hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. The energy around me doesn’t yield distractions; rather, it produces motivation. (And let’s be honest: the constant stream of caffeinated drinks can’t hurt my progress, right?)

Although the final product – in this case, a book – is produced in a largely autonomous work environment, it is shared by (one hopes) hundreds, thousands, perhaps even millions of readers across the country. The collective that can result from something like a book is exciting.

As I progressed through the editing and preparation process for the publication of Nerdy Thirty, I made the decision to share the experience with as many local creatives as possible. The book, of course, would be about my life, my experiences, and written in my voice. But other components of the book and its resulting (and necessary) marketing efforts could be allocated elsewhere. It would be my mission to allow others in Omaha to own a little piece of Nerdy Thirty. Its cover was the handiwork of Eric Downs of DownsDesign; and the clever (and highly sought after) Nerdy Thirty stickers were the brainchild of Steve Gordon of RDQLUS Creative. Even my author photograph, which has found its way far and wide online since the book’s publication, was made by Chris Machian.

Of course Nerdy Thirty is my book; but my approach in giving Eric, Steve, and Chris projects related to the book was equal parts strategic and gratifying. Why not provide local creatives another piece for their portfolios? Why not give them “bragging rights,” regardless of their volume, when the book was mentioned in breezy conversation over coffee?

Some have asked if “farming out” these components to different individuals was a wise choice. Some questioned whether my branding suffered. A few more cautioned me of negative feedback or hurt feelings of those involved.

The result, I’m delighted to share, has been anything but. There was no mystery surrounding the multiple parties involved in the branding and marketing of Nerdy Thirty, and as a result, I believe, these relationships were strengthened because of it. While Eric, Steve, and Chris cared for and looked after their Nerdy Thirty components, they remained busy on their own separate projects. In a way, us four worked together without really working together. And the end product (and the experience itself) has been nothing short of a dream come true.

2 thoughts on “When One Succeeds, Many Can Succeed

  1. Steve G

    Well written, Wendy! As one of the collaborators on your branded items, I know—for a fact—that it is possible to work on projects with other creative professionals and maintain the standards of consistency and quality of design, and the main factor may upset some but it’s very simple; control of the ego. Straight up. When Eric and I worked together, he trusted my design skill and my desire to pay attention to the detail of his original design. There was nothing to haggle over, because neither of us came to the table, egos a’blazin’! There’s very little to be so “mine-mine-mine” about when taking proper care of a client is paramount.

    As a matter of fact, you didn’t even have a brand initially, until the attention to detail and great collaborative mindsets began to turn out items that carried a great deal of of the necessary “sameness”, almost dictating a brand on their own.

    Continued success to you.

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