Ah, Fan To Pro. My attempts to give people advice on how to use their fandom in their careers. The first book I wrote — and the first book I rewrote.
Let’s ask just how it came to be, so we can share our stories of why we make books.
Fan To Pro didn’t start as a book. Or sort of did.
Fan To Pro’s origins go back to 2005 and 2006. Several friends and I kept discussing just how much talent there was in fandom. We wondered how we could support people, especially those wanting to use that in their careers. Our solutions were simple: we weren’t sure.
For a while, a friend and I considered a book, but we weren’t sure what to do. How do you take “hey, you could do this for a living” and make a book out of it? It went nowhere.
What did happen was we created a blog, now closed, called Fan To Pro (later MuseHack). This got us into blogging about careers and career news and introduced us to a range of similar people.
At the same time, I called upon my nascent coaching skills and began presenting about careers at conventions. I spoke on general career advice and brainstorming, and the act of speaking helped me mine my knowledge. This was around 2007-2009, after over a decade in my career, and I had a lot to share.
I also was always working on improving myself. I’d go to professional meetups, get training, and read books. I got exposed to the world of coaching and career books, and that led to a realization.
Why not share my geeky career advice from my point of view. Take what I’d learned and seen over the years and collate it into a book. I already had plenty of presentations and experience, after all.
This was an important lesson. I hadn’t realized what I knew or what I could share until I’d tried. Sometimes we don’t know what we know until we share it.
All my friends and family were supportive, so I got down and wrote my book. Also, they were kind of surprised it took me that long to realize my skills.
The first Fan To Pro was kind of mediocre. I mean, there was good advice, but it had an awful cover, some odd formatting, and there were a few things I missed. But I did get the book done, and I had a starting point.
There are some things where you have to do something and move on to see where you are.
But I wasn’t done. After a few years, I realized I had learned a lot, and it was time to rewrite the book. I sat down, got a professional artist, and revised the heck out of it.
The results were much better. I’m proud I wrote the first book, but I’m proud of the second book. I improved the style, added more information, shared my lessons, and organized it better. It was a far better book.
It also felt like I’d “gotten it all out.” I had shared more lessons, gone into more depth, and connected better with the audience. The book feels complete
Will I ever rewrite it again? I don’t know. I wrote it at a time in my life where it feels like a “got” the big picture. As my career continues, as I age, as the economy changes, I worry my more recent experiences are less applicable. Bluntly, I’d be afraid to screw it up.
But who knows – I never thought I’d do a book at one point in my life . . .