Are you on a mission? What is it?
If you’re not sure, you might ask yourself: What’s driving you? Why do you do what you do?
It took me a long time to find the answer, and it turned out that the answer came from the authors who work with my publishing company.
As a publisher, I have the privilege of listening to authors who are on all kinds of missions.
They’re all on a mission, which is why they feel compelled to write a book in the first place.
As I worked with them, I realized that Barlow Books, my publishing company, would be the publisher for authors on a mission. It’s inspiring for me to work with people who want to change something in the world, but it also means that the book we produce for them is just the start. We get them the very best PR so that authors can talk about their mission in traditional and social media. We’re also eager to help them speak about their mission in all kinds of places. Our authors have something important to say, and we want them to say it in a book, on stage and in the media.
That’s why, in our new website that we launched this week, we made it clear that Barlow Books is for authors on a mission. It might be a broad mission, like neonatologist Karen Pape’s mission to improve the treatment of babies with brain injury. Or it might be a very personal one, to tell the children what really happened to a family company, for example. It could be a business mission, like author John Ellis’s upcoming book The Zero Dollar Car, in which he tells people about the deep change to life as a result of Big Data. Or the mission could be to explain how a big law firm suddenly collapsed, as Norman Bacal’s Breakdown does in such a compelling way.
Some of the people who are on a mission share a personality trait in common. They are, as a PR person I know once said, “likeable shit-kickers.” They’re not afraid to take on the orthodoxy, or challenge the rules set by other people. They’re not satisfied with the received wisdom of the way things are and are supposed to be. That’s why they are driven to write a book and tell people about their idea, especially when it challenges the common perception of reality.
Not all authors on a mission are like this, of course. Clare Morneau, the incredible Grade 12 student who wrote Kakuma Girls, a book about refugee girls in Kenya that became a Heather’s Pick, does not sound like the kind of author who challenges convention. But she’s on a mission alright, to help teenage girls in the refugee camp get their education and even go to college.
It’s exciting to be on a mission. It drives you every day and makes life richer and fuller in the process.
What about you?