Expectations for Analytics: The Agile Way

Thoughts on the new book.

Introduction

“It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”

―Yogi Berra

The endorsements are in. The page proofs are nearly final. Ditto for the index and the cover copy. Next month, Analytics: The Agile Way hits the shelves.

Writing a book is a funny thing. If I’ve learned anything over the past nine years and eight books, it’s that making predictions about book sales is a fool’s errand. In other words, Yogi was right.

Muted Expectations This Time

I’m tempted here to revisit some of my previous texts.

Making predictions about book sales is a fool’s errand.

Because of the book tour, my profile, and the efforts of my PR firm, I thought that Message Not Received would do very well. It didn’t—at least by my admittedly lofty standards. I had similarly high hopes for The Age of the Platform and I turned out to be right. Brass tacks: writing a book is ultimately a crapshoot.

In a word, my expectations this time are muted for several reasons. First, I’ve learned that ambitious sales goals increase the odds of disappointment. Second, I’m teaching this summer at ASU and won’t be doing a book tour, nor am I contracting a PR firm. (If you’re interested in a media copy, click here.)

All of this is to say that, relative to my other books, I won’t be expending the same time, energy, and resources promoting Analytics: The Agile Way. (Generally speaking, there’s a direct relationship between marketing and sales.)

Beyond that, Analytics is my first book geared towards an academic audience. No, it’s a textbook (far from it), but it’s a solid effort. I can certainly see it reaching a certain level and the Wiley folks obviously concur.

Finally, I don’t need Analytics to sustain me for the next year or more. I’m very content as a full-time faculty member at ASU. If my new book sells 20,000 copies, as The Age of the Platform did, then I’ll consider it gravy.

Simon Says: Embrace the uncertainty.

Would-be authors looking for certainty and guaranteed sales and income shouldn’t write books. I can’t speak for all writers, but many write because they enjoy the process, not because of certain financial rewards. To paraphrase a line from Rush drummer Neil Peart (a notoriously reluctant touring musician for since the mid-1980s), “that’s just what a writer does.”

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