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Advice from IR Approved Author Rick Joi: “Build beta readers into your book-writing process!”

Inspiring Work Anniversaries received a 4+ star review, making it an IndieReader Approved title.

Following find an interview with author Rick Joi.

What is the name of the book and when was it published?

Inspiring Work Anniversaries, published January 2024

What’s the book’s first line?

“Everything, everything, everything in our lives is dependent on the work of others.”

What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”.

If your organization has employees, then it has work anniversaries—and odds are they’re not great. But done well, work anniversaries can be a phenomenal opportunity to strengthen your workplace culture and improve employee experience. Armed with the knowledge in this book, you can make things much better with little or no additional budget!

What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event?

Through some unexpected twists in my career, I woke up one day and realized that I knew more about work anniversaries than anyone else on the planet. That meant that I knew that most of them are either missed or mediocre. I also knew that missed and mediocre work anniversaries did a lot of harm. And most importantly, I knew a bunch of inexpensive ways to improve work anniversaries that would add a lot of value to the world—much more value than the cost. I did a search and found that there had never been a book about work anniversaries. Considering work anniversaries are a holiday that can be celebrated by over 3 billion people in the world, I felt I needed to share my knowledge with the world.

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?

From a broad perspective, workplace culture has a huge impact on our experience at work and on the effectiveness of our organizations, and work anniversaries are a simultaneously easy and impactful way to improve workplace culture. From a more personal perspective, the book is for those who care about and are grateful for those they work with, and who want to make the world a better place to work together by sharing those feelings—and helping others share them—in meaningful ways.

What do you do for work when you’re not writing?

I’m the founder and CEO of The Workiversary Group. Our mission is to improve the world’s work anniversaries. We offer a number of free resources on our website. We also have a free software product that is built with a deep understanding of the concepts in the book—that work anniversaries need to be low effort, low cost, and avoid favoritism, and that they add value when they support a sense of purpose, belonging, and send a message that the organization is supportive.

How much time do you generally spend on your writing?

During the core writing of the book, I spent two to four hours a day working on it.

What’s the best and the hardest part of being an indie?

I loved being able to have so much hands-on influence over the layout and design of the book after the writing. Those decisions can have a big impact on the reader’s experience, and so I consider them a very important part of the process of delivering my message to the world. Nothing especially stands out as the hardest part, perhaps because I hired a freelance “book shepherd” who provided lots of experience and wisdom throughout the journey, which I think was really helpful in making it a smooth experience.

What’s a great piece of advice that you can share with fellow indie authors?

Build beta readers into your book-writing process! I had thirty beta readers read and comment on an early Google Doc version of the book. I learned a tremendous amount and was able to greatly improve the book using that feedback. And specifically, don’t ask people to read your entire book. Instead, ask them to treat it like any other book and only read it until the point where they would stop reading it—and then tell you where they stopped and why. That lessens the commitment and gets you great feedback. One of my favorite beta readers stopped reading part way through the introduction and told me they’d never read a book with that bad of an introduction. They then graciously explained their unexpectedly deep thinking on what makes a great introduction. Thanks to their insight, the introduction in the published book is a much-improved complete rewrite that has nothing in common with that early version. Every beta reader notices different things. Seeing how a wide variety of readers interpreted and responded to the book was invaluable for figuring out how to make it the best book it could be.

Is there something in particular that motivates you (fame? fortune?)

My two big motivations in life have always been to be helpful and to be creative. Put another way, I love making useful stuff. Writing and publishing a book—one that could improve an experience that most people in the world experience at some point in their life—was a great opportunity to make something useful.

Which writer, living or dead, do you most admire?

I’ve always loved books, and so it’s really hard to pick one. But in the genre of Inspiring Work Anniversaries, Barry Oshry is the one who’s coming to mind. He’s a pioneer in the field of understanding human systems impact on management in organizations with multiple levels of management. His books on the subject combined groundbreaking insight with truly artful presentation.

Which book do you wish you could have written?

Can I answer Inspiring Work Anniversaries? And then can I say my wish came true? 🙂

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