Tuesday, May 9, 2017

PUYB Virtual Book Club Chats with George Finney

GEORGE FINNEY, ESQ., has worked in Cybersecurity for over 15 years and is the author of No More Magic Wands: Transformative Cybersecurity Change for Everyone. He is currently the Chief Information Security Officer for Southern Methodist University where he has also taught on the subject of Corporate Cybersecurity and Information Assurance. Mr. Finney is an attorney and is a Certified Information Privacy Professional as well as a Certified Information Security Systems Professional and has spoken on Cybersecurity topics across the country.



About the Book:

Once upon a time there was a company that made magic wands, but when they were hacked all the magic in the world couldn’t prevent their data from being stolen. If that company had a chance for a clean start, what would they have done differently? The unlikely hero isn’t a security guy. She’s a business elf who makes it her mission to change the way her company does business from the top down.

Most books on Cybersecurity are written for highly technical professionals, focus on specific compliance regulations, or are intended for reference. No More Magic Wands is different...it takes complex security concepts and puts them into practice in easy to read, relateable stories.

No More Magic Wands is available at AMAZON

Before you started writing your book, what kind of research did you do to prepare yourself?

I started writing the book while I was teaching an undergraduate class on cybersecurity.  It was a great way to generate ideas, because I was looking at all of the things that I had come across in my career with new eyes so that I could teach it.  At the same time, I started researching how the most successful books on management and leadership go about delivering their material.

Did you pursue publishers or did you opt to self-pub?

I met with a few agents and publishers as I was finishing the book.  They were all very supported and I guess I’m still interested in traditional publishing.  But I wanted to make the book as good as I possibly could, and I realized that I was holding back a little since I knew the traditional publishing route would involve a lot of editing and changes.

If self-published, did you hire someone to format the ebook version for you or did you do it yourself?  Can you tell us what that was like?

I actually worked with several editors, and I was able to learn enough from that process and online resources to do it on my own.  There are a lot of very technical steps that you have to follow.  One challenge for me was that I use both Mac and PC, and going back and fourth between them, I realized that the different versions of Word have some different features, like embedding fonts, that drove me crazy.  I’ll definitely hire this out next time.

If self-published, how did you determine the price?

I wanted to make the book as affordable as possible.  I’m not out to make a ton of money, I really just want to get the book in to people’s hands.  I’ve run several free promotions and I’ve gotten over a thousand downloads on Amazon, so I think I’m doing pretty well.

Did you purposefully choose a distinct month to release your book?  Why?

I wanted to release it in the early Fall, since October is National Cyber Security Preparedness Month.

How did you choose your cover?

I actually designed the cover myself using some iStock photo animations and by creating my own font.  I was inspired by the TV show, Mr. Robot, a little.  The cover is a generic magician with just some hands, a moustache, and a tophat.  But it also looks a lot like the mask and tophat they use in the show.

Did you write your book, then revise or revise as you went?

I do a little of both.  I write by the seat of my pants, which often means I’ll be editing on the fly as I change things or take things in different directions.  But I also was very methodical about editing once I was done…I think I spent about half as much time editing the book as it took me to write.

Did you come up with special swag for your book and how are you using it to help get the word out about your book? 

I’ve done some giveaways with the book, and I realized that with the whole Harry Potter thing, there are a ton of magic wand props you can buy.  I’ve given away a few along with the book.

Did you consider making or hiring someone to make a book trailer for your book?  If so, what’s the link?

I’ve thought about it, but just haven’t had the time!

What’s your opinion on giving your book away to sell other copies of your book?

This is my primary marketing strategy!  With digital copies of your book, it doesn’t cost you anything to give copies away.  And when I’ve run free promotions on Amazon, there is always a bump in sales afterwards as people get the word out.  But giving away print copies is also crucial.  I’ve been able to get copies in the hands of influential people at conferences or at lunch meetings.  Whatever I can do to keep the conversation going is important to the success of the book.

What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do before their book is released?

Get feedback – you need other people to help your writing get better.  You need a small focus group or a writers group to make sure you’re not writing something that makes sense and resonates with your audience.

Edit – if you don’t have at least 4 or 5 different drafts of just edited versions after you’re finished, you’re doing something wrong.  One of my biggest breakthroughs happened in the editing process, and it took a ton of work to make all the changes, but it really made the book so much better.

Talk about it! – don’t keep you life’s work a secret!  Bounce ideas off of people.  Get to know what your audience thinks.  Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas…nobody will be as passionate about your work as you.

What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do after their book is released?

Keep talking about it!  Keep writing!  Find your next project!

What kind of pre-promotion did you do before the book came out? 

I’ve set up a blog and facebook page.  I signed up for several professional review services like Kirkus, which have all been wonderful.  There is so much support out there for writers who have finished a book, lots of folks want to help you, it’s been a great process.

Do you have a long term plan with your book?

Part of writing the book has energized me about my career and I want to keep that momentum going.  I’m working on a new book through my blog.

What would you like to say to your readers and fans about your book?

I love hearing from my readers.  Look up my blog and let me know what you think, www.strongestelement.com. 

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