We put a lot of pressure on the elevator pitch. To describe our businesses, our projects, our jobs in a succinct one-sentence summary when asked at the backyard BBQ, "Hey, so what do you do?"
This answer becomes easier over time. But in Year 1 it's really difficult because you're not sure what the final project will be. It's still rapidly evolving.
For more background on how Long Overdue went from 4-5 different ideas a year ago to where it is now, check out this more in-depth article. For now, I want to show you where we're at as we head into 2020. We've boiled our mission statement down to eight words:
Long Overdue empowers people to create meaningful stories.
We start with the belief that everyone has meaningful stories to tell and everyone's stories are worth being recorded. These could be stories from your own life, things like memoir or autobiography, or could also be works of fiction, poetry, comedic essays, anything where you're sharing your unique thoughts with the world.
From there, we want to remove every possible barrier in the way of getting started. It starts by celebrating new ideas and never scrunching the eyebrows at an idea pitch. We know that it's hard to describe something new, something that isn't formed yet. Plus, the idea will evolve over time.
We also know writing hasn't historically been a very fun process. Writing brings back memories of five-paragraph essays in school. Work emails. Answering questionnaires. "Writing" and "Fun" haven't always paired together.
But if you get rid of the, "What grade will this get" pressure, we believe writing becomes an entirely different experience. As Jack Ridl says, "Replace rigor with joy and meaningfulness and things that matter." Perfection shouldn't be the pursuit. Let the rough drafts be rough. Don't be obsessed with finding missed commas or other grammar errors till the very end of the project.
If you're recording your own stories, we also appreciate that it might be easier to tell them verbally. If you're recording your parents or grandparents' stories, same thing. So we offer a program where you can record your stories or your family's stories then send us the audio file. We will transcribe it into a Word or Google Doc and help you begin turning these into a book. We also have a list of story prompts to help get you started.
And then, when you're ready to create the physical book, we understand every person has a different end goal in mind for their stories. Some may want to print out 5-10 copies for friends and family. Others may want to put the book on Amazon, available for everyone. And others may want to pursue a literary agent or publisher.
This is the divide between "Stories" and "Long Overdue Books." If you only want to produce a few copies for friends and family, that's what we call the "Stories" path. The goal here is to record and produce family libraries.
Long Overdue Books is for authors pursuing a wider release. We help you connect with your first 10-100 fans in a meaningful way. Then, if the dream is to go bigger than that, land an agent, have a traditional publisher, become a bestseller, we provide the platform to get your chapters out there. Something we believe will become more effective than emailing query letters and attached PDFs. We can't guarantee number of book sales--nobody can--but we can continue help your publishing pursuit.
Two different paths, one overarching goal. Empower people to create meaningful stories.
Because too many stories and books become long overdue. These stories aren't recorded or aren't even started because obstacles get in the way. Could be lack of time. Pursuing other thing. Could be fear and, honestly, it could be feeling like writing a book is too intimidating of a task.
We're building a more inviting starting point. Just build the book one story at a time.