Breaking into publishing

June 4, 2008

Just returning from the Book Expo America (BEA) in LA. Wow! It is overwhelming how big this book industry is when observing it as a whole at the Staples Center. Last year over 400,000 books were published, so far this year 395, 405 books have been published. There is a tidal wave of new books coming to market. The bridge between book writers and book readers may be becoming smaller. Soon we may see that each writer is only writing for one or two readers a float in this rising tide. Given that it has taken me over three years to get all of my thinking out on the subject of why exceptional leaders use questions to lead – it would be amazingly inefficient to think only a few people will read the book. Thanks in a large part to David Brake at Content Connections, the marketing and book development firm that I have been associated with on this project, I don’t think this book will have a difficult time seeing the light of day. At least we know that over 300 people have already been part of the review process and have read all or part of the book.

At BEA we were inundated with the concepts around social networking. We learned about blogging, widgets, texting, book video trailers, who knew there were so many ways to reach out to the audience. Then a group of authors began a debate whether the author should be involved in his or her own marketing or if it should be left to the publisher. To me, a marketer, I never understood the idea of having such a debate in the first place. Ben Franklin became known because he marketed his publishing works through his own publishing business, and Mark Twain use to rent halls to tell stories to become known. It seems that those of us who would like our thoughts to be read, heard, and reflected upon will need to take responsibility for shouting out to the world to pay attention to us. It would be nice to think that it could be another course – just think, write and let the publishers carry our banner. Perhaps there was a time, and it was not at the beginning of the publishing industry and it is certainly not now. Which to me says those of us who would like to share and love to market may have a better boat in a flood of authors.

David Brake introduced me to the folks at McGraw Hill and Wiley at the book fair. Both had a very active interest in becoming the publisher of Just Ask – Greatness Happens When You Ask. When the folks at the publishing company heard that Jonathan Lazear was representing me as my literary agent the credibility of the offering went up multi-fold. The lessons learned so far from this experience is no different than the lessons we all learn over and over again: get the best people on your team and listen to them. Ask for their advice and take it. At BEA, there were a lot of talented people and getting time with those decision makers was difficult at best, and yet for David things just happened.

As our country moves further down the road to producing more and more commodities, the things that can’t become commodities are ideas, concepts, skills and experiences. If you surround yourself with folks who have an abundance of mind then you will find you get lucky more often and certainly hope to get more mind share from others.

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