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Posted June 14, 2013 10:24 a.m. by dylan
In - 800 CEO Read Blog
➻ Publishers Weekly drew up an interesting and interactive Map of the Houses in New York for BEA this year that was just brought to my attention. Their description of what the houses mean to New York is what pulled me in.
Publishing is to New York what filmmaking is to Los Angeles, or what automobile manufacturing used to be to Detroit. And publishers old and new continue to have prominent bricks-and-mortar presence in the city, both inside and outside of the 23 square miles known as Manhattan. The new kids on the block are branching out and hanging up shingles in shady far-flung spots like Fort Greene, Brooklyn.
With these physical addresses come fascinating histories and interesting facts. Which is the oldest house in town, or the biggest, or the newest? Which has claimed the most prizes? Take our virtual, unofficial tour of publishing in New York and find out.
The map doesn't contain as much information as you'd expect from that introduction—most houses don't have any description attached, and the most in-depth seems to be Harper's, which simply states that "Harper Collins, a descendant of Harper and Brothers, founded in 1819, probably has the best claim to being the city's oldest house—but it's pretty slick nonetheless. It is interesting just to see that in our increasingly "flattened" world, industries still cluster together to form what Gary P. Pisano and Willy C. Shih call (in their book Producing Prosperity) the industrial commons of their fields. Detroit has cars, LA the movies, New York publishing, Silicon Valley has become synonymous with computer technology, and Milwaukee still brews some delicious beer (and some here are trying to figure out How Milwaukee Could Transform Itself Into the 'Silicon Valley' of Fresh Water).
➻ Of course, no industry is safe. And on that note, I'll turn to Suw Charman-Anderson who wrote about The Future Of Self-Publishing and an interesting chat she had on Twitter with Joe Abercrombie, Tom Standage, Damien Walter, and Sam Missingham on the issue for Forbes this week. The twitter chat is worth looking at if you want to nerd out 140 characters at a time about the intricacies of regional something or another and, Zzzzzzz...
But the article is more on-point, and:
[I]t was the point about how much work self-publishing can be that I wanted to expand upon. Abercrombie was very firmly of the opinion that self-publishing is too much work and not of interest to him.
“I don’t want to publish, I want to write,” he tweeted. “Let me rephrase — I scarcely want to write, let alone publish…”
“Successful self-published authors are hiring editors, designers, publicists… Er, hang on,” Standage replied. “In other words they are becoming tiny publishing companies.”
“Tiny, highly motivated, but generally very inefficient publishers,” said Abercrombie. “I just think the great majority of writers would be better off writing than publishing.”
Which are all good points, but Ms. Charman-Anderson has a good counterargument:
However, going the traditional route doesn’t come without its own overheads. As a fledgeling author seeking a deal, ie is at the same point in their career as the newbie self-publisher, one has to learn how to write compelling synopses of your work, how to write a query letter, figure out which agents are accepting unsolicited manuscripts and how to format that manuscript appropriately.
Then if you do get an agent, you have to manage your relationship with them, learning how to prod them at the right times and in the right way. If they get you a deal then you have to learn all about contracts and how to assess your agent’s advice, and then go on to learn how to manage your relationship with your publisher, deal with feedback, liaise with the various departments at the publishing house that deals with publicity, tours etc.
Having a traditional publishing deal does not mean that you escape having to manage professional relationships with the people who turn your book into a product.
She goes on to discuss the network of people she now has in place after her first self-publishing experience, and discusses the promise and possibilities of self-publishing growing as an industry in its own right. Maybe it's a good thing Random House is getting into video games.
➻ If you're looking for an even more positive outlook on self-publishing, and some instruction on how to go about doing it, Guy Kawasaki has you covered. After the experience he had with his book Enchantment left him disenchanted with traditional publishing, Kawasaki Makes the Case for Self-Publishing seemingly everywhere he goes nowadays—though even he knows there are pros and cons to going it alone.
[W]hile Kawasaki may now be he a self-publishing convert, he laid out both the pros and cons of going the DIY route.
On the pro side, Kawasaki cited editorial, sales, and marketing control, quicker time to market, and increased royalties. “APE sells for $9.99 as a Kindle e-book and we make $7,” he said. “And that is remarkable. That is like four times traditionally published…These are good numbers.” The drawbacks, Kawasaki said, include no advance, increased responsibility for all aspects of the publishing process, and loneliness.
I think the loneliness is the real killer.
➻ If you're unhappy with either route, or just extremely lonely, a New Press Hits on [a] 'Third Way' Between Traditional and Self-Publishing. Alison Flood of the Guardian has that story:
A group of bestselling authors have come together to create what they are calling a new model in publishing, which steers a path between going it alone and following more traditional routes.
Notting Hill Press, founded by the romantic comedy authors Michele Gorman, Belinda Jones and Talli Roland, is working with bestselling names including Chrissie Manby, Matt Dunn and Nick Spalding to offer writers what Gorman calls "the third way". Describing itself as a "hybrid publishing model that combines the best of traditional and independent publishing", Notting Hill Press allows authors to maintain "the solid working relationships they have with their traditional publishers, while also recognizing that some books are better-suited to independent publishing in some situations".
The 11 authors currently signed up are set to share their business experience, professional contacts and promotional support while retaining publishing control and royalties in their books. "Each author runs their own independent publishing business under the umbrella of Notting Hill Press. It is a partnership as opposed to top down, when the publisher tells the author what they can and can't do," said Gorman. "It's the third way."
It's fun to watch the experimentation happening in publishing. It shows that the business of literature can be just as creative as the creation of that literature. It will be interesting to see how this turns out.
➻ Speaking of creative, literary things... I don't know what's slicker, the Awesome Bookish Flooring ideas that Book Riot's Derek Attig shared recently, or Ireland’s New Stamp [that] Features a 224 Word Short Story.
➻ Uttered in a book trailer for Chicago Skyscrapers, 1871-1934, by Thomas Leslie, "The problem-solving became the aesthetic" is perhaps my favorite phrase of the week.
➻ And just in time for Father's Day, Fiona Maazel compiled a list of The 10 Worst Dads in Books at Publisher's Weekly. Well more accurately, it's a list of nine bad dads, and one great one thrown in for good measure. Don't worry that you're faith in humanity will be restored by the one positive figure, though. The good dad has no name, and the book he inhabits takes place in a post-apocalyptic hellscape. Coming in at number 10:
There are plenty more bad dads out there to write about—how about Bull Meecham in Pat Conroy’s The Great Santini?—but suddenly I feel like mentioning a good dad, the unnamed dad from Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. Because while it might well be true that every woman adores a fascist, it’s truer, still, that everyone loves a good dad. Especially when that dad feels thus: “He knew only that his child was his warrant. He said: If he is not the word of God God never spoke.”
And that puts into far better words than I have the way I feel about the little lady baby I have at home.
➻ And because my Pop taught me to love the blues...
John Jantsch interview and creativeLIVE workshop
Posted June 13, 2013 7:08 a.m. by jon
In - 800 CEO Read Blog
With books like, Duct Tape Marketing and The Commitment Engine, John Jantsch has established himself as a marketing expert with great insight into growing a business. Maybe you’ve planted your great business idea, and now it’s time to water it and watch it grow. But how? What plan of action or growth strategy have you put together to ensure that your little idea will prosper?
Check out this Q&A with John for some good ideas, and then sign up for his FREE online workshop from our friends at creativeLIVE.
How do you spot your ideal customer?
Paint a picture. What do they do for a living? At home? Where would we locate them? What do they love? What problems do they have and what triggers them to fix those problems? If you struggle with answering this question, start with thinking about yourself and who you would want to work with — and move forward from there.
I’ve seen business pros of all levels struggle with this question. If you don’t know how to answer, ask your customers. Customers love to be heard and, when asked for their input, they all have important insights to your value proposition. There are cookie-cutter value propositions out there, but the key to your business is committing to something that makes you and your services unique.
Where are your gaps in customer engagement?
Customer engagement is not a one-step process, nor is it linear, so there can be many gaps. Growing a business-to-consumer company is all about moving customers through an engagement system within your business. You must first get them to know you and like you before you can move on to the closing five important stages - trust, try, buy, repeat and refer. I explain this strategy further in my Marketing Hourglass (LINK).
What are your 2-3 highest priority objectives for growth?
This is where you need to keep it simple. Break it down to the essentials. Commit to no more than three priorities at a time and then set out to find what you will need to do check off those priorities.
How can we create more streams of revenue?
When you boil it all down, there are only 3 concrete ways to grow your business: add more customers, increase the average transaction size, and increase your total amount of purchasers. Existing customers are low hanging fruit you can sell to easily, but you need to keep them interested. Ask yourself what services or products you could add that your customers would enjoy. However, you can't live off existing customers forever, so make sure to think about what about a new market?
Who can help?
Have you ever met someone who owns a successful business and doesn’t have a decent professional network? I don’t.
You need to start thinking about marketing partners. Make a list of people that would be motivated to promote your business. Then, think about what ventures would help you grow and test them out. If you own a bicycle shop for example, coordinate with the local gym down the street to give people a free personal trainer for a day. In return, the gym could give people 10% off on a bike tune up from your business. If you are a wedding photographer, team up with caterers, wedding bands and whomever else you can think of.
What metrics impact your growth the most?
Don’t just think about revenue. Think about what drives that revenue. What element of your business is your homerun hitter? The most profitable way to grow a business is to take what it does well and grow organically through the base of your success. After you identify the key to your success, then you can start to build out from there.
If you can answer these 7 simple questions, you will find yourself with a promising future ahead for your business.
Jack Covert Selects - Unthink
Posted June 13, 2013 4:36 a.m. by dylan
Remember when you were a child, and could spend each day creating a whole new adventure for you and your friends? There were no boundaries to the stories you could dream up. Obvious impossibilities had sensible answers, because you could simply make them up. As we got older our brains took on more information, and as we compartmentalized that information fewer possibilities revealed themselves. The solutions to problems became necessarily provable, and our energies were spent on working with what already was at hand.
In Unthink: Rediscover Your Creative Genius, Wahl encourages us to reconnect with our sense of wonder, and offers a variety of ways to mirror the spirit with which we took on new adventures as children. As we get older, we fear the ridiculous, and get hung up on how we’re “supposed” to think. Wahl explains what we’ve lost in the process:
It is the ultimate curse of knowledge: that when we know the most, we are often least able to see new solutions to old problems or new ways to approach entrenched relationships, systems, or hierarchies. Our great knowledge is often the greatest hindrance to creativity in problem solving because the thought of setting all that knowledge aside in favor of a blank slate seems ludicrous. But the blank slate is the secret weapon of every child.
Certainly, we made a lot of mistakes when we were young, but Wahl proposes that if we could get a bit of that old wonder back, combined with our current knowledge, we’d be truly innovative. Wahl invites us to unthink, to “do away with the notion that curiosity, imagination, and exploration are child’s play.” Each chapter represents a quality that we need to restore in our lives: “be intuitive,” “be accelerated,” “be surrendered.” By doing so, we can remember how amazing the world once was, and how it can be again.
Discovery not only keeps your work creative and makes you more valuable to your workplace; it keeps your workplace an adventure. There is an element of mystery that arises when discovery is just as important as data….The point to remember about discovery is that it serves as a practice field for breakthrough creativity. While not every discovery will lead to a breakthrough, every discovery will build your muscles of innovation and increase your confidence in intuition. These resources will prepare you for when a major discovery is really needed.
With Unthink, Wahl presents readers with an opportunity to rediscover something about themselves that they might not know they lost, and what a valuable gift.
Jack Covert Selects - Inside the Box
Posted June 13, 2013 4:04 a.m. by 800-ceo-read
Inside the Box is counter-directive to the many business books published every year that strive to illuminate and teach creative thinking. Because there is a constant demand for new ideas in our fast-moving business climate, most books tend toward systematizing creativity in order to insure continued innovation within organizations. But since the 1970’s we’ve been told that the key to doing so is to “think outside the box” which does little to demystify the process.
Authors Boyd and Goldenberg suggest a different approach, convinced that a system that is without boundaries is no system at all .Instead of searching the margins for ideas, they explain that “more innovation—and better and quicker innovation—happens when you work inside your familiar world … ” To help readers do this, Boyd and Goldenberg created the Systematic Inventive Thinking (SIT) method, which consists of five templates, or creative tools: Subtraction, Division, Multiplication, Task Unification, and Attribute Dependency.
As you can imagine, the first three are straightforward. Subtraction is about paring down; Division is about subtracting and then reusing the subtracted aspect separately; and Multiplication is about taking an aspect of your product or service and using it in multiple similar fashions. With Task Unification, you “simply force an existing feature (or component) in a process or product to work harder by making it take on additional responsibilities.” And Attribute Dependency “asks you to take two attributes (or characteristics) that were previously independent of each other and make them dependent in a meaningful way.” Applying these templates opens up myriad avenues to creativity and also opens you up to ways to do business differently without demanding that you learn to think differently.
As you read Inside the Box, you’ll start getting a flutter of excitement in your belly as your mind begins reflecting on the goods and services your company provides and how you can apply these templates to that work for future innovation. The book’s applicability is instantly gratifying as well as valuable, and the system is completely learnable for anyone and any organization. As the authors succinctly say:
Creativity is a cognitive task. Simulating the task in unfamiliar, random situations builds “innovation muscle” for when you need it in real situations. Practice makes perfect.
Innovation is the most sought-after component of modern business thinking, and Inside the Box puts the putty in your hands so you can start creating right away.
Jack Covert Selects - The End of Competitive Advanatage
Posted June 13, 2013 3:55 a.m. by 800-ceo-read
Many books hail the end of major institutions or mainstream conventions. Rita Gunther McGrath’s The End of Competitive Advantage is one of these books, but it is unique among its peers. The End of Competitive Advantage blows past the peripheral, specialized avenues of the world of business—often fodder for business-related media trends—and attacks one of the very core principles of business strategy.
McGrath’s main point is simple: sustainable competitive advantage is no longer a sure thing. She leads with the example of Fuji and Kodak. Kodak’s demise—which reached it’s bottom when it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in early 2012—has been well documented in the media and business books, but the story of Fuji is less well known. Initially a Kodak competitor, Fuji began diversifying intensely in the 1980s. The many years’ worth of diversification has proved beneficial to the company, which saw $25 billion in revenue in 2011. This story perfectly illustrates that current business and economic environments do not allow for companies to simply rest upon a competitive advantage, no matter how secure it seems or hard they’ve worked to gain it. There are many such examples in the book detailing how once-giants are left wondering what happened to their industries. And this is exactly where McGrath steps in.
The End of Competitive Advantage shows leaders how to gain the foresight necessary to avoid falling prey to such outmoded strategy. McGrath calls this new strategy “transient advantage.”
The reconfiguration process is the secret sauce of remaining relevant in a situation of temporary advantage, because it is through reconfiguration that assets, people, and capabilities make the transition from one advantage to another.
The book provides many other examples of “growth outliers”—companies whose growth has stayed strong throughout various market and industry changes. One of the key abilities these outliers have exhibited, says McGrath, is their ability to remain internally balanced while frequently reconfiguring the outward elements of their business. Fostering good leadership and a healthy, innovation-centric culture is a natural foundation for the opportunity-centric organization. Part of a company’s ability to remain agile is the smart allocation of resources. Companies that organize their resources around new and fleeting opportunities will be the ones to turn those opportunities into revenue. McGrath briefly cites Sony, an increasingly absent brand in the realm of electronics devices, whose internal politics and concern over protecting their technologies tied up their resources and allowed other companies to quickly exploit the opportunities that Sony wasn’t taking.
The End of Competitive Advantage fits beautifully into the ongoing discussion about what defines successful companies today, and what will continue to in the future. Transient advantage lives happily alongside the renaissance in ethical behavior in our hyper-transparent business realm. There is nowhere for broken strategies to hide, but plenty of undiscovered land left to explore for the ambitious and the agile.