Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Best Part of My Job

It's the phone call – "They're perfect!" – when an author receives the first shipment of books. It's the photographs of the justifiably proud author holding the first copy out of the carton. Writing a book is hard work and takes longer than anyone thinks it will. To complete that, and then to actually publish the book, that's something to be very proud of.

Today I'm celebrating Tim Burrell's accomplishment. His book, Create a Great Deal: The Art of Real Estate Negotiating, is one of the best I've seen on the subject. It's well written and has an eye-catching cover thanks to the design skill of his wife, Judy Burrell. It's already received a very good review by Bernice Ross in Inman News on June 1, and endorsements from many of the top names in the business.

Tim knows a thing or two about marketing in addition to his formidable negotiation skills, and I expect this book will be a great success.

Yep, it's my favorite part.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Brain Fried, Body Weary…And Great Fun!

A week ago this time my brain was on overload, my body was screaming, "What the *#%! do you think you're doing?" and all I wanted was a quiet corner where I could just…be. It was the third day of Publishing University in New York City, that marathon event for independent publishers when experts of all sorts and subjects endeavor to stuff one more new idea into your head. And they do, because the lure of another fresh approach to the business of independent publishing is impossible to resist.

I was the happy and grateful recipient of a scholarship to this annual conference that precedes Book Expo America. (As if three days of book talk weren't enough, we then had the opportunity to become lost in the cavernous Javits Center and the second largest book event in the world.) What did I learn in those three days? I'm still sifting through my notes, still sorting business cards and session handouts. But there were two clear messages I brought back from New York.
  • First, no one is quite sure where the industry is going, but they are sure that ebooks and ebook readers will continue to be the fastest growing segment of publishing.
  • Second, that the people who are afraid of losing any printed book sales (by offering ebook versions, because of ebook sharing, and the like) will miss the enormous opportunities that exist when an industry is a state of change.
I'm not saying anyone should give up their copyrights, but we should also take a lesson from the music industry. People will always want to share things they like. People now pass books on to friends; why should we expect that they won't do the same with electronic versions? Some publishers complain because the second person doesn't buy a new book. Are they sure? There is some early evidence that people who download low-cost ebooks return to buy the printed version, either for themselves or as gifts.

After listening to presentations about ebooks and Google Book Search, I've concluded that it's really no different from any other business. You can either be a person who worries about getting every dollar you are entitled to, or you can be a person who first asks, "What can I do for this person? How can I best communicate with them? What can I tell them, how can I help?"

Which one do you think will end up with the healthier business and bank account?