Shawn Parr: Does Anyone Really Care About Authors, Books & Publishers?

Shawn Parr: Does Anyone Really Care About Authors, Books & Publishers?

The CEO of Bulldog Drummond tells us why he believes this year will be the year he writes a book, and self-publishes it.

Shawn Parr, Bulldog Drummond
  • 31 march 2013

“A person who publishes a book willfully appears before the populace with his pants down. . . If it is a good book nothing can harm her. If it is a bad book nothing can help her.”
Edna St. Vincent Millay

Apparently there are millions who claim they’ve got a good book in them. Well, I think I’m one of them. This is the year I’m going to hopefully write the first of many. But as a wannabe writer I’ve got all of the obvious doubts. Do I have something meaningful to say? Will anyone want to read what I write? Have I got the time, patience and tolerance to step into the minefield of publishing? And my greatest fear is rejection from that small group of people in New York who get to decide whether what I’ve written is good enough for people to read.

The good news is there’s another way. Self-publishing is the best thing that ever happened to writers and, like Marilyn Monroe once said, “Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.” That couldn’t be truer for the publishing industry as it faces the digital revolution. Take a good look at Amazon and its fully-integrated, well thought out people-centered approach to publishing, content curation and distribution. It’s pure genius. According to Amazon’s Russell Grandinetti, “The only really necessary people in the publishing process now are the writer and reader.”

Today, the majority of books are still sold via old school publishers, but there’s no question digital publishing will drive the future. If you’re an executive at any one of the traditional publishing houses take a good look at the music industry to see what’s going to happen to you. Don’t put your heads in the sand like they did, you’re under digital siege and now is the time to act and reinvent yourselves. Digital disruption is obviously good news for both readers and writers. There will be a shift of power from the opinionated and capable few selecting which titles the public should read to an explosion of content where the public decides what is best to read. Old school publishers will argue that the quality of content will decline, but all they have to do is look at the music industry to know that’s not so.

Make no mistake about it, the revolution has started. But with all that said, self-publishing is fragmented, complicated and coated with a stigma all of its own. The self-publishing side of the industry has many parts and players and can be equally as intimidating. And that’s where Guy Kawasaki, the former Apple evangelist and author of “Rules for Revolutionaries” and “Enchantment” comes in. Guy sees the new wave of self-publishing that’s becoming more like an artisanal publishing movement that will be good for content, community and commerce. Guy’s written numerous bestselling books and had a recent experience publishing his last book that was so frustrating he decided to fuel the revolution by writing a complete guide to self-publishing.

“APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book” is a great read and a superb resource that brings everything you ever needed to know about self-publishing together in one place, through an entertaining format. According to Kawasaki, a successful self-publisher must play three roles: author, publisher and entrepreneur—or APE.  These roles are challenging, but not impossible— especially if people who have done it before explain it to you. And that’s exactly why Guy has accepted the challenge of helping writers succeed as self-publishers as quickly and easily as possible. The book will become the de facto guide on self-publishing. Here’s a bit more insight into the book’s  value:

Guy Kawaski’s Case for Self-Publishing.

Printed books are not going away anytime soon, but for a novice, self-publishing ebooks is probably the way to go. He’s not saying that you’ll make boatloads of money as a self-publisher, but the math works. Self-publishing is an inexpensive business, and the upside potential is there. But make no mistake, you still need to write a good book and market it well. According to Guy, it’s a lot like launching a start-up. Entrepreneurs must create a product, test it, raise money, recruit talent, and attract customers at the same time.

A. uthor

The first section of the book looks at the market from an author’s perspective. Writing a book isn’t easy and the process is not always an enjoyable one, but APE puts everything an author ever needs to know about self-publishing in one place and takes the reader through the three stages of self-publishing, (being the author, publisher and the marketing entrepreneur). Guy does this in a sequential and thorough manner, with the chapters prompting the right questions on whether you should write a book, how to write one, as well as showing you the tools needed and how to finance your book.

P. ublisher 

The second section of the book looks at the market as though you were a publisher. It lays out a step-by-step guide on how to edit your book and how to avoid the self-publishing look. It helps you understand book distribution and how to sell your book through Amazon, Apple and Barnes and Noble. It’s a wizard’s guide to becoming your own publisher and gives you the knowledge to navigate the many steps.

E. ntrepreneur

The last section guides you through the steps on marketing your book, including how to promote it on social media and how to pitch bloggers and reviewers. It’s a very comprehensive, well-organized and easy to follow section that will turn you into your own marketing machine.

Guy Kawaski’s Dream for APE & Self-Publishing.

What I enjoyed most about my time with Guy was the reminder that humility and empathy are among the finest of human traits, and when applied to solving design challenges or building a business, they are among the most valuable. We talked about how empathy might affect the future of Apple and how empathy is very present in Amazon’s genius approach to building its business. Listening to Guy’s perspective about what they seem to be doing so brilliantly with self-publishing my prediction is that we’ll be hearing a lot more about the impact Amazon is making in our lives than Apple in the very near future.

Guy’s hope for APE is that it helps to drive major change in self-publishing the way Pagemaker did in desktop publishing.

“A person who publishes a book willfully appears before the populace with his pants down . . .If it is a good book nothing can harm her. If it is a bad book nothing can help her.” Edna St. Vincent Millay

Shawn Parr is the Guvner & CEO of Bulldog Drummond, an innovation and design consultancy headquartered in San Diego whose clients and partners have included Starbucks, Diageo, Jack in the Box, Adidas, MTV, Nestle, Pinkberry, American Eagle Outfitters, Ideo, Virgin, Disney, Nike, Mattel, Heineken, Annie’s Homegrown, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, CleanWell, The Honest Kitchen, and World Vision. Follow the conversation at @BULLDOGDRUMMOND.

[Image: Flickr user Jonathan Cohen]


Transformable Table Maximizes Utility In Small Spaces

Design & Architecture
Syndicated Yesterday

How Fashion Became All About Fonts

Why a new wave of designs have put typography front and center on your clothing

Retail Yesterday

GM And Audi Are Experimenting With Car Rentals In SF

The automakers are trying something new to capture the segment of urban dwellers who don't want to own a car


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Travel Yesterday

This Vertical Forest Hotel Will Improve The Air Around It

An architectural firm is creating a lush mountain lodging in China with so much greenery that it will actually clean the atmosphere

Related Expert

Jonathan Christensen

IP Communications, Broadband, Mobile

Europe Yesterday

This Company Believes Insects Can Provide Biofuel To Power Our Future

A Polish group is testing out a new factory concept that can provide a source of renewable energy, and even serve space missions

Technology Yesterday

Music Venue Caters To Virtual Reality Events

Boiler Room has launched the first VR hub for content creators to capture special footage for the masses

Gaming & Play Yesterday

Automated Chessboard Lets You Play Against Anyone In The World

Square Off is an AI-powered board that can move the pieces on its own


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed october 25, 2016

Marketing Experts: Millennials And The Power Of Cool

'Good Is The New Cool' Authors Afdhel Aziz and Bobby Jones share their 7 principles for branding with a social impact

PSFK Labs october 25, 2016

The Keys For Exceptional Performance On And Off The Field

PSFK Labs' new report highlights five important insights for businesses to perform better than the competition

Technology Yesterday

Contraband Recorder Helps Those In Need Capture Captive Conversations

Designer Marianna Mezhibovkaya created the device to help prison inmates capture crucial evidence of abuse

Advertising Yesterday

A Compelling Brand Purpose Is Never Born In The Boardroom

Strategist and Designer Anna-Rae Morris shares why she believes all brands exist for a reason, and how Snapchat has upended our behavior

Retail Yesterday

Creative Leadership Expert: Experiencing A Seismic Shift From Brand Loyalty To Interface Loyalty

Marc Shillum, founder of Chief Creative Office, explains why product designers must rethink the way they capture consumer attention

Fitness & Sport Yesterday

Editorial Roundtable: The Xs And Os Of Performance-Enhanced Sports

WHOOP, ShotTracker, Rithmio, PlaySight, STYR Labs, EverybodyFights and Lift / Next Level Floats explain that we're only at the iceberg's tip of performance enhancement

Technology Yesterday

Microsoft’s New E-Paper Sticky Note Runs On Ambient Light

Researchers have developed the first e-ink display powered entirely by office bulbs

Sustainability Yesterday

Modern Home Created Entirely Out Of Modular Shipping Crates

A project in Ecuador used the ubiquitous material to design a spacious and industrial-chic house

Retail Yesterday

Retail Concept Offers Food Hall Inspired Space For Online Brands

The store will offer a lower cost way for internet entrepreneurs to try physical retailing

No search results found.