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]


How Indiegogo Is Becoming An Adult Product Destination

Home september 23, 2016

Watch This Fire Pit Dance Along To Your Favorite Song

Music City Fire is a system that is designed to flicker in time to ambient music

Automotive september 23, 2016

Slick GPS Navigator Gives Directions To Moped Riders

This small, round device attaches to a sideview mirror to display maps for safer traveling


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Home september 23, 2016

A Clock That Beautifully Manages Your Information Overload

The wall-mounted timekeeper is made to help people maintain focus and stay up to date with their appointments

Arts & Culture september 23, 2016

Performance Piece Blends Dancers Into Folds Of Light

The work provides commentary on the increasing connection between programmed and analog dimensions

Related Expert

Christophe Mascarin

Innovation in Latin America

Design & Architecture september 23, 2016

Design Firm Adapts Childhood Homes For Unemployed Young Adults

The studio has unveiled three prototypes of transformed living spaces for people forced to move back in with their families

Health september 23, 2016

These Chocolate Squares Claim To Reverse The Aging Process

A group of researchers from Cambridge University have developed a candy bar that promises to give you a youthful glow

Cities september 23, 2016

Food-Producing Architecture Competition Seeks To Better Feed Cities

A design challenge in Copenhagen highlights the need and beauty of urban farming


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed september 23, 2016

Productivity Expert: The Magic Of The Five-Hour Workday

Stephan Aarstol, Founder of Tower Paddle Boards, explains why the modern notion of office hours needs to evolve

PSFK Labs september 22, 2016

The Future Of Work: Why Innovation Is Every Employee’s Job

PSFK Labs sits down with management at Johnson & Johnson to learn how the company comes up with their next ‘big idea’

Health september 23, 2016

Wearable Monitors Sun Exposure To Prevent Sunburn

The clip monitors UV rays to make sure you're not receiving too much sunlight

Culture september 23, 2016

This Exhibition’s Crowning Jewel Is An 18k Gold-Plated Toilet

The piece, titled 'America,' is meant to raise questions about the country's wealth inequality

Culture september 23, 2016

Match Up With Dates On Tinder Based On Your Music Preferences

A new partnership with Spotify lets people pair up based on shared tastes in artists

Entertainment september 23, 2016

Capture, Cut Up, And Configure Your World In 360 Degrees

To meet a booming 360 and VR video-capturing industry, a multimedia software company bolstered its media editing suite for 360-video creation


Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders

Advertising september 23, 2016

Buy Movie Tickets Directly From Your Facebook Profile

The new feature is part of a campaign from Fandango to further imbed social media into the ticket vendor's digital presence

Asia september 23, 2016

Co-Working Space Brings The Calming Atmosphere Of Nature Indoors

An architectural firm in China has designed a new type of shared office that prioritizes the natural environment

Retail september 23, 2016

Live Beacon Simplifies Cloud Sharing For Businesses

The battery-powered device and smartphone app allow anyone to send location-specific content without the hassle of code or hardware

No search results found.