It’s not mine, but I’ve spent a lot of time helping Angelica Mari produce her new book. It’s her book, but I’ve been helping with the mechanical process of getting it from the word processor to a book available in retailers.
Angelica was keen to use Lulu.com to publish her book and as I’ve published three books on there now, I was fairly well placed to advise on how to format the documents and cover.
This has, once again, got me thinking about the future of business books. So many people churn out books about their industry, declaring themselves a ‘guru’ on the cover. But most business books are out of date by the time they hit the shelf and can’t be regularly updated. So after a year of being on sale, you might be reading text that was written over two years earlier.
I have an offer from a big publisher to do a new business book and I’m stalling on it, unsure if it is really of any value today. I know of a very senior CIO who has a similar offer from a publisher, though his is part of a 2-book deal. The publisher wants something and he is not sure if he wants to commit thoughts to print because the format of the old-school publisher just doesn’t work anymore.
I know that Angelica was still editing and changing her book a week ago. From the final tweak to the book launch and physical copies being in the hands of punters will be under one month. And she has had it professionally edited and proof-read during that time.
So what value does an old-style publisher offer?
Not much. They do spend money on marketing and trying to place the book in retailers in a way that will sell more copies, but lets face it, for most business books the market is not a casual browser in Waterstones. Lulu makes books available on all major retailers, including Amazon. And the author takes 80% of profits after printing costs… compare that to the 15% of gross sale price you might expect from a traditional publisher.
I’m still thinking about whether I should do the more traditional book, but I know for sure that my next two books will be on Lulu. I have the ideas in my head already and the plans sketched out. I want to write them and see the books out there, not wait a year for a publisher to work on the text…
The past couple of books I have written ‘Who Moved my Job?’ (Lulu 2008) and ‘Global Services: Moving to a Level Playing Field’ (British Computer Society 2008) have both been published under license for South Asia by Viva in Delhi.
Viva took a look at my most recent book – Talking Outsourcing (Lulu 2009) – and said they are not interested in publishing it because they don’t feel it connects to the reader in the same way as the other books I have written.
That’s fine. They have their opinion. Only I think they are wrong.
I don’t think they understand that this was a book of a blog. This book is drawn from the best of my ‘Talking Outsourcing’ blog in Computing magazine, featuring blog entries from 2006 to 2009. It’s written and presented as a chronological business diary. Everything that’s going on in the world of services globalisation and outsourcing from my point of view over that three year period.
It’s worth pointing out that the British national tech magazine Computer Weekly thought so highly of my blog, they shortlisted it for blog of the year in their IT Blog Awards 2009. The launch event at London South Bank University was also very successful – take a look at the video here.
Clearly there are a lot of people involved in the hi-tech service sector in India and I am sure they would like to see this book.
It highlights the issues, the trends, the failures, and the successes of the past three years in the global hi-tech industry and India gets a fair share of that business.
Sure, it’s a book of a blog and not written with a new narrative focused on a single topic, but that’s part of the idea here. Take the content from the blog and make it work in a different way by putting it all in one place, so it can be quickly skipped through.
If you are a publisher in India and you are interested in the South Asia rights for this book then get in touch with me. I’m planning to be there in February so if you move fast we could do some personal appearances around the launch. You can reach me here…
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Tagged bcs, book, BPO, british computer society, global services, globalisation, hillary, IT, ITO, kobayashi-hillary, mark, offshoring, outsourcing, publisher, publishing, services, talking outsourcing, Who Moved My Job
Launching a new book is always a nerve-wracking experience. My new one is based on the blog I’ve been writing in Computing since 2006, so it was a bit easier to put it together than starting from a blank page, but it’s still a lot of work getting from the conversations around “I’m going to do a book of the blog” to actually seeing a book out there and available for people to buy.
Well, I have just about got there. It should be ready for printing next week and as soon as I’ve checked the results, it should begin distribution and start becoming available for sale. I believe it will be at the end of the month, so I’m hoping to arrange a launch party in July.
In the meantime, take a look at the cover here and let me know what you think.