Publish and be damned…

Newspaper press running through rollersSo said Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, when the courtesan Harriette Wilson threatened to publish her memoirs and his letters.

Well last month I did publish a book.  Not one that you would be interested in as it was a yearbook for my daughter’s classmates at school, but the process indicates just how far as an individual you can divorce yourself from mainstream business.

With a pretty good knowledge of page layout on Word, a few hints and tips from the publishing website, and a quick trawl of other people’s efforts online, I was able to create 64 pages of homage to the 60ish 11 year olds in her year.  I managed to convert it to a pdf file and after a few attempts load it to the website.  I used a wizard to create the cover and hey presto it was done.

I ordered one and 8 days later, a hard copy that wouldn’t look out of place on a bookstore shelf arrived through the post from the US where the website I used originated and the printing took place. Amazing.  Even more incredible was that if the book had been commercial I could have assigned it an ISBN number and had it listed on Amazon just by checking 2 extra buttons.

Which got me thinking.  Here is yet another business where the customer is taking control.  Suppose you think you have a great novel, you can write it, employ a freelance editor to go through it for you, typeset it and publish it without ever having to go through the angst of trying to get an agent and a publishing deal.

Yes the professionalism and marketing clout these guys will give you is impressive, but there are books that started small, got picked up by someone online and suddenly they are big hits.  And lots of publishers these days seem to think that all people who read books are interested in are the hurriedly written biographies of minor celebrities or teenage footballers.

With online technology delivering so much across geographical boundaries, it is so important for companies to change the way they market themselves and do business, particularly in the B2B publishing and events sector.  Doing the same thing they have always done is simply not enough, because some of us are already doing it someplace else.

hellen @mission control

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