Authors Are Like Artists

Let me rephrase that. “Some” authors are like artists. I’m a Web business person. My end goal is to get more sales, leads and publicity for myself, my books, my products, etc…

An artist? Well, typically, they don’t have those same goals. They just want to make… art. I’ve tried to work with artists in the past only to realize that it’s a waste of time. Artists don’t think like I do. They just want to make their art and they don’t think about business models, and distribution and marketing. I get it. When you try to force an artist to think that way, you lose them. I know, I’ve tried. I don’t bother anymore. It’s a waste of my time.

I’m finding out a lot about “some” authors in my quest for learning more about why people write and publish. I’m finding that there are a lot of authors who think just like artists. They write for validation, instead of writing for business reasons.

I should say that the reason I write is not only about “making money”. I mean, I love helping people find success. I love motivating people. I would write books still if they didn’t help me “make money”. But for me, authoring books, right now, is more of a business project than a personal project.

My way, your way… either way is just fine. Do it how you want. Nobody has an issue with how you want to do it. I don’t.

Just own it. If you’re going to write for validation… own it. I admitted why I write. Why can’t you?

Don’t Write for “Validation”, That’s Bad Business

Edan writes over at TheMillions.com about why NOT self-publish. He lays out 8 logical reasons (to him) that back up his decisions. Fine, you can, and should, do whatever you want.

But… let’s not pretend this is more than what it’s really about, and that is validation. Because your arguments don’t make sense to a business person. Don’t like Amazon? Too bad. You want to sell a lot of books, you must play with them in their sandbox. It’s the same thing as people who tell me they hate Google and won’t play by their rules. That’s just stupid. Fine, if you won’t play with them, then you can’t run a business the best you can.

Writing books for validation is just bad business, and that’s what bothers people like me about when people like Edan give bogus reasons why they won’t self-publish. At least admit it. It’s about validation for you. If you were a business person, with a business mindset, you’d look at the legacy model and run screaming, or laughing.

But you don’t look at it that way, and that’s fine with me/us, just own the real reasons and not pretend it’s anything else. JR nailed it in the comments.

You know there are a lot of reasons for deciding to go with traditional publishing rather than self-publishing. What I am sorry to see is people making the decision based more on emotion, prejudice and ignorance than facts. And I’m sorry, but that is what you are doing here if your list is honest.

For example, your first one, that you are not a self-hater made me go, huh? And then I read the whole thing. What were you really saying? That you need validation from a corporation for your writing. That you can’t get enough validation from readers and if a company doesn’t tell you a writer, then you aren’t. I would say that you already — if not hate yourself — then don’t have much respect for yourself. I’m sorry that you are making an important business decision on such a need for validation rather than what may be best for you as a writer.

Mark Cuban Talks Self-Publishing

The other day I talked about another reason why digital publishing (eBooks) will win, and that was because it’s so easy and fast. Today I read a brief interview with Mark Cuban who just recently self-published a new book about why he self-published.

When asked why he self-published, he said…

The time obligations of a traditional release were more than I was willing to undertake. I couldn’t ask for advances and then not want to do a book tour. Plus, the editorial deadlines were much more forgiving. I made changes hours before the final release. Time is the most valuable asset I have. The amount of time required to give the publishers a chance to make their money bank wasn’t worth the money to me. My preference was to put out an ebook on my own terms and see how it did and what I could learn. Based on this education, I will be a lot smarter about what I do next.

Self-publishing is an amazing way for anyone, even bigwigs like Cuban, to easily and quickly publish content in book form. What you will learn from successful people like Mark is that time is valuable. Waiting a year to have your book published is a joke. He was able to quickly and easily publish a book and get it to his audience, and that’s what we should all be doing.

Don’t get hung up on the legacy/traditional publishing old rules. You should be taking the thoughts and expertise in your head and publishing it in book form today. It’s really not that hard.

Thinking Longer About Penguin

I’ve been reading a lot about Penguin’s move into self-publishing. And I’ve been thinking a lot about it too. At first I was only focused on the bad business model they have. But once you get past that, you can think deeper about what their move really means. Before I tell you about that, let me just say, yes, it’s ok to be angry about this.

Self-Publishers Have Every Right To Be Angry

For years legacy publishers have turned up their noses at self-publishing. Claiming it will never work. Claiming it can’t be done. Claiming that their way is the only “real” way to publish a book. But then people like Konrath and many, many others go out and make it work and prove them wrong, only to now see one of the “big six” publishers come in and make a play at the very thing they denied, and do it badly.

I get it. We’re angry at legacy publishers for letting us blaze the trail they said was idiotic to follow, then now, come and want to walk the trail. No way! YOU told us we couldn’t do it, and now you want claim it as your own?

Henry Baum at SelfPublishingReview.com makes a great case for self-publishers to lighten up and for us to stop with the “us vs. them” mantra.

Us vs. them is the wrong stance to take. By all means, call out Penguin on a bad enterprise, but there should also maybe be a bit of welcoming Penguin into the fold as well. Some writers are going to get taken for a ride by the service, but mostly is Penguin is saying: we get it, self-publishing is taking over.

I agree. You know, in every successful business I’ve had I’ve welcomed when the big player in my industry jumped into the fray. Why? Because it validates your entire business model and direction.

It means that they noticed you. It means that you’re doing something right. It also means that you are now legitimate to investors and journalists and new customers.

If I was to have an argument right now about Penguin, I would say I’m glad they jumped in. Albeit, I wish they did it right, but nevertheless, they did validate self-publishing simply by acknowledging it.

That… is a good thing for the self-publishing industry.

Digital Books Will Win Because… Reason #1

Because it’s too easy for me to access them. For example, I just found out that Mark Cuban released his latest book (his first book?) in digital form called “How to Win at the Sport of Business: If I Can Do It, You Can Do It.”

I learned about it from him posting on his wall on Facebook. I love Mark’s style of writing on his blog and have been a fan of him for years. I’ve met him and regularly email with him. He even did a blurb for the back cover my book!

So when I saw his book available, I went to buy it. Here’s how that processed worked and the time it took.

1. Saw his FB wall post. – 3 seconds
2. Clicked the link to Amazon. – 2 seconds
3. Clicked “One click buy” to be delivered to my iPad. – 2 seconds.
4. Opened up my iPad, clicked the Kindle app, and watched his book download. – 5 seconds.
5. Started reading.

Total: Under 30 seconds.

I was able to get his book in my hands and start reading in under 30-seconds. That is TRULY AMAZING. And another reason why the future of books is digital.