- William J. Burns: He is the publisher of Resource Publications, Inc. and was my boss when I worked there from 1984 to 2002. He understood that writing is a creative, introverted process. Authoring, on the other hand, is a creative, extroverted process. The "writer" who can't make the mental and emotional transition to "author" is of no use to a publisher. She won't be able to get out of her mental attic, interact with potential customers, and enjoy the process of selling her book. I resisted this idea for years, but I eventually "got it" and began looking for natural authors and writers who could make the transition from writer to author. Today, it is the centerpiece of what I teach my customers. In fact, I try to train them to begin thinking like authors before they even write their book.
- John Huenefeld: After many years working for publishers, mostly in the marketing area, John built a business teaching independent niche publishers how to succeed. He was particularly good at defining how the "publisher" orchestrated each of the four key functions (or departments) of a publishing house: editorial acquisition, marketing/sales, production, and business. Because we implemented many of his suggested best practices at Resource Publications, Inc., I credit John with teaching me much about how publishing is supposed to operate. Today, I teach my self-publishing clients to think like real publishers, even if the four key departments are only in their heads.
- Peter Drucker: I never met Peter Drucker, but I realized only recently that one of my best ideas came from him. He taught both for-profit and non-profit businesses to identify their "primary customer," which is not as easy as it sounds. For example, is the primary customer of a school district the student, the parent, the community at large, or someone else? It makes a difference. Moreover, if members of the board, the administration, and employees have different ideas about who the customer is, the district will be dysfunctional (which may explain a lot about the average school district). To help people decide who their primary customer is, Drucker would ask: "Whose life do you most intend to change with your business?" It's a powerful concept that I have embedded in my practice. I now start my publishing workshops by having authors define who their primary customer is and to clarify how they intend to change this person's life. The Publishing Pro
Monday, October 19, 2009
Who Taught Me What I Know ...
... about publishing? Most of what I teach about publishing came from three different human resources.