Archives: entrepreneurs

As creative types, those of us who work in publishing and those with MBAs may speak in different tongues, but the way business school graduates are taught to think—analytically, strategically, and always with a mind toward the revenue opportunity—can be valuable in almost any industry. Speaking with MBAs is a complement to the everyday creative, people-y industry of publishing, an industry still largely functioning without predictive data. Maybe we’re getting there.

I was inspired to write this blog immediately and largely unedited when I had breakfast today with an MBA and serial entrepreneur who’s recently gotten interested in the publishing “space,” as they say. As a reader and author himself, he pointed out what he saw to be the Type I and Type II Errors we’re currently making as book consumers.

Type I: You hear about a book, are lured in by a blurb or a book jacket you like, catch the author featured in a media outlet. Excited to read this book, you then find that it really disappoints. You wish you’d spent those hours reading something more enlightening or entertaining.*

Type II: A book, title A, has come across your radar, but you see maybe one Amazon review. On your Goodreads shelves, 3 friends have recommended another book, title B, and you’re seeing that author quite a bit on Facebook, so… you opt for B over A. Title A was actually good, really good – it could have been the next Downton Abby, a sensation – but you passed on the opportunity to read it, and went for something else.

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The Ten Most Overused Terms in Publishing
Do you know how MBAs all tend to use the same terms (“the space,” “leverage,” “revenue opportunity,” etc.?) Here is our equivalent vocabulary for publishing–and we’re all guilty.

What Your Publisher Can’t Tell You About Your Book’s Publicity
Surprise: there’s alot you didn’t know. Here are some positive ways to take action in promoting your own book.
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Apple was too rich. And everyone used Google and Amazon: it didn’t require much personality.

But at the turn of the 21st century, when today’s twentysomethings were making their “generational debut,” crossing over from college and into the real world, Facebook was both free and personal. Think Chris Andersen meets Bono (both, as it were, early investors).

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When I was twenty-two years old, I moved to Paris.  I craved the flexibility of an unstructured, lawless life, governed by creativity and self: the freedom to write or drink wine late into the hours of the night without some arbitrary wake-up call the next morning. Without someone telling me what to do, just because others were so keen to live this way.

Writers, in my both my personal and professional experience, are often as self-conscious, despairingly so, as they are ambitious. Because they are driven by the vocation of writing — in its original sense, a calling — they are capable of the longest hours, the most maniacal and solitary confinement required of the craft.

This penchant for maniacal focus, and also for personal freedom, makes writers a lot like entrepreneurs.

I left France for the simple reason that in New York, unlike Paris, you can hang a shingle on your door, and with a little luck, carve a business from out of a passion — in my case, a passion for authors and literature, a passion I could only understand because I felt it at my own core, years ago.

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