This is a continuation of my series of rebuttals against Michael Marcus’ criticism of my book “TurnKey Publishing”. This rebuttal is focused on clarifying Michael’s points that are either out of context or a philosophical difference.
The “turnkey” phrase is one I first adopted with my “TurnKey Investor” series of books. Essentially, “turnkey” = systematic. Nothing more, nothing less. TurnKey Publishing does not mean “Brainless publishing”.
I set the tone of this book as “business first, artform second” knowing that my ideas would eventually be criticized. Business first, means generating sales, visibility, and credibility from your readership. Not asking for permission from people who won’t be buying your books, only judging them. In this case, my interest is in people who have little or no exposure to the world of publishing or they are fed up by the elitism and false notions being perpetuated.
I consider the business of publishing the ability to publish several titles per year. This means breaking the rules and paradigms that slow down the process. If that means breaking or trimming down the artform, so be it.
With a subtitle like “how to create a profitable self-publishing business without any help from publishers, bookstores, or literary agents”, who do you think is NOT part of my core readership? People who are NOT in the business but want to get into it without the bureaucratic and elitist nonsense.
I also stand behind my statement “formal writing is becoming less important” but being an “idea communicator” and “world teacher” is. The book is simply an artifact or as Seth Godin says, a book is a “souvenir” of the ideas.
Again why do so many writers have to keep actively writing to generate an income whereas a non-writer as myself can generate residual income based on good ideas? It is about understanding the business and adopting a different paradigm.
Writers, editors, assistant writers, and proofreaders only job is to ensure the grammatical and punctuational accuracy of ideas being communicated, not transmute ideas into gold. That is the author’s job.
Regarding putting a website address on the cover, I stand by it even if it is “not appropriate”. It is the singular most effective and easily implemented advice to benefit from a book even when it does not sell. Let us not forget that Scott Adams of Dilbert fame became a millionaire by sharing his email address on his cartoons where he gets reader emails and most of his ideas. Old ideas and elitism prevent this idea from taking foot.
I incorporate web domination and search strategies into my book titles and descriptions. This is how any unknown authors can become known on a bootstrap budget.
I would like to add that the concept of TurnKey Publishing from inception went beyond book publishing. It also incorporated audio publishing (not to be confused with audiobook publishing). It is integrating the strengths of individual platforms to create the greater brand and presence.
Staying in touch with your readership is something I recommend. This is why I do not mind seeing book orders come directly into my office and deal with some fulfillment issues. When you are starting out and small, every customer counts and you get insights by knowing where these people are coming from and ordering from.
Regarding cardboard boxes and Priority Mail, they are more expensive if you want to pay for it. Again, using expensive cardboard or Priority Mail is old school thinking. It is about cost vs. benefit. It is discussed in Chapter 9. Having shipped out several hundreds of orders and almost no complaints of damage or returns, I stand by the less expensive and little labor intensive bubble envelopes.
Even though I plainly state that writing is what stops people in their tracks from publishing and that I have developed ways around the writing issue, Michael continues to harp on the writing. I am not going to become an English major to become a publisher or author. Again, hire an editor/writer or be a writer/editor.
Regarding my higher prices of my books, it was intentional and is discussed in Chapter 5. I am not trying to “outbulk” the competition. I am trying to make my philosophy as simplistic and practical as possible. In fact, my books will continue to get thinner, not thicker. And I will be charging MORE for what I write over time, not less. It is all a matter of which direction I want to take and who I want to attract.
What Michael calls “bullshit” is actually true to life. Traditional publishing dislike independent publishers and self-publishers. They dislike that more authors are entirely bypassing them and going straight to market. They hate that there are more titles than ever flooding the marketplace. Bookstores hate that more people are buying books over the Internet. I never claimed to directly compete for Simon & Schuster or Random House. However, as more authors decide to save their best ideas for their own books and bypassing traditional publishing houses, there will become a death of creative ideas because guys like me don’t care what traditionalists think because they are not the core customer for outlying and niche players.
In conclusion, the “bad review” I earned from Michael only serves to show the philosophical differences between old-school thinking and internet-age thinking. In many ways, by his detailed bad review of my book, he has actually boosted The TurnKey Publisher brand.
Like it or not, good writing is no longer a requirement to succeed in publishing. Being a good idea communicator and innovative thinker is.
Michael hates that I feel there is a need for more publishers and authors. He does not. I believe in abundance. He apparently believes in scarcity.
He even states that maybe I should NOT become a publisher or an author. Good thing I never asked HIS permission, eh? Even more thought-provoking, what if someone told you that you can’t or should not become a publisher or author in your life? How does that rub you? Well, that happens every day and goes unspoken by the traditionalists. Don’t let them keep you quiet.
I started my own publishing business so that the rest of my life I could share whatever knowledge, information, and insights in the way I wanted to without filtering through middle-men. I think nearly anyone can as long as you are willing to stand up for yourself but also have the right tools and mindset. The TurnKey Publisher series of books is one such tool among many.
As I said in another post, if Michael is upset now with my ideas first written in 2008, he better get his barf bag ready. He will absolutely vomit about the concept of Accelerated Publishing and CEO Publishing (Consultants, Experts/Entrepreneurs, Opportunists) is all about. Not to mention what I will be rolling out later in 2011 and 2012.