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Expert Analyst on Publishing Decides to Self-Publish

7 June 2012

Forrester Research Vice President and Principal Analyst James McQuivey is paid a great deal of money for his expertise on publishers and publishing.

From Why We Need a Dad:

In my analyst work I am an explorer of digital disruptions . . . , many of them in the media businesses. In that work I have the privilege of working with some of the most talented and capable book publishers in the world. Of the many industries I have worked with, these are some of the brightest and most interesting people I have ever met.

And I have just stabbed them in the back.

Not literally, of course, and not even with a very big dagger, however symbolic. But I have just added mine to the large chorus of voices that have chosen to say what they want to say, in what feels like a book form, without going through a publisher.

I know the arguments for and against what I’ve done. The main argument against what I’ve done is that I probably won’t sell a lot of copies of my book — it doesn’t have any bondage in it (a recent hot trend in self-published books), nor does it contain a paranormal romance (see last year’s hot trend in self-published books). Instead, my book WHY WE NEED DAD is a simple exploration of a survey of 1,000 US adults that I paid for with my own money to find out how we feel about our dads. As a father of six, it is a topic that is important to me. As the son of a very good father, it is a tribute to him. It was worth doing and it is worth sharing.

But was it something I should have done with the help of a publisher? Certainly, if I had finished the book a year ago and was content to publish survey data that would be more than a year old by the time I shared it; certainly, if I felt like the book had enough gravitas and if I was willing to listen to a smart editor guide me to a book that would be more marketable; if all of those things had been true, I might have been tempted to work with a publisher. Assuming one would have me, which is a big assumption.

Instead, I had 4 weeks from when I finished the book to when Father’s Day would land.

. . . .

So I struck out on my own. And you know what I found? Self-publishing makes so much sense. Amazon has gotten good at it. They led me through a simple point-and-click adventure of manuscript preparation, proofing, and testing. They easily handed me off to their subsidiary, CreateSpace, so I could make a paperback version (complete with an ISBN assignment process that was completely devoid of mystery), and they gave me attractive control over pricing and promotion, not to mention nearly real-time reporting. And there’s the matter of the huge royalty they pay, assuming I sell some books.

Link to the rest at Why We Need Dad

And here’s a link to Why We Need Dad on Amazon.

Amazon, Self-Publishing

5 Comments to “Expert Analyst on Publishing Decides to Self-Publish”

  1. And this is what drives me crazy about analysts/consultants/experts. “Hey, did you know that KDP is easy to use? That will be a gazillion dollars, please. Behold my marvelous expertise on digital disruption and publishing!”

    I mean, of course for his work he doesn’t need to know this, because his clients aren’t asking these questions and probably don’t want to know. Which is why you typically don’t get the big picture or new ideas from analysts–CEOs just want to be told that they are awesome and only maybe need a little tweaking around the edges. They don’t want to be told, “Wave your suppliers bye-bye!”

  2. I wonder how this decision will affect his analyst job.

  3. He seems to be doing all right with sales at Amazon – from his ranking, he’s selling @20-25 copies a day (possibly more) – it shouldn’t take him more than a few months to hit his goal, and I expect the subject matter and his cred, plus the timing of the Father’s Day release, should push his sales quite a bit.

  4. I think this is a cool idea. I particularly like the topic and timeliness. Clever guy.

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