Good times

<p>Call me crazy, but I'm wildly optimistic about the new decade. In fact, I believe it will be publishing's Golden Age.</p>
<p>Before you phone for the men in white coats, hear me out. No, I'm not in denial. Yes, I do realise that our industry's collective problems have never been more acute. Nonetheless, in times of great turmoil, great opportunities arise. In evolutionary terms, we are leaving a time of stasis, and entering one of speciation. Small furry book-rodents are about to vanquish grotesquely proportioned publishing dinosaurs. Which are you? Here are seven rules to help you survive.</p>
<p>1. If you don't enjoy a scrap, get out of the business now. And I don't mean become an agent. The once clubby world of publishing is dead, RIP. The future belongs to the pugnacious: grab what you want, it's all there for the taking (hey, it worked for Google, didn't it?). This is the magic decade: the future will be what you and I make it today.</p>
<p>2. Please&mdash;get to know your customers. Research the heck out of them. Hang out with them. Get drunk with them. Spend less time in the office, more in pubs. Or bingo halls. Or woodworking. Or wherever your instincts tell you there's a market.</p>
<p>3. If you wouldn't stand naked on a street corner hustling your latest book, don't publish it.</p>
<p>4. Become a media whore. Publishing used to be centrally relevant to our nation's cultural life. Back in the 20th century, my first book scored both the BBC's &quot;Six O'Clock News&quot; and &quot;News at Ten&quot; (gee, when was the last time that happened?). Get in the media's face! Evangelise them until they call security; you'll win.</p>
<p>5. If you run a big corporate publishing company&mdash;don't. Corporatism is the enemy of great publishing. Be honest with your shareholders&mdash;the stark truth is, they will never again achieve the adipose ROIs (return on investments) of yesteryear. Then do a management buyout and give your most prodigious talents a piece of the action.</p>
<p>6. Cherish genius. Where are tomorrow's Anthony Cheet-hams or Judith Regans? Plan to nurture the new crop of brilliant mavericks. Publishing is by definition anti-establishment, we thrive by giving the finger to the status quo. You are a publishing rebel, and so are all your brightest people&mdash;love them for it.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </p>
<p>7. Sack your new media consultants. Also dispense with anyone whose title includes the word &quot;strategy&quot;. They spread fear and confusion, and actually know far less than you and me. You can trust me on that, by the way&mdash;I'm not a consultant.<br />
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