That corner office
If you were the one running the show—the brass, the suit, top dog and big cheese—what orders would you be issuing to your forces for this year? How would you guide your leadership team? What would you tell your talented staffers? Well, does this ring a bell?
The first thing I would do would be the most important, and that would be to form a community among my stable of...authors.
Or maybe this is a better hint:
Related to the above, I would henceforth require that my publicity department spend at least an hour a day on the popular self-published forums.
How about this?
We’ll miss the expensive lunches on the business accounts, but we won’t miss the rent. We’re looking for a low-slung building in an industrial center near a nice airport.
It was 2014, and the author Hugh Howey was posting his first "Don't Anyone Put Me in Charge" post—which would attract 183 comments. Howey had chosen a major trade publisher as his imaginary domain. And funnily enough, they didn't put him in charge.
So we're promoting you
#YoureTheBoss. You tell us: what's the strategy?
After such a good run with our manifestos for the future of the book, we want to (ready?) pivot. More to the point, we want you to pivot.
Following the call for manifestos issued by my colleague The Bookseller editor Philip Jones on the run-up to FutureBook 2015, the manifestos have provided us with a robust, spirited range of ideas, determination, quandaries, and rumination. From cookbooks in a digital age to new formats for all age groups, from metadata to the publishing workforce, from the marketplace to serial publishing, self-publishing, trade publishing and much more, the manifesti have come together as an energetic exercise in booking the future...and now we want you to assume you're there.
Welcome to the future. Of the book. And the mahogany door has your name on it.
Tell your admin to clear your calendar, tell your receptionist to hold your calls, and get out the good coffee you keep in the drawer to put into the Nespresso when the division directors aren't there to guzzle it. No, forget the coffee, go for the Campari.
Here's how it works
- You're the boss. Of what? You tell us. Are you at a Big Five publishing house? A major distribution power? A retail force majeure? History's tiniest independent press? The world's busiest bookstore? That supermarket selling more books than sausages? That train station with the odd-looking ebooks kiosk?
- Once you've got the lay of your land, then tell us the plan. Write a memo to all staff. Issue your notes on the outfit's new direction. Lay out the rationale for that 180-degree move in sales. Give us our marching orders. In 2016, the world is your oyster, we just handed it to you, and don't let the ice melt. Tell us where we're going, how we're getting there, and why it's the right destination.
- About 500 words will do it. (You know the staff can only take in so much at a time.)
- Ship it to firstname.lastname@example.org with "You're the boss" in the subject line.
- We'll get it out to the team and have you on the golf course for tee time, ma'am.