Jon Mueller On the Author’s New Challenges That Lie Ahead

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Jon Mueller On the Author’s New Challenges That Lie Ahead by Tim Sanders

January 07, 2013

On January 14, I'll be making a return appearance at 800CEOREAD's annual Author Pow Wow, a gathering of business authors and publishing professionals.  Jon Mueller is the company's GM, and puts the event together.  Last week, he and I talked about the purpose of the event, his perspective on modern publishing and what we can expect from the company in the future.

Tim:  What are the greatest joys and challenges in your role at 800CEOREAD?

Jon:  Every day, we get any number of books sent to us from authors and from publishers, and we talk to interesting people all the time.  It's idea overload, really.  So, in some ways, it’s a really fulfilling spot for me, but it’s also really, really intense. Some of these ideas are very powerful, and they’re getting spread very quickly, and very far to many, many people.  It’s interesting to sit in the hub of that, and see it all happening, and watch what people are doing and how that process is changing.

Tim:  Talk about that how the spreading of ideas is changing.

Jon:  Instead of just pushing the book or its big idea, authors spread pieces of them around.  For instance, in our Change This manifestos, an author shares his perspective, but not the whole practice.  There are videos that they post on their blogs and tweets that dish bite sized ideas. All these little bits and pieces build to that big, whole idea that is the book.  It’s fun to see these constellations form, and watch how they develop, and kind of compare them to each other. 

Tim:  Why did 800CEOREAD create Author Pow Wow?

Jon:  The fundamental purpose behind our Pow Wow, is to help authors understand the road that they’ll be taking if they choose to pursue being an author.

When it began, the focus was more on the publishing industry, itself.  There was a lot of confusion, and there still certainly is, about what a publisher’s function is, what they’ll do for an author, and what’s expected from the author’s side.  Then as well as today, the expectation is, an author writes a book, they hand it to the publisher, and they sort of wash their hands, and wait for stardom to take place.  That’s not turning out to be the case.  That's when the real work begins.

We have a lot of industry people there such as publishers, publicists, business author consultants and designers.  But, we also discuss non-traditional ideas, driven by big changes in the industry.  For example, as technology has changed, so has the author’s task of promoting the book and how they connect its idea to an audience.

We also need to consider the rise of self-publishing.  Should business authors still pursue traditional publishing?  Now, should they just publish themselves?  In either case, authors are often ill-equipped to understand what’s expected or necessary, and to do those things themselves. So, we’ve brought in authors over the last couple of years that share their various experiences with publishing and self-publishing.  We've also included experts to talk about social media and digital promotions.

Tim:  What was one of the most surprising conclusions you’ve seen an attendee author come to?

Jon:  Last year, at the end of the event, we did a roundup with everybody on what they took away, and one of the authors said, “I’m not going to write my next book.  I’m not going to work on it anymore.  After hearing all this information, I realize that I’m not prepared for it.  Maybe down the road, when I can think about this more clearly, and dedicate some more time to it, I’ll be ready for it.  But, right now, I’m not ready.”

That was a really important lesson for somebody to learn because it is a tremendous amount of work to take this path, and if you’re not prepared for it, your energy and your time is probably better spent somewhere else.

Tim:  What were some of the biggest take-a-ways from last year’s Pow Wow?

Jon:  Not to point the spotlight on you, but your presentation was really a highlight for me because it spoke to the idea that publishing is not simple, and with technology, its complexity rises every day.  It’s not just a one route path.  It’s a many tiered path that you need to be conscious of, and have a support system to address.  That is  what Net Minds is set out to help authors with.  It’s about building teams.  It’s not just about you.  It’s not just about your idea.  It’s about who’s involved in fulfilling the spread and the creation of that idea.  To do that well, you must have the right people around you.

Tim:  What's the road map for 800-CEO-READ?  What big changes can we expect? 

Jon:  We have one site that’s re-launching in January called, Knowledge Blocks, and that deals with, sort of, high-level content, business knowledge in sort of a Twitter atmosphere online. is undergoing some big changes.  We’re going to be doing a total overhaul on how the site looks and works.  It’s going to be much more customer friendly.

As we start to see more authors producing ebook only versions of their idea, we want to be able to facilitate that.  So, that’ll be a big change you’ll see with us next year.

For more information, visit: Author Pow Wow

Tim Sanders

About Tim Sanders

Tim is a bestselling author and former Yahoo! executive with a mission to disrupt the traditional publishing and self-publishing industries and share knowledge with authors looking to publish and market high-quality books.

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