“After earning a doctorate in health administration at the age of 69, I decided to write a book about the American healthcare system: what is wrong with it and how to fix it.”
Why did you become a book publisher? I retired from IBM after 35 years and joined the board of a hospital. After seeing how archaic healthcare processes were, I decided to become a student. After earning a doctorate in health administration at the age of 69, I decided to write a book about the American healthcare system: what is wrong with it and how to fix it.
What do you like best about publishing? Being your own publisher gives you complete control over the process. Every step along the way from idea to a printed, audible, or electronic book is up to you. You set the schedule, the quality control, the marketing strategy, and pricing. You decide how much to invest in cover design and all aspects of marketing. Self-publishing doesn't mean you have to do everything; you get to decide how much to outsource to others and how much to do yourself.
What do you publish? My keyword is Attitude. Everything is about attitude. My first book was Net Attitude. My newest book is Health Attitude. I have three more in the works. My company is Attitude, LLC.
What is the most effective form of marketing for your press? The best marketing is personal. Social media is great and very important, but nothing beats giving a speech and engaging in Q&A with an interested audience and press in attendance.
How do you define a successful title? The title has to tell the story. It needs to make people interested enough to look at the back cover or look inside.
Tell us about one of your titles about which you are especially proud. I wrote Net Attitude in 2001. It portrayed a very positive vision of the future of the Internet. People thought I was off my rocker when I said that we would all be doing our banking online. Bank CEOs told me they would never connect their bank to the Internet. Even Bill Gates said the Internet was too slow and insecure to be used for business. I saw it differently. I was a founding member of the World Wide Web Consortium at MIT in 1994 and the Global Internet Project in 1995. I was excited about the possibilities and wrote Net Attitude to share the vision and offer key attitude changes that management needed to make to embrace and utilize the Internet. I described how the limitations were not technical, they were attitudinal. The Internet has been a grass roots initiative from the beginning. It empowers people. Websites are for the people, not for the company. Some still do not get it to this day 14 years later.
What has been your biggest challenge in achieving success? I have been fortunate. Somewhere in my genome is a passion and enthusiasm gene. Assuming you have the basics of intelligence and hard work, if you have passion and enthusiasm and can communicate effectively, you can accomplish anything and get others to believe in you and your ideas. That is the formula for success.
What advice do you have for newcomers to book publishing? The resources available for self publishing are phenomenal. The sites and services available can answer every question you can imagine. For example, the IBPA has a 64-page handbook full of ideas and resources. You can supplement this through online discussion with other independent authors and publishers.
How will you and your company be positioned in five years? In five years, I will be 75 years old. I plan to be still writing books and publishing them myself. I am excited about this second career and look forward to sharing the many things I have learned about technology and healthcare and having a positive influence on individuals, companies, and policymakers.
When you're not fully immersed in publishing, what do you do for fun? Publishing is fun. I never thought of email or web activities as work. I learn every day and I write something everyday. Once a week I publish an email with a summary of all the things I wrote the prior week. To me, that is fun.
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