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Publish or Perish

Publish or Perish


I walked in to the office of the acupressurist I bring my daughter to each week, and while Barbara at the front desk clicked on her keyboard to update that we were there, I had time to smile, try to look smart, and gaze about at all the many things they had assembled for people at the front counter to gaze at while in my same situation: myriad natural products in everything from colored tubes to canisters, kitchen devices, and a wall behind Barbara laden with rows and columns of a particular brand of whole food supplement; a two-dimensional apothecary.

But then I looked closer, as if by design, at the counter I comfortably leaned on. Right in front of me on a little, clear, plastic easel, sat a DVD with an image of our aforementioned acupressurist. He is slightly balding with a gentle face, white remaining hair, and he looked as if mid explanation, frozen in time. He wore a white kitchen smock as he stood behind a butcher block. Between sat a rainbow of colored vegetables, and he benignly wielded a chef’s knife.

I trusted him already, which was, after all, why we were there, but this was news. The title of the DVD was something like Vegetable Cooking with Noel. In fact I found their practice, he and his wife, when looking for chiropractic, acupressure, kinesiology, and nutrition. It was not only just what I was looking for at the time but they were all found to be friendly, interested in my family and our welfare, and a bright, relaxing place to visit. I needed no more persuasion. In fact I am, in a word, already delighted having found them.

What it Means

And I knew of course that they make dietary recommendations, but what did this mean, this DVD? He clearly didn’t do it for the money, at least I don’t think so. No, what occurred to me was this intelligent, good-willed man must be so teaming with good information he wants to share in the most interesting, easy-to-understand-and-apply way, that he made a DVD and here it was. Would someone without that good a heart and that much to say go to all the trouble? Well, okay, maybe, but I already know Noel, and even if I didn’t I would still make certain, instant assumptions, nonetheless:

  • He’s an expert.
  • He cares about the subject.
  • He has something unique and possibly new to say on the subject.
  • He can obviously be trusted on the subject.

Note that our instinct to trust someone is in good part based on how overt they are about it. Publishing a book, course, tape, DVD and so on is fairly overt! That leads to more instant assumptions:

  • He is confident, presumably uniquely accomplished in the subject.

And all of these attributes before ever even sticking the thing in my DVD player!

If I think about him now, it’s kind of amazing. I know he’s expert at acupressure and other practice-related topics because he’s gotten good results with my daughter. I assumed he would because after all, he has a very nice brick and mortar location where they say they’ve practiced for over 20 years. I now feel like I know (in other words, “believe” which is a type of knowledge with acceptance and trust) that he is also an authority on the subject of not only nutrition, but also handy, tasty, food preparation with vegetables! Now, from this meat and potatoes kind of guy, that’s a skill! I may need him, and maybe soon! I may need the DVD, but I also now appreciate even more the access I have to Noel, so that’s another interesting thing:

  • I feel lucky to have access to Noel!

The Pleasure is Mine

Also, it occurs to me that I’m now receptive to anything else he might publish! Hey, he did it once! As a writer and publisher who cut his teeth on ghostwriting and helping people position themselves in their fields, I also now know he should have a book, and would likely be open to the idea, if not planned already! It would open currently closed doors and enable him to reach more people, if in his case the altitude and positioning serve mostly to help disseminate a worthy message. (In fact, at Maven Publishing, we do free books for worthy causes from time to time.)

Another thing. How smart is he to have done the DVD? In this age of ads, ads, ads,—and I mean all over gas pumps and in men’s rooms on the walls and even on the floors—in this age of attraction marketing he could have placed a free brochure or flyer there for clients to take, right? But no, this is a DVD; a more digestible and enjoyable format, sure, but more importantly, if I want it I have to pay for it. Not much, but I have to pay extra for it, and they don’t just hand them to you there, you really do have to pay for them. What’s that mean? Is he after millions of dollars selling an occasional DVD to patients? Of course not. But it does mean another very impressive and important thing for both him and me:

  • It has value.

That makes me want to buy it all the more. In fact if I buy his DVD or if I buy an e-book for more than free or 99 cents, I am much more likely to watch or read it, and more likely, in my opinion, to use the information and value it. That can backfire too, if one charges too much, but provide value and you get more response, of course.

A Horrible Businessperson

I love what I do, and I do this for people—get them published. I remember a business consultant who would walk in to a powerful doctor’s office and tell him, “Doc, you’re obviously a very skilled and valuable physician, but you’re a horrible business person.” He would ruin the guy by explaining the difference: that doctors are not, as a matter of course, trained as much in operating their business, and he’d walk out with a $15,000 to $30,000 consulting package sold. I think the doctors would then double the sizes of their practices, too.

And here I am, a writer and publisher. I get to deal with all kinds of amazing people, from nutritionists to financial advisors, to plumbers and real estate agents, you name it. Anyone who has been in business and diligent for any length of time has something to say, and we help them say it. It’s a challenge and a joy every single day, especially as we get their books live on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and maybe even more so when that package arrives and they slice it open to reveal their book. We usually touch and stare at it for a while when it finally arrives, then run off to show it, often with unmitigated exuberance!

Publish or Perish

But the real excitement comes from the market penetration it can be used for. In today’s crowded, noisy market place you need something like that and not just more noise. We all need expert marketing and in my opinion a book is the new calling card. People seek them out by choice and by sensing a need, and once with them, you, as a professional, have hours with them to inform and engage.

Maybe I’m biased—okay definitely I’m biased—but I really believe the old maxim in the universe of academia is bleeding over into the world of professional and serious business people: publish or perish! Otherwise the competition is just too stiff to be any fun, and heck, work and your career should be fun.

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by Rodney Taber // Guest Contributor to Businessing Magazine.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.