Monthly Archives: November 2011

Mentors and Demons


If you work in publishing for any length of time, you are going to come across people who will lend a hand and give you some advice as you are learning the ropes in this business.  Since book publishing is a very long apprenticeship, it helps to have individuals with you on the long career train-ride who will guide you and give you the foundational building blocks that you will need to make your way through this thing called publishing.  Seek them out, cling to them and learn everything that you can from these wise and grizzled individuals.  I have been extremely fortunate in my career to have worked with a few great people who showed me the ins and outs of this profession.  Two individuals in particular are first and foremost in my mind whenever I think back on the stepping-stones in my career path.  They were both individuals who were in the middle of their careers, so they were not threatened by this newbie who was trying to pick-up and learn as much as possible from these knowledgable gentleman.  I owe them a debt of gratitude I cannot repay, but these 2 individuals personify what it means to be a selfless guide in helping teach the next generation of publishing professionals.


You will invariably run into people who are not one with you on your career journey.  Learn how to identify them, avoid them, and if needed, escape from them as the life journey is too short to be filled with regret and suffering at the hands of an insecure or troubled guide.  There may be ways to deal with the situation if you find yourself in a battle with one of these transgressors.  Stay under cover and work to extricate yourself from the situation as quickly as you can.  Constant belittling and consternation can be a drag on you and your career goals, so stay put as long as you need too, but if you need to run for the sake of maintaining your own individual view of self, by all means make that happen.  I have had 3 different instances where a supervisor was regularly undermining my professional standing within the corporate organization.  To continually deal with the physical and emotional torment is to put oneself into a position where health becomes the paramount issue.  Your health and safety are always the most important things in this delicate balance.  Protect yourself at all costs and do what you must to leave a bad situation whole and safe.  The next work environment will be better, and may have a mentor waiting for you to boot!

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Definition: What do we mean by BOOK?

Don and Derek

The Book Kahuna and his Corgi, Derek!

The Book Kahuna

Almost 30 years ago when I first got into publishing, this question had one answer:  Print on Paper.  Now that we have advanced technologically and have seen the advent of many different formats for CONTENT distribution, we need to make sure what this blog is all about.

What we are referring to when we say the word BOOK is defined thusly:

Any vessel for the dissemination of CONTENT that may be in a wood-based form, an electronic form, or a database form.  It can also depict a product that can be a variant of any and all of the defined formats previously listed.  In addition, there may be products such as enhanced e-books that have a melding of other media formats integrated within a framework of one of the formats we have listed above.  In other words, we really don’t care on this blog what format the final product is, but all the steps in a normal digital workflow are needed to configure and compose this final product.

In bookland, we’re not here to reinvent the wheel, just make sure that the wheel can roll and keep all the participants happy and peppy when put onto the road.

The one myth that needs to be dispelled at this juncture stems from the workflow process of a print book and an e-book.  To get to a final product on each of these formats the manuscript must be edited, the book pages need to be laid out, the pages need to be proofread, and then the index needs to be compiled.  This last item with the index, the index will be requested from the author if his contract stipulates that he is the one accountable for the preparation, but he will be given plenty of time to submit the final manuscript when the production schedule demands.

What are your thoughts on this definition?  Is it too narrow for those who were working with CONTENT in other areas?  Michael Stelzner in his book “Launch:  How to Quickly Propel your Business Beyond the Competition” has said that the importance of your content is the main lifeblood that will determine whether your business is successful or becomes a victim of the economy’s “Corporate Darwinism”.

So in summarizing:  the book you write may not be one that elicits a commanding presence in the market, but if the CONTENT is good you will find a following that will help your book to adequately add depth and width to your brand.

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The Book Kahuna- Who, What, Where and Why


Graduation Day with my MS In Publishing from Pace University, 5/16/12

Graduation Day with my MS In Publishing from Pace University, 5/16/12

The Book Kahuna

This is my first blog post on my new blog.  I’ll make it simple since I know we live in an age of short soundbites and multi-visual graphic systems to stimulate the senses.

The beginning:  Why Books?

I have been working in the book publishing industry for the past 28 years.  I love working in production/manufacturing, and over that span I have seen the publishing industry go from Kitty Hawk to Walking on the Moon in the space of that 28 years.  Technology has advanced at a rate so fast that even those working in the business did not realize the rapid ascent to the current state of book techno madness. It has been an incredible ride, and only looks to get more intense as we move forward with the e-book revolution.

Why the Kahuna?

Well, something edgy was needed to get the name out into the public venue.  Having been to Hawaii only 2.5 years ago, I realized that the Kahuna was the main man, the big cheese, the guy with the answers.  Guess I fooled all of you!   I have many of the answers, but not all of them, and never claim that I do.  The book industry is one where you are aways learning, and never have the information in total to be the “King of the Publishing Crown”.  I thought if I could use this blog to put relevant topics into a discussion, my colleagues and peers would lend valuable information for the up and coming publishing professionals.

What types of discussions?

You name it and we will be discussing it on this blog. From 4/color printing to xml based digital workflows, we’ll chat and discuss.

I’m currently the Production Manager at ABC-CLIO, LLC, a social science and reference publisher based in Santa Barbara, California.

For now, I’ll let this be my first post, but what problems or issues are you finding in your career in the publishing industry?  As Frazier Crane used to implore:  “I’m Listening.”


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