The tortoise and the hares, why my writing core values remain the same in the midst of the evolving publishing industry.
Scribe Media, a ghostwriting, publishing, and book marketing service, closed its doors on May 24th, laying off 90 employees. This could be a reflection of the coming AI job redefinition tide, the down economy, or more statistically likely in the case of business shutterings, completely unrelated internal business factors within the company (reports indicate it is the latter on the list).
I have mixed feelings about the news. On one hand they are fellow scribes, wordsmiths, so, in solidarity, it’s a sad story. I think back to my failed attempts years ago to scale my own writing agency into something bigger than it was meant to be, a story chronicled in depth in my memoir The Power of the Curve. When innocent others are brought along for a leader’s failure ride, it sucks for everyone involved.
But on the other hand, as a fallible human and passionate entrepreneur, I can’t help but think of all the calls with prospective clients who informed me that they were also considering the services of Book in a Box (later to become Scribe Media). As I pointed out to those callers, my value proposition has always been different from the “one stop” self publishing services who often bundle ghostwriting and coaching services with a plethora of other publishing, marketing, printing, and PR offerings.
My “pitch” was never to do it all, it was to do a couple of things extremely well.
Therefore, rather than trying to do it all myself, I elected to stay in my lane of writing quality books, while partnering with trusted outside services based on my clients’ additional needs, and shepherding the process through to the end to ensure the best results. Bottom line – my clients’ books get done, they get written well, and they get published, just like the others. Being a “one stop” is an administrative promise, not a promise of quality.
My offer has been essentially the same since I opened my virtual doors 20 years ago – to help authors write books that stand out on the crowded global bookshelf, working from my core values of quality, integrity, and over delivering on promises.
It’s not the sexiest value prop, but it has lasting power in a world rapidly moving toward automation and less (and less) human involvement.
My old school writing core values come from my grandfather and great uncle, inventors of that French fry machine you see in fast food restaurants:
-Do what you say you’re going to do, when you say you’ll do it.
-Always do your best or else the next guy will come along and do a better job.
-Offer a quality product that your customers can rely on.
Simple yet powerful, and maybe those are among the reasons that my clients keep coming back for more, year after year, and in some cases, decade after decade. My promises are unsexy yet stable.
RIP Scribe Media and I hope your team of creatives finds ways to continue practicing their crafts. In the face of coming changes to how the written word is produced, I hope we all do. The good news is, we’re creatives. Masters of creativity. If anyone can pull it off, we can.
P.S. Do my core values align with yours? Do you want to write a book that stands out from the pack and makes a real impact in people’s lives? Let’s talk.