Phil Simon is the author of The New Small: How a New Breed of Small Businesses is Harnessing the Power of Emerging Technologies. You can get The New Small here.

I don’t normally interview authors for my blog but Phil’s story of how The New Small came to be is particularly interesting. He started his own publishing company to publish this book, even though he had a history with traditional publishers. Here is his story…

MLO: There are lots of books out there aimed at small business owners. What makes your book different?

Well, I haven’t read every book out there targeted at the SB market. I am unaware of any, however, that takes my approach. I tell the stories of a series of companies using emerging technologies to do some fascinating things. They are saving money, reaching new customers, and creating some amazing jobs. It’s kind of a hybrid management, HR, and technology book.

MLO: Who is the ideal reader of your book then? What stage of ones business would they be at to get the most out of the book?

Three groups: 1. current SB owners; 2. those thinking about starting their own shops; 3. big businesses looking to learn from nimbler companies. As for which stage, it doesn’t matter. Many mature SBs are stuck in their ways or otherwise unable to take advantage of cloud computing, mobility, social technologies, etc.

MLO: You originally pitched the book to Wiley, but decided not to publish with them. What happened?

Wiley was very interested but we had very different ideas about how much the book should cost and when it should be released. I started Motion Publishing to work with social media-savvy authors intent on producing a high quality text. I intend to do more books with Motion and bring other authors into the fold.

MLO: What kind of books do you plan to publish with Motion Publishing? More business books? Are you opening it up to bloggers who want to get their work to market quickly?

I can’t see doing too much with fiction. I am very interested in how technology is impacting a great many things: customer service, the workforce, small businesses, etc. First-time authors are welcome to publish, but writing a series of posts is very different than putting together 85,000 or so words for a proper book.

MLO: It says on your website that you’re an independent technology consultant. There are lots of people out there that would love to get into consulting, but aren’t sure what the first step is. What are some must-do’s for anyone who wants to get into consulting, in any industry?

As I write in The New Small, many people begin contracting almost involuntarily. They’d like a full-time job but can’t find one. As for requirements, I can tell you about the essentials: a website, errors and omissions insurance, financial and accounting software, a healthy network of recruiters and friends keeping an eye out for you, potential incorporation, and the like. More than that, however, one needs to know appropriate rates. It’s hard to know what your worth and, admittedly, it’s more art than science. Sometimes you take less than you can get. Most important, you need to have a personality that accepts high highs and low lows. You won’t get a steady paycheck. Be prepared for the feast or famine world of independent life.

MLO: Pricing was the most difficult thing for me. Do you have any tips in the book that are specific to pricing?

Again, this is more art than science. I knew that my publisher wanted to price the book too high. By the same token, however, is a $7.95 new book likely to be any good? Production, editing, proofreading, the cover, and the like all cost a great deal of money to do properly. Unless you’re going to sell 50,000 books, you have to make a reasonable per-unit profit on each book. At least for The New Small, $19.95 felt right, although the book is currently on at around $16.00.

Phil Simon is the author of The New Small: How a New Breed of Small Businesses is Harnessing the Power of Emerging Technologies. You can get The New Small here.

2 thoughts on “An Interview with Phil Simon, Author of The New Small

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *