Steven Pressfield Online




Subscribe RSS

Subscribe to SPO.

What It Takes

What It Takes

Learning from the Airline Industry

By Callie Oettinger | Published: August 29, 2014

Remember this thing?

Before computers stepped in, if you wanted to find a book in your library, you walked over to a shelf of drawers (or a few walls of drawers depending on the size of your library), scanned the labels on the outside of each drawer, opened the drawer that corresponded with the author or title for which you were searching, and then flipped through the cards until you found the title. It took going through this process to find out if a specific book was available in your library. If the card wasn’t there, either the book wasn’t available, or (as was often the case in my elementary school’s library) someone took out the card and didn’t put it back, or put it back in the wrong place. For this reason, if I didn’t find Ramona Quimby Age 8 within the Title catalog, it was in my best interest to check the Author catalog to see if a card was there. If it was, that would indicate that another third grader had likely rendered the Title card for Ramona Quimby Age 8 MIA, but that the book did exist within the library. The next step would be to check the shelves. If it wasn’t there, a check through the carts of unshelved books followed. Last stop was checking with the librarian to see if she knew the book’s whereabouts, followed by a reservation placed for the book if it was, indeed, checked out by one of my schoolmates.

Today, though… I don’t need to leave my home to see what’s on the shelves of my local library — or to scan the millions of books available for sale online. And, if I want it now, in most cases, I can download the book and start reading it within minutes.

The airline industry went through the same experience, transitioning from a paper filing system to a computer system, in order to streamline the reservation process. Its transition to a new system and the events that follow make good reading for the publishing industry, which is still lagging behind. (more…)

Posted in What It Takes

What It Takes

What It Takes

The Things You Complain About are the Things You Could Be Changing

By Shawn Coyne | Published: August 22, 2014

In the dream, the writer and reader need no publisher or retailer. There’s no pooh-poohing gatekeeper or everything store keeping a writer in the wilderness or hiding his gems in the stockroom.

It ain't just a song

There is no front table. No cooperative advertising.

It’s simple. In the dream, the writer and reader are connected. One creates. The other supports the creation.

The writer writes something. He publishes it by working with other artists (editors, copyeditors, proofreaders, cover artists, book designers)…not as an employer demanding 40 hours a week of obedience and having to offer a salary, health benefits, and possibly a 401K for that servitude (overwhelming expenses that can take the fun out of anything).

Instead, the writer negotiates a fair fee for the piecemeal work and the supporting artists deliver.

The way this publishing works doesn’t require that the writer hand over his work to a corporation just to get Wal-Mart or Barnes & Noble or an independent bookstore to carry a copy for couple of weeks.

Instead, the writer uses a virtual network to let the people who like his work know when he has something new available. Over many years, the writer attracts readers to his corner of the universe.


Posted in What It Takes

What It Takes

What It Takes

Crowdfunding, Part Deux

By Callie Oettinger | Published: August 15, 2014

For the past few weeks, Steve’s interviews with Jeff Simon have been appearing on this site. The last one ran just before Jeff’s Indiegogo campaign ended — fully funded I’d like to add (with a congrats to Jeff and Team Abercorn).

I shared a bit about his campaign via the post “Why You Need to Know About Crowdfunding,” with lessons from crowdfunding that crossover into outreach, for sharing our work.

A few additions to that piece:

If Mozart Could Do It . . .

Alexander Pope did it. Mozart did it. And . . . The “American Committee” (thank them for the base and pedestal of the Statue of Liberty) did it.

And, the three did it without the ease of a computer that could put them in touch with millions around the world.

Yes, they all had known names, but . . . Their outreach was similar to the word-of-mouth outreach that still starts at the local level today.

In Justin Kazmark’s article “Kickstarter Before Kickstarter,” you’ll find Mozart’s experiences in crowdfunding, as well as the stories of the other three:

In 1783, Mozart took a similar path. He wanted to perform three recently composed piano concertos in a Viennese concert hall, and he published an invitation to prospective backers offering manuscripts to those who pledged:

“These three concertos, which can be performed with full orchestra including wind instruments, or only a quattro, that is with 2 violins, 1 viola and violoncello, will be available at the beginning of April to those who have subscribed for them (beautifully copied, and supervised by the composer himself).”

Alas, not all projects reach their funding goals, and Mozart fell short. A year later he tried again, and 176 backers pledged enough to bring his concertos to life. He thanked them in the concertos’ manuscript:

Mozart's crowdfunders. Image credit: Cornell University Library.

So, if you’re looking for other examples of crowdfunding that would work in the realm of outreach, to share your project, consider going local for examples. We don’t know how Mozart got the word out, but the image below offers a clue to what the “American Committee” did. (more…)

Posted in What It Takes
Sign up for first look access.

Enter your email to get free access to every new thing I do.

No spam, I promise!

Gates of Fire
The War of Art
Turning Pro
The Profession
The Warrior Ethos
Do The Work
Tides of War
The Afghan Campaign
The Virtues of War
Killing Rommel
Last of the Amazons
The Legend of Bagger Vance
Additional Reading
Video Blog