Why IT managers can

Vanity publishing used to be a matter of narcissism. Now it’s a matter of marketing.

A firm known as Author Solutions is trying to create some buzzaround the idea of the book as a business card – that by publishingsomething along the lines of Who Moved My Blade Server or From Good toAgile (yes, I give these titles to you as gifts), executives canestablish some kind of instant street cred.

Author Solutions, which published a combined 19,000 titles in 2008through its AuthorHouse, iUniverse, Xlibris and Wordclay imprints,publishes a wide of array books from virtually every genre. Businesspeople from consultants to professional speakers to CEOs are one offastest-growing groups of published authors.

“When it comes to business and establishing yourself as anexpert in a specific area, nothing provides more credibility than abook,” says Keith Ogorek, vice president of marketing for AuthorSolutions, Inc. – the world’s leading indie book publishing company. “Abook instantly establishes you as someone who has reached a level ofexpertise and that people should listen to what you have to say.”

I think it would also help to have some readers, whichself-published books generally don’t, but whatever. Marcel Proustpublished In Search of Lost Time by himself, so there arealways exceptions. The best books, however, are usually written becausethe author wanted to enlighten or entertain his or her audience, notbecause they wanted to impress a potential client.

The notion of a book as business card has some legitimacy, however.A book is a long-term project that requires enough investment of time,energy and talent that it bespeaks a certain prestige to even the worstauthors. IT managers could write a book, but is there nothing else intheir work that offers a similar sense of accomplishment?

Think of all the work IT managers do to get a data centre runningsmoothly, to launch an e-commerce platform or to successfully deploy abrand-new enterprise resource planning system. All of these things, onecould argue, are as in-depth as writing a book, and in many cases theyare much more collaborative activities. The problem, of course, is thatyou can’t carry around a well-run data centre in your briefcase or mailit out to prospective clients.

What a writer produces is permanent (at least while it’s still inprint), accessible to anyone who can read and easily portable. What anIT manager produces is always subject to change, often inscrutable tothose who don’t know what goes on in the background of an enterpriseand can’t fit comfortably between two covers. They can’t use a book asa business card. Productive, satisfied users will have to do instead.

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