Thinking About Computers

It’s easy to summarize our plight and challenge as self-publishers:

So much to do. So little time.

No matter how much time we carve out of a 24-hour day to research, write, publish, and market books, there’s always more to do. And more, we likely have lives to live and families to nurture.

Writing a book is time-consuming enough. But publishing, marketing, promoting sales, all while researching the next book— Whew!

Publishing tasks and marketing can be outsourced to consultants but few self-publishers have sufficient cashflow or capital.

If only there were more hours in the day. If only we had more creative energy. We need to conserve what time and energy we have for noodle time, writing, and editing. But relentless routine and administrivia intrude.

Consider matters that consume our precious self-publishing work hours:

Writing

  • ideas
  • research notes
  • composition
  • editing

Projects

  • consultants
  • cover design
  • deadlines
  • diagrams
  • images
  • interior design
  • permissions
  • proofreading
  • timelines
  • tasks
  • typesetting

Marketing

  • book blurbs and reviews
  • book consignments
  • events
  • mailing lists
  • marketing collateral
  • queries
  • submissions
  • websites

Tech Resources

  • directories
  • domain names
  • files
  • hardware
  • software

Business

  • cashflow
  • contracts
  • ISBNs
  • legal
  • royalties

Much is administrivia—shuffling, storing, and retrieving information. Data. What can we organized for greater workflow efficiency? I look now at my computer. A small box on my desk.

Is it working hard enough for me? What can be out-sourced to my computer?

The Problem

I sit down at my computer.

Somewhere in this dumpster dive of higgledy piggledy accumulated directories and files is an image I need for the book I’m pushing hard to publish. Takes me uncounted mind-numbing minutes to find it.

As a self-publisher productivity gained or lost is up to me. Clearly, harnessing my computer’s full publishing power and potential is the heart of the matter.

But, hard cold fact: I’ve let my computer run feral.

Linda pops to mind.

Back in the day I managed a software development company. Linda, a talented freelance graphic artist, did outstanding work. Her hourly rate was substantially higher than competitors. But her work was superior; her invoice for work delivered invariably less. Linda’s secret: Exceptional productivity. She was total master of her computer hardware, software, and workflow.

Today I have too many book ideas and not enough time. There must be a better way.

The problem is twofold:

  • Overwhelming ecosystem of totally essential, interconnected, chunks of information and data.
  • Messy habit of throwing such into whatever directory or file at hand in the throes of creative composition and project mismanagement.

This must change.

The Imagination Machine

Take this to the bank:

A computer is an imagination machine of near unlimited potential—far beyond surfing the web, managing email, word processing, and playing games.

Tech skills unleash that awesome power.

So I’m building my publishing empire in a box. And I’m learning tech skills to push my box to the max.

The vision:

A virtual Manhattan office tower with floors rising from book store to executive suite—every publishing function in between.

A place for everything and everything in place. Time-efficient tools that cut to the chase. Computer automation where it matters.

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