Posts Tagged ‘Simon & Schuster Free Press’

Crimes of the blog

Saturday, January 9th, 2010

I’m going through a mind-splitting experience. In the day time, I write a book – The Alchemy of Co-Creation, with my friend and colleague Venkat Ramaswamy, for Simon & Schuster Free Press. At night, I write this blog. Every time I switch from one to the other, I have to remind myself whether I’m Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde.

For book writing purposes, I offer my best incarnation of the thoughtful middle child who plays inside a gang of my co-author, the publisher’s editor, our literary agent/coach and our in-house editor. We plot our crimes long in advance and in systematic fashion, carefully balancing conceptual integrity and consumer appeal. We endlessly rewrite the plan in minute details, complete with fact-checks and footnotes. Some of the crimes we describe will be three years in the making by the time they take place and our book describing them gets published in October 2010. I sometimes wonder whether our forensics will still be fresh at the time.

Of course, we’re going for the crime of the century, something between the Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie. Our marketing people are already hard at work with the press. I’m thinking Robert Downey Jr. to play me, and Denzel Washington to play my co-author. I’ll need a new look for the book tour – maybe a pork pie hat or a pompadour – and I must remember to trade my RAV4 for a Ducati. It’s fun to think about it, but it may or may not happen – particularly the pompadour – and it’s far away.

From the author’s point of view, though, crimes of the blog are a lot more fun because they’re more intimate and produce instant gratification. I can skewer quickly, and immediately find out the impact of what I’ve done. Before corpses harden, I can go on Google Analytics and see how many people read my stuff and where they live. I’m dying to know the two Sofia, Bulgaria, readers who jump on my latest entry every time. If Google tells me that my partner-in-crime from Montclair, New Jersey, has not read my blog within 48 hours, I can call him and question his commitment. I’ve learned that many people don’t like to publicly associate themselves on the blog with my crimes – perhaps they don’t share my exhibitionist tendencies – but they encourage my murderous instincts through private e-mails.

I’ve learned the two secrets of blog-writing: stick with murder, and build lists. My readership goes way up when I injure or kill. Taking on British Airways has brought me minor celebrity status, particularly in the UK. By contrast, my story about Joseph Campbell’s dancing monks has produced an enthusiasm limited to my mother and sister (my wife’s on the fence). The list of “Co-Creation from A to Z” has rocked the chart because I took on the entire advertising and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) industries, and everybody hates these guys. My list of “Ten Excuses Not to Do Co-Creation” has also been picked up by several corporate types who like it when you give them a reason to slack off.

Who said crime doesn’t pay?