Feb. 18, 2010
Kevin Weiss, president and CEO of Authors Solutions, Inc., looks forward to the changes coming to the industry of self-publishing. Weiss believes the industry, though controversial, is here to stay and will revolutionize writing and reading for the better. In fact, Weiss’ company thinks the new business card might just be the self-published book, which they say is giving employees, job hunters and business leaders an advantage over the competition. Authors Solutions, Inc. (ASI) provides multiple services to those who want to publish a book, including editorial service, illustrations, book and cover designs, publicity, promotion, distribution and online and store sales. The company’s self-publishing brands have helped more than 70,000 authors self-publish, promote, and bring to market more than 100,000 new titles. Previously the CEO of Simdesk and former president of McAfee, Inc., Weiss has years of management and leadership experience that he brings to his global company.
Corp!: How do you view the future of Authors Solutions during this tough economic time?
Weiss: I can tell you that during this tough economic time our business has grown faster than we had anticipated. Last year was pretty ugly. Our business is still showing big, big growth — double digit growth, year after year. I will never say something is recession-proof, but we have weathered the storm pretty well.
Corp!: With new technology, readers are finding new ways to read books. How do you think this will change publishing and Authors Solutions?
Weiss: I think it is positive. When you don’t have choice, no matter what it is, you feel handcuffed to only one thing. Both readers and writers like having more choices. E-books is just another choice being made available to people. It’s just another wave of growth that is going to take place in the publishing industry.
Change is just something that happens. Change is difficult and people sometimes are resistant to change. People who have been doing [traditional publishing] have been doing it the same way for a long, long time. They don’t know what that means to them just yet. People are trying to be in business and transform. When our authors are picked up by a traditional publisher we celebrate. Lisa Genova [author of “Still Alice”] had a number six best seller with Simon and Schuster. We were thrilled. Without us, the manuscript might still be in a bottom drawer. We do everything they do. Our quality is as good as theirs.
Corp!: What was your first job and what did you learn from it?
Weiss: I lived in Manhattan and I was a sales representative at IBM. I learned how to navigate Manhattan underground (laughs). At IBM, it was very disciplined. IBM has it drilled into their customers that IBM means service. There are two rules. First, the customer is always right. Second, if the customer is wrong, then refer to rule number one. We have thousands of interaction points every, single day. We have an obligation to make things right for our customers. Show up every day and give 110 percent.
Corp!: What is the most important lesson you have learned in business?
Weiss: Always do the right thing. You shouldn’t cut corners; it’s going to show up in the quality of your work. Do the right thing for others, don’t expect more from others than you expect from yourself, and give yourself the best chance for success. If something doesn’t go right, analyze it, understand it, and move on. And don’t make that mistake again.
Corp!: What is your favorite book?
Weiss: My favorite books are “This Side of Paradise” and “The Great Gatsby,” anything F. Scott Fitzgerald. There is something about it, I just love the way he writes. I went to Princeton and stayed in the suite where he wrote “This Side of Paradise.” That was cool.
Corp!: What is your greatest passion in life?
Weiss: Well, my greatest passion is my family and assuring that they have the chance to achieve what they can in life. We have been fortunate. I’ve been fortunate to have a supportive family, kids and wife. At work, my passion is to make the people I work with feel like they make a difference. That they contribute to something that makes a difference.