Zoom, Slack, Microsoft Teams—at the beginning of 2020, not too many people would recognize the name of even one of these tools. Twelve months later, many of us are working remotely due to COVID-19, and Zoom is so popular that it’s become a verb—to “Zoom” means to chat on video conferencing.
Phil Simon is the author of eleven books; no stranger to technology, his previous titles include Zoom for Dummies, Slack for Dummies, and The Age of the Platform: How Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google Have Redefined Business. With the current boom in remote work, his new book, Reimagining Collaboration: Slack, Microsoft Teams, Zoom and the Post-COVID World of Work, is timely.
Zoom for Dummies hit the shelves in August 2020. At that time, Phil had the idea to write a book about the tools people use most often as they work from home and communicate with other remote team members. “By August 2020, a few things became apparent,” recalls Phil. “First, the long-predicted second wave of the pandemic was coming. Second, we weren’t going back to our offices anytime soon. Finally, even when a vaccine arrived, in a way it wouldn’t matter because prominent companies were extending work indefinitely.”
The result is Reimaging Collaboration. Says Phil, “I knew that Slack, Microsoft Teams and other collaboration tools were very powerful. They can transform how we work, particularly how we work remotely. Reimagining Collaboration provides a framework for not only using them to their maximum capacities but for collaborating more effectively in general.”
Phil maintains that far too many people are using these collaborative tools as “Email 2.0.” As a result, they are missing out on extraordinary opportunities to create more collaborative work environments (even remotely), to reduce manual work, make their work lives less stressful and much more. Through Reimagining Collaboration, Phil offers concrete tips for companies, teams, and remote workers on how to transform the way they work.
While Phil’s inspiration was helping to improve how people collaborate, his goal in writing Reimagining Collaboration was to start a conversation and build his business. Phil thinks of books as “thick business cards.” He hopes that conferences return in mid-to-late 2021 and that he will be able to garner new consulting opportunities by handing out his “thick business card.” Meanwhile, his new book is doing well on Amazon, where it’s available in both Kindle and paperback formats. The audiobook drops in a few weeks.
Phil worked on his book with 1106 Design. The company provided copy editing, general consulting and book design services. He doesn’t consider this model of publishing to be “self-publishing,” however. Recalling his first book, Why Systems Fail, which he self-published in 2009, Phil says, “I self-published Why Systems Fail and it shows. I was proud of it, but in hindsight, it isn’t very professional. I mistakenly thought I could do everything myself. To quote the great Rush song Presto, ‘What a fool I used to be.’”
Phil sold the rights to his first book to Cengage in late 2009. He reports that the new edition of the book was far more polished than the previous one. Having now published eight books with traditional publishers, Phil says he knows what to expect. “The level of individual attention has never been great. In my view, it’s waned over the past five to seven years.” However, he recognizes that traditional publishing has its benefits. “The brand recognition of the ‘For Dummies’ books is unprecedented,” Phil admits. “I couldn’t have written anywhere near as successful a book about Zoom on my own.”
For his most recent book, Phil considered his past experiences. Ultimately, he engaged 1106 Design to augment the staff of Motion Publishing. “I am happy that I did,” says Phil. “Reimagining Collaboration is exactly the book that I wanted to write.”
Would Phil publish this way again? In short, yes. “There’s no comparison between traditional publishers and micro-publishers when it comes to control, intellectual property, and royalties. ‘Apples to coconuts,’” laughs Phil. “I will think long and hard before returning to traditional publishing.”
Marketing, of course, is always a challenge, even when published by a traditional publisher. Phil has been actively marketing Reimagining Collaboration through a new podcast, his website, recording videos, social media, and involving influential people in the process. He also makes a point of “chiming in” on Quora and Reddit in “non-promotional ways.”
When asked for any final advice for new authors, particularly consultants and other professionals, Phil offers this: “Don’t do it all yourself. Hire experts who have been down this road many times before. It’s far better to spend the money and produce a professional book than to skimp on expenses. You don’t want your book to look like a term paper bound at Fedex/Kinkos. Go big or go home.”
Sound advice, Phil. Thank you for choosing 1106 Design. We thoroughly enjoyed working with you on your new book and wish you the best of luck!
Reimagining Collaboration: Slack, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and the Post-COVID World of Work
Genre: Business, nonfiction
Author: Phil Simon
Bio: Phil Simon is a recognized technology and collaboration authority. He is the award-winning author of eleven books, most recently Reimagining Collaboration: Slack, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and the New World of Work. He consults with organizations on analytics, communications, strategy, data, and technology. His contributions have appeared in The Harvard Business Review, CNN, The New York Times, and many other prominent media outlets. He also hosts the podcast Conversations About Collaboration.
Author website: https://www.philsimon.com