Vaporized author Robert Tercek wins prestigious award at Frankfurt Book Fair


GetAbstract - 26

Writing a book and becoming a published author is one of the very best ways for an accomplished expert to accelerate their business and raise the value of their brand. But book sales are just the beginning. The real fun begins when awards and accolades start rolling in.

Robert Tercek, author of Vaporized: Solid Strategies for Success in a Dematerialized World, was with me in Frankfurt this week to accept the getAbstract International Book of the Year Award 2016. I sat down with him to find out how his life and career have changed since LifeTree published his book in September 2015.


Maggie:   What’s your book Vaporized about?

RobertVaporized is about dematerialization, which is the process of replacing physical goods with digital services. Dematerialization is a massive economic transformation, certainly the most significant change in the global economy since the industrial revolution.

As we replace goods with pure information, we’re also revising our conventional notions of ownership, regulation, production, distribution and even the way products are packaged and sold. Information products move much faster and evolve more quickly than physical goods, and there is no cost of distribution or storage or reproduction, so the economics are completely different, and that’s what the book explains in depth.

This change has caused us to reconsider traditional concepts of employment, education, and the economic value contributed by various participants in the economy.  And that’s why dematerialization is such a big shift. It triggers a ripple effect of cascading changes. These changes are sweeping though every industry and every corner of the economy, and yet the phenomenon is largely unnoticed because we cannot see it.  It is an invisible transformation, characterized mostly by the disappearance of the artifacts of the old industrial economy such as retail stores, physical media like maps and CDs, institutions like banks and regulators, and even staple products like cars and homes. I consider it the greatest disappearing act in history.  Vaporized is the first book that examines the global phenomenon of dematerialization and its impact on society.

Maggie:  You’ve won the getAbstract International Book of the Year Award 2016. What does that mean for you?

Robert:  I’m deeply honoured that getAbstract selected my book Vaporized as International Book of the Year from a field of more than 10,000 titles. GetAbstract is the only organization in the world that reads and reviews every new business book, and that’s why the opinions of their editors and staff are so important. They really understand what the business world is reading and thinking about.

Maggie:  You accepted the award in person at the Frankfurt Book Fair. What does it feel like to be part of this big global publishing event?

Robert: No other book fair in the world comes close to the size, scale and importance of the Frankfurt Book Fair.  It’s thrilling to be here.  The whole city of Frankfurt is buzzing about books today! I am incredibly excited that my first book has been selected for a major award that will be presented in front of more than 600 international publishers.

Maggie: Vaporized was published by LifeTree in September 2015. How has the book affected your business or career? How has life changed for you since becoming a published author?

Robert: The publication of Vaporized was a major turning point in my career. Since LifeTree Media published my book one year ago, I’ve been invited to give keynote speeches in front of thousands of people in Asia, India, Europe, Latin America and North America. I’ve had overwhelming interest from new clients, winning consulting engagements in a wide range of industries. These include banking, insurance, media, manufacturing, live events, IT and telecommunications, as well as government agencies, educational institutions and every major consulting firm. It’s been a whirlwind of global travel.  I’ve been in a different city every week in the past 12 months.

Maggie: What made you choose LifeTree as hybrid publisher rather than aiming for a traditional book deal?

Robert:  The concept of hybrid publishing is attractive because it combines the best of traditional book publishing, including a beautiful hardbound edition that is sold at retail, with the flexibility and control of self-publishing. As a serial entrepreneur with a track record of successfully launching new digital businesses, I felt that the LifeTree Media business model was best suited to my professional objectives. Here’s just one example: I’ve sold many thousands of books directly to my clients via public speaking events and private consulting engagements. The profit margins on these direct sales are excellent, and the income from direct sales have more than repaid my investment in the original publication as well as all of my marketing. And because I own my own copyright to Vaporized, I have the freedom to make decisions about where, when and how the book is sold. To me, hybrid publishing is the right business model for a new century.

Maggie: What are you working on now? Any new books in the works?

Robert: Right now I am busy responding to incoming requests for keynote speeches, workshops and seminars on the themes presented in Vaporized. That’s exciting and it also provides me with a valuable channel for feedback. I’ve listened carefully to the questions that were raised by readers of Vaporized. That feedback has given me a solid indication of demand for a followup book. I’m in the process of drafting it right now. The new book will provide readers with deep insight into the strategy and tactics used by companies large and small that have successfully survived disruptive innovation and digital transformation. Think of it as “life after disruption”. The good news is that these firms have discovered how to harness digital trends to grow their businesses and even discover entirely new markets. It’s going to be a solid followup title to Vaporized.

Maggie: What did you enjoy most about working with LifeTree as your publisher?

Robert:  Working with LifeTree Media was very satisfying. It is quite different from working with any other kind of publishing company. In fact, it’s much better!  I know this because I have a lot of professional experience working with major media companies, both inside as a senior executive and outside as a partner or content provider.
What I know from experience is that most media companies, including the traditional publishing houses, exert a tremendous amount of control over the final product, including total control over packaging, pricing, promotion, placement and marketing. For an author with an original voice and a strong social media presence, it can be very disconcerting to give up control over branding and marketing of a book that is so closely linked to one’s own digital persona.
LifeTree’s hybrid publishing model provides the perfect antidote to this problem. The author is like the CEO of a new business, with control over packaging, marketing etc, and with LifeTree serving in a support function. The people at LifeTree are seasoned professionals with years of experience in publishing, and they are there to serve the author with excellent advice and recommendations. The LifeTree editors are superb and the designers are top-notch.
My experience with LifeTree was that the team is responsive and fast and smart. Together, we made a series of decisions that resulted in a huge success.  I’ve compared my experience at LifeTree with other authors who either self-published or worked with traditional publishing companies, and what I’ve learned is that the self-published authors rarely achieve their objectives and never manage to get a hardbound book in a store or in the hands of a professional reviewer, while the authors who went through traditional publishers were deeply disappointed by the level of editorial and marketing support that they received. I’m thrilled with the level of support I continue to receive from the LifeTree team in publishing and promoting Vaporized.







Maggie Langrick

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