Newstalk Radio: Down To Business with Bobby Kerr | Writing And Publishing

Like all features on writing and getting your book published, Bobby Kerr‘s Down To Business on Newstalk Radio (Ireland) on Sunday morning never really broke through the surface of writing and publishing. The ten minute feature included writing guests, Sheila O’Flanagan (novelist), Marita Conlon-McKenna (Children’s author with O’Brien Press) and David Jones from The Book Producers (an Irish author solutions service). Bobby Kerr will be known to most Irish radio and TV audiences as a member of the Irish Dragons’ Den TV series. As a businessman and entrepreneur, I felt Bobby and his radio researchers missed a trick here.

Sure, the point was made by O’Flanagan, Conlon-McKenna and Jones that the essential part of writing a book is the creative process and getting the book written. However, publishing a book is a business, but very few authors earn a living as a writer. It got me thinking about the curiosity of writing and getting your book published. On the one hand I often emphasis to authors as a consultant that publishing a book is a business, and should be approached in that manner. Yet, in reality, it’s a business that may never see the scales lean in favour of profit over loss – whatever time or financial investment the author puts in – for many years. I know if I went to my bank manager for a loan to help me invest in my writing career or meet the daily bills, he would probably reply; “Are you having a Giraffe?!”
Bobby Kerr is the great uncle sage when it comes to business advice for many new companies, but I often feel on his Newstalk Down to Business programme, it reflects Kerr’s eagle-eye approach taken from far above the business hotplate. Kerr, again, hovered far above the field of discussion – in this case, writing, publishing and book selling – and never once convinced me he had a clue how any of these elements worked or cohered together.
David Jones of The Book Producers spoke the least in the conversation, and that was a pity because he probably had the most to offer as an insight to where writing and the whole industry is now. Yet, he delivered the most honest view of writing and publishing books. Newstalk has been good to Jones, as far back as 2008 when he was featured as a guest when lost his job as a furniture manager and turned to self-publishing a book about helping people find resources to find their next job.
It was interesting that the phrase ‘self-publishing’ was never mentioned or any discussion on ebooks – perhaps that is modern media looking for short byte-sized chunks of radio. For me, writing and publishing can be a business for the relative few, but by never exploring where the industry is, and how many writers feel about the established industry, the conversation inevitably drifted to the old reliable chestnuts of books getting optioned for films, and – of course – Jeffery Archer. I bet Kerr loves Jeffery Archer!
Don’t get me wrong, Kerr’s Down To Business is excellent listening for those interested in the business world and innovation, and he has a knack of engaging and understanding the personal nitty-gritty of business people. The writing and publishing piece is followed by an interview with Larry Bass, CEO of Irish film production company Screentime ShinAwiL.
You can catch the Down To Business feature broadcast on March 18th here. The writing and publishing piece begins at 21m.50s. 
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