Saturday, March 28, 2009

Thomas Nelson Reorganizes: Do we care?

Michael Hyatt CEO of Thomas Nelson has announced the reorganization of their management structure. The partial org chart he describes on his blog is shown here. Apparently, Mike wants to spend more time working with authors and developing products while reducing the amount of time he spends managing the operation of the business. Essentially, the organization divides their company into three primary areas, Core Business, Overhead and Live Events.

I won’t bother to say what I think of this structure. I’ll assume they know more about what they’re doing than I know what they’re doing. The real question is, do any of the rest of us care? From the standpoint that these are our friends and we want to see them accomplish good things, certainly we care, but does a writer care how the workers are Thomas Nelson are partitioned? For the most part, no. Even if you happen to have a book making it through Thomas Nelson’s publishing process (most of us do not), how Thomas Nelson structures its team isn’t going to make much difference. It may provide us with some indication of Thomas Nelson’s priorities, but only a little. So, do we care?

The most significant thing in Mike’s post, as far as authors are concerned, is his statement that he will focus his attention on vision and strategy, author relations and product development, and external communications. It’s no secret that Mike’s a Mac, but he seems to be taking a page from Bill Gates’ playbook more so than that of Steve Jobs. Mike is already the face of Thomas Nelson. This reorganization appears to be aimed at further cementing that position. Do we care?

If you happen to be in the Thomas Nelson family of authors, having someone out pushing the brand is a good thing. My impression is that non-fiction authors stand to benefit more than fiction authors. For authors looking for a publisher, I wouldn’t expect this move to change much for you, unless you happen to write business books. Business books appear to be Mike’s “thang,” so having him more focused on networking might improve your chances of getting publishing contract from Thomas Nelson, but don’t go out and write a business book just because Mike has decided to shake things up a bit. Fiction authors, Thomas Nelson still has plenty of room at the top, but I don’t expect this change to improve your chances of getting noticed. So, do we care?

Probably not, but its interesting to think about.