Announcing the Re-launch of WPC Book 1: What do we do about inequality?

Earlier this year I attempted to launch the first book by the Wicked Problems Collaborative, and I admittedly did a poor job on multiple fronts. First, I set a release date that I thought I would reasonably give me enough time to complete the manuscript and “whatever else” needed to be done, without giving too much consideration to what “whatever else” was. (When you’re flying by the seat of your pants, it’s tough to look past the end of your nose.) So as the time drew close for the launch, the book came into shape nicely, but I had little time left for the other stuff, which ended up being some important stuff. That came down to things like having the time needed for formatting other versions (You can have our book in any format you like, as long as it’s Kindle…), and the sort of marketing build up that’s necessary to get the word out. And as a new, independent publishing house (with a severely strained marketing budget) getting the word out is hard. It’s really, really, ridiculously hard. So to make a long story short, we basically fell a great tree in a forest with few around to take notice.

Mea culpa.

I obviously made a huge mistake with this, and it’s been a hard-learned lesson. I had been fortunate enough to assemble an incredible group for the effort, who have all been extremely patiently with me as I figured this all out. And I think we offer the reader a load of interesting, thoughtful material to chew on. But that doesn’t matter all that much if the books sit on shelves (servers?) for want of eyes. To add to this, while I was in the midst of this do-over, I had to hold off on starting Book 2 for an extra six months. (Imagine reaching the finish line of a marathon {a personal best!} and happily starting to look forward to the next…before being told you needed to go back and make up the five miles you had missed if you ever wanted to race again. — Oh crap.)

wicked problems collaborativeWhen it took me a couple of months to get the book converted* from e-book to physical format (It’s complicated. The story, behind this, not the process.), I decided to pull the existing version and do a bit of retooling before relaunching it in the fall. Labor Day seemed a fitting target given the topic.

(* Here’s my “not yet a pro” tip: Having tried this both ways, it seems it’s a lot easier to start with the physical format and then convert to e-book formats from there. This may seem obvious to others, but some of us have to learn things the hard way.)

I spent the summer doing that work, getting out advance review copies, updating the artwork, and whatnot. The time has passed quickly and now we’re ready to give it another whirl. I hope you’ll give it a serious look, and if you do decide to read it, we’d love to hear your thoughts. A handful of honest reviews on Amazon or Goodreads might go a long way for folks that are on the fence. If you have any thoughts you’d like to share directly, I’d be happy to hear from you. Please do drop me a line at chris (at) wickedproblemscollaborative (dot) com. And if you could share this post on Facebook, Twitter, or any other online haunts, I’d greatly appreciate it!

Thanks for reading.

-Chris

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“What do we do about inequality?” is now available in paperback and Kindle formats. Please have a look. People may not be talking about the topic as much as they were last year, but the problems sure haven’t gone away. If anything, I’d say we’re a little further out on the same plank.

WPC Book 1’s chapter list, with contributor names, is available at the bottom of this page.

Side note: The book was written to be accessible for a general readership, but it is intended to be used as a reader for the social sciences. College-level educators who would like to check it out can request a review copy here.


Up Next

Now that Book 1 is finally out the door, I get to start shifting my focus to the fun part, making the next one. WPC Book 2: What do we do with technology?, will look at the promise and peril afforded by tech’s accelerating encroachment into our lives from largely ethical/moral perspectives. The goal of that effort will be to help the reader consider circumstances and trends in looking for opportunities for a brighter future, as well as potential pitfalls we might look to avoid.


WPC Book 1: What do we do about inequality?

Now available in paperback and Kindle formats.

  1. TO ADDRESS INEQUALITY, THINK GLOBAL | Dylan Matthews – Vox
  2. THE IDEOLOGICAL STRAITJACKET | Sean McElwee – Demos
  3. WHAT DOES EQUIPOTENTIALITY BRING TO THE TABLE IN TERMS OF EQUALITY? | Michel Bauwens – p2p Foundation
  4. INEQUALITY, UNCOUNTED | Alex Cobham – Tax Justice Network
  5. THE INEFFICIENCY OF INEQUALITY | Daniel Altman – NYU Stern
  6. IS CAPITALISM UNFAIR? | Chris MacDonald – Ryerson University
  7. THE PROBLEM OF INEQUALITY | Kevin Carson – Center for a Stateless Society
  8. TOWARDS RENOUNCING PERSONAL PRIVATIZATION | Nicholas ArcherMiddlesex County College
  9. THE INEQUALITY OF WILDNESS AND THE NECESSITY OF WILDNESS FOR EQUALITY | Megan Hollingsworth – Extinction Witness
  10. THE STICKINESS OF INJUSTICE | Jennifer Reftreftpt
  11. NOBLE FICTIONS AND SACRED TEXTS | Paul FidalgoCenter for Inquiry
  12. THE VOICES THAT ARE NOT YOUR OWN: MAINTAINING CHOICE IN THE AGE OF THE ALGORITHM | John C. Havensjohnchavens.com
  13. THE EMPATHY DEFICIT: WHY THE INEQUALITY CRISIS IS ALSO A CRISIS OF EMPATHY | Robin Cangierobinoula
  14. BILLIONAIRES WITH DRONES: FROM OLIGARCHY TO NEOMEDIEVALISM | Frank A. Pasquale University of Maryland
  15. WHAT SHOULD THE WORLD LEARN FROM THE EXPERIENCE OF INEQUALITY IN LATIN AMERICA? | Patrick IberUniversity of Texas at El Paso
  16. OCCUPY SANDY AND THE FUTURE OF SOCIALISM | Sam KnightThe District Sentinel
  17. THE “PLACE OF BIRTH” LOTTERY | David Kaib – American UniversityChris OestereichWPC
  18. INEQUALITY AND THE BASIC INCOME GUARANTEE | Scott Santensscottsantens.com
  19. THE AGE OF INEQUALITY: CAUSES, DISCONTENTS, AND A RADICAL WAY FORWARD | Jason Hickel –LSEAlnoor Ladha – The Rules
  20. TWENTIETH CENTURY SOLUTIONS WON’T WORK FOR TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY INEQUALITY | David O. Atkins – Washington Monthly
  21. THE STATE OF AFFAIRS: HEADING FROM BAD TO WORSE | Adnan Al-Daini – Foreign Policy Journal
  22. THE TRAGEDY OF OUR MIDDLE CLASS | Peter Barnespeter-barnes.org
  23. POST-SCARCITY ECONOMICS: WHY ARE SOME PUNDITS AND ECONOMISTS STILL ENAMORED OF AUSTERITY? | Tom StreithorstLARB
  24. INCOME INEQUALITY: WHAT’S WRONG WITH IT, AND WHAT’S NOT | F. SpagnoliCosmologically Insignificant
  25. TURMOIL & TRANSITION | Harold Jarche– jarche.com
  26. KNOWLEDGE, POWER, AND A POTENTIAL SHIFT IN SYSTEMIC INEQUALITY | Jon Husband– Wirearchy
  27. THE QUESTION OF INEQUALITY: A VIEW FROM INDIA | Akhila Vijayaraghavan – The Green Den
  28. WHAT YOU KNOW IS BASED ON WHO YOU KNOW | Deborah Mills-Scofieldmills-scofield.com
  29. INEQUALITY IS ABOUT THE POOR, NOT ABOUT THE RICH | Miles KimballUniversity of Michigan
  30. TO TACKLE EXTREME POVERTY, WE MUST TAKE ON EXTREME INEQUALITY | Nick Galasso – Oxfam & Gawain Kripke – Oxfam
  31. ADDRESSING WEALTH EQUALITY WITH INVESTING SOLUTIONS FROM NATURE, NURTURE, AND SCIENCE | Rosalinda Sanquiche –Ethical Markets
  32. THE LOGIC OF STUPID POOR PEOPLE: STATUS, POVERTY AND GATEKEEPING | Tressie McMillan CottomVirginia Commonwealth University
  33. POOR CHOICES | Melonie Fullick – York University
  34. THE PARTICIPATION GAP | Devin Stewart – Carnegie Council
  35. GETTING THE FRAME RIGHT | KoAnn Skrzyniarz – Sustainable Brands
  36. THE FIRST JOB CREATOR | Adam Kotsko – Shimer College
  37. LIFE IN THE TREETOPS: A CHOICE OF CHASTENING PRIVATION OR DEBASING PROSPERITY | Chris Oestereich – WPC
Paperback Cover

Click on the cover to check it out on Amazon.

Will Work for Book Reviews

“Publishing a book is easy these days. All you have to do is press a button.”

Yeah. 

Publishing a book is easy these days (in electronic formats, at least). It’s just the writing/editing bit (and in the case of an anthology, organizing) that takes a bit of time. I just did that and it felt amazing to get it across the finish.

Now what?

I was fortunate enough to get to work with an amazing group of co-authors. It was a lot of work, but it was work that I thoroughly enjoyed. But now I have to do something else. I have to get it into people’s hands. I thought about doing a private sale like the Wu Tang Clan’s to bring in a lot of notoriety for the WPC, but to tell the truth, that was just going to be a setup for a Martin Shkreli punchline, and I think his 15 minutes ran out a few weeks ago…

Where were we?

One of the things that’s said to be important for new books is to have a handful of reviews for potential readers to peruse. Big publishing houses have relationships with reviewers, so this is just part of the process for them. Fledgling houses (like ours) don’t have such relationships, so your left with a couple of choices:

  1. Connect with professional reviewers in the hopes that they’ll take up your book (Over 1,000,000 books were published in the U.S. alone in 2009, so the odds of getting the time of day as an unknown is vanishingly small.)
  2. Pay for reviews
  3. Somehow get your early readers to provide them

Option 1 is something that I have to work on in my role as publisher, but it’s going to take time. I believe we’ll slowly build a reputation for putting together quality offerings, so it should just be a matter of putting in the appropriate effort and being a little patient. (I am not patient.)

Option 2 is basically a non-starter. I’m sure there are plenty of great reviewers who work in this model, but in doing research on this option, I found too many offerings that felt unsavory. Reviewers need to get paid for their work–there’s no doubt in my mind about that–but my gut says they need to get paid by a third party for it to be a fair deal. I don’t want to pay for a glowing review. I want to earn it.

That brings us to Option 3 (Beg your readers!). This is where YOU (could) come in!

I should take a step back and level set here. I’m not looking for a 1,500 word review set for the pages of the New York Times or the London Review of Books. (Although that would be pretty cool.) We just need a handful of short, honest reviews on the book’s page on Amazon.

Thought it was pretty good? – Great!

Loved it? – Even better!

Hated it? – Hey, as long as you’re being fair/honest, we can’t complain. (Okay, we might complain a little, but give us a break, we’re human.)

So here’s the deal, we’re offering the Kindle version of our book for $1.99 starting at 8am ET today (The regular price is $9.99) and the price will tick up by $1.00 every 24 hours until the morning of 3/6 when it will return to full price. 

A couple of bucks for 37 essays by a thoughtful, engaged group, on one of the defining issues of our time. All that I ask in return for the discount is that you consider sharing your thoughts after reading it. (We’re in great need of reviews to help establish credibility via the book’s Kindle page.) So if you could hit the number of stars that feels appropriate at the end of the book, and share a few sentences on what you thought of it, that would be really helpful. (Did you learn something? Did you change your perspective on one or more issues? Were you my 3rd grade teacher who thinks everyone should buy our book because I had such nice manners?) If you don’t enjoy the read. If you don’t find it credible. If you feel it was a waste of your time. Please do warn the others! I’m just looking for honest assessments. I hope that’s a fair ask.

Also, if you’re interested in doing an interview, please leave a note in the comments. Thanks for reading.

-Chris

Before you go, here’s a list of the book’s chapters with links to each of the author’s pages on Twitter. Check em out. It’s a really interesting group.

WPC Book 1: What do we do about inequality?
1. TO ADDRESS INEQUALITY, THINK GLOBAL | Dylan Matthews

2. THE IDEOLOGICAL STRAITJACKET | Sean McElwee

3. WHAT DOES EQUIPOTENTIALITY BRING TO THE TABLE IN TERMS OF EQUALITY? | Michel Bauwens

4. INEQUALITY, UNCOUNTED | Alex Cobham

5. THE INEFFICIENCY OF INEQUALITY | Daniel Altman

6. IS CAPITALISM UNFAIR? | Chris MacDonald

7. THE PROBLEM OF INEQUALITY | Kevin Carson

8. TOWARDS RENOUNCING PERSONAL PRIVATIZATION | Nicholas Archer

9. THE INEQUALITY OF WILDNESS AND THE NECESSITY OF WILDNESS FOR EQUALITY | Megan Hollingsworth

10. THE STICKINESS OF INJUSTICE | Jennifer Reft

11. NOBLE FICTIONS AND SACRED TEXTS | Paul Fidalgo

12. THE VOICES THAT ARE NOT YOUR OWN: MAINTAINING CHOICE IN THE AGE OF THE ALGORITHM | John C. Havens

13. THE EMPATHY DEFICIT: WHY THE INEQUALITY CRISIS IS ALSO A CRISIS OF EMPATHY | Robin Cangie

14. BILLIONAIRES WITH DRONES: FROM OLIGARCHY TO NEOMEDIEVALISM | Frank A. Pasquale

15. WHAT SHOULD THE WORLD LEARN FROM THE EXPERIENCE OF INEQUALITY IN LATIN AMERICA? | Patrick Iber

16. OCCUPY SANDY AND THE FUTURE OF SOCIALISM | Sam Knight

17. THE “PLACE OF BIRTH” LOTTERY | David Kaib & Chris Oestereich

18. INEQUALITY AND THE BASIC INCOME GUARANTEE | Scott Santens

19. THE AGE OF INEQUALITY: CAUSES, DISCONTENTS, AND A RADICAL WAY FORWARD | Jason Hickel & Alnoor Ladha

20. TWENTIETH CENTURY SOLUTIONS WON’T WORK FOR TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY INEQUALITY | David O. Atkins

21. THE STATE OF AFFAIRS: HEADING FROM BAD TO WORSE | Adnan Al-Daini

22. THE TRAGEDY OF OUR MIDDLE CLASS | Peter Barnes

23. POST-SCARCITY ECONOMICS: WHY ARE SOME PUNDITS AND ECONOMISTS STILL ENAMORED OF AUSTERITY? | Tom Streithorst

24. INCOME INEQUALITY: WHAT’S WRONG WITH IT, AND WHAT’S NOT |F. Spagnoli

25. TURMOIL & TRANSITION | Harold Jarche

26. KNOWLEDGE, POWER, AND A POTENTIAL SHIFT IN SYSTEMIC INEQUALITY | Jon Husband

27. THE QUESTION OF INEQUALITY: A VIEW FROM INDIA | Akhila Vijayaraghavan

28. WHAT YOU KNOW IS BASED ON WHO YOU KNOW | Deborah Mills-Scofield

29. INEQUALITY IS ABOUT THE POOR, NOT ABOUT THE RICH | Miles Kimball

30. TO TACKLE EXTREME POVERTY, WE MUST TAKE ON EXTREME INEQUALITY | Nick Galasso & Gawain Kripke

31. ADDRESSING WEALTH EQUALITY WITH INVESTING SOLUTIONS FROM NATURE, NURTURE, AND SCIENCE | Rosalinda Sanquiche

32. THE LOGIC OF STUPID POOR PEOPLE: STATUS, POVERTY AND GATEKEEPING | Tressie McMillan Cottom

33. POOR CHOICES | Melonie Fullick

34. THE PARTICIPATION GAP | Devin Stewart

35. GETTING THE FRAME RIGHT | KoAnn Skrzyniarz

36. THE FIRST JOB CREATOR | Adam Kotsko

37. LIFE IN THE TREETOPS: A CHOICE OF CHASTENING PRIVATION OR DEBASING PROSPERITY | Chris Oestereich

WPC Book 1: What do we do about inequality? is currently available in Kindle format. Grab your copy while the price is right, and don’t forget to share your thoughts after you read it!