Director’s Desk:
Your Most Pressing Problems

October 2002
by Jan Nathan

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Recently we asked our members, “What are the five most pressing problems facing you today?” As I started reading the more than 500 pages of responses, I turned page after page of varied comments. Two patterns soon became apparent: one for publishers who had been in business for less than five years and another for publishers who had been in business for more than 10. So fascinating!

The newer publishers were mostly concerned with:


Distribution. This included getting a distributor and/or working more effectively with a wholesaler to control both payments and returns, as well as warehousing and fulfillment issues.Marketing. A myriad of challenges were noted from finding the money and the best targeted lists, to getting the best return on invested dollars and time, to making sure consumers know the book exists, which meant knowing how to get and use cost-effective publicity, including reviews, other media coverage, and author interviews. Financing. Issues included obtaining money for print runs and finding and paying good freelance talent. Time management. Comments touched on everything, including how to find and afford good help as well as how to avoid burnout while trying to hold a full-time job in another area and be publisher, author, warehouse manager, and bottle washer in the chosen second career of publishing.

The publishers who had been in business for a longer time seemed to be mostly concerned with:

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