How We Succeeded with How to Behave:
A first-time publisher’s book reaches the half-million mark

August 2001
by Tim McCormick, Greentree Publishing

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In January of 1996, I attended a parenting class to learn to deal better with the challenges provided to me by my two young sons (especially my oldest, who was working on his Ph.D. in sibling rivalry!). My chance meeting with Arizona-based school psychologist Dr. Sal Severe-the real Ph.D. teaching the class-has transformed my life in many ways.

I was so impressed with the practical and humorous guidance of Dr. Severe that I walked away from a business that was doing $1.5 million a year, “jumped on the grenade,” and became a publisher.

My goal was to re-publish Dr. Severe’s self-published book, How to Behave So Your Children Will, Too!, and to create an industry around the book and the author. (At that point, about 2,500 copies of How to Behave had been sold at Dr. Severe’s workshops.) I established Greentree Publishing in Tempe, Arizona, soon after going to one of Dr. Severe’s parenting classes. Between April 1997 and December 1999, the book (mostly distributed directly through Greentree Publishing) sold over 340,000 copies!

Building Success One Brick at a Time

The success of this book is an example of what a single-title publisher can accomplish. I had previously worked for a school and corporate book fair company. Thus I had some knowledge to apply to testing the book, via a greatly revised version of the original powder-blue, 100-page self-published edition. Together with Denise Pias, my only full-time employee, I created a Web site (www.howto…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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