Partnership Publishing: A New Model for Independents

May 2005
by Margo Baldwin

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Last fall we managed to do the impossible (for a small independent publisher, that is): publish a book that became an almost instant national bestseller and has sold over 175,000 copies in six months’ time. The book is Don’t Think of an Elephant! Know Your Values and Frame the Debate–The Essential Guide for Progressives, by George Lakoff, University of California professor of cognitive science and linguistics, founding senior fellow of the Rockridge Institute, author of Moral Politics and other books, and, according to Howard Dean, “one of the most influential political thinkers of the progressive movement.”

I say we did the impossible for many reasons, not just because we’re a small, independent book publisher rather than a corporate conglomerate media company. The others? We published and launched the book in a mere five weeks, from draft manuscript to finished book. We did it with no advertising budget and no outside promotional firm. And two weeks before the publication date, we had no advance sales (neither commission sales reps nor key account buyers had even heard about the book).

The opportunity to publish Don’t Think of an Elephant! and get it out before the election came at the last minute, in mid-July. I had never heard of George Lakoff, but our roving editor-at-large, Jennifer Nix, through her work with Don Hazen, the executive editor at AlterNet, put me in touch with him, and he sent us a prop…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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