Profiting from the Past

April 2002
by Linda Carlson

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Time is money, and most publishers think their time is best spent creating and selling books. We publishers begrudge the hours spent processing returns and completing tax returns. So to set aside yet another precious hour or two for an outline of company history may seem unthinkable.

But you can benefit from even a simple timeline that details when each book was first published and the dates of reprints, awards, and significant publicity. If your firm, like many PMA members, is family-owned, it’s also useful to add notes about where the business was first located (the proverbial garage?), what jobs different family members handled, and when family issues (the birth of a baby, for example) complicated publishing efforts. And it pays to start a “corporate publicity” file for copies of catalogs and clips of newspaper and magazine stories that include valuable information.

 

How Will This History Help You?

First and most important, a company history will allow you to supplement the founders’ anecdotes with data and create stories with a news angle strong enough to generate publicity. When we at Parenting Press write a profile of founder Elizabeth Crary, our history notes mean that we have specific sales figures to help us describe the whirlwind of business she created. We can document how the Crary family worked together, with children packing books while Elizabeth wrote, field-tested, and marketed, and Fred—after his…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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