The Delectable Data Diet

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February 2014
by Christopher Robbins

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There is an axiomatic truth universally understood but rarely followed: You can’t lose weight on a hot fudge sundae diet. But awhile back, I was gaining too much weight even though I was eating only really healthy food. I called a friend who heads a major corporation’s health program. He said, “Christopher, the only difference between someone who eats 3,000 calories of junk food and someone who eats 3,000 calories of healthy food is that one feels better than the other. They are both still fat.”

Ah, the truth was that I was fat (ouch!) because of a particular aspect of my behavior. I was ingesting too many calories, and understanding that helped me create a baseline for a healthier caloric intake, around 2,000 calories per day. I could then adjust my eating behavior accordingly.

What does this have to do with profitably publishing books? Everything.

When I ran Gibbs Smith from 1995 through 2012, I learned that there was a direct correlation between company behavior and the company’s financial results. Price a book outside its market, and distribution suffers. Miss the mark on packaging or promotion, and the returns percentage increases. Stop visiting your gift reps’ showrooms, and the number of books on stores’ shelves will drop. Add staff to increase sales without focusing their efforts appropriately, and overhead costs balloon.
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