“…Planning for marketing from the very beginning is vital. If your book does not start to sell right away, it is not going to sell at all.”
Why did you become a book publisher? Fiona Raven began her book design career working for a self-publishing author and has continued to work for self-pubbers ever since. Many of them decided to design their own books but would ask her to tutor and advise them. After a short while, she found that they all asked the same questions, and she became a bit weary of answering, so she decided to publish all her answers in a book. And that is how it started. After a while she became bogged down and asked her friend and colleague Glenna Collett to help out. Once Glenna joined the team, the book took off, doubled in length, and then doubled again. Fiona and Glenna give each other energy, ideas, and inspiration.
What do you like best about publishing? Book publishing was our career before we became publishers ourselves. Both of us have always enjoyed reading them, handling them, and designing them. Now that we are 12 Pines Press, we enjoy the process of perfecting our very own title, and finding the best ways to market it.
What do you publish? Our one and only title is Book Design Made Simple: A Step-by-Step Guide to Designing and Typesetting Your Own Book. It is a 512-page, comprehensive guide for self-publishers, small publishers, and graphic designers. It begins with leasing and installing Adobe InDesign and continues through all the design and typesetting steps to uploading files to the printer. Meticulous instructions abound throughout.
What is the most effective form of marketing for your press? We are still working to find the answer to that. Our plans are to give notice to every graphic design and book design organization and publication (to target designers), and every publishing group like IBPA (to target independent publishers). Also, we are recruiting as many book printers as possible—including bookstores that have Espresso Book Machines—because they will benefit from receiving book files that are well put together, are properly formatted, and look good. One of these printers has already offered to give each of its sales reps a copy of the book so that their customers will be aware of it.
How do you define a successful title? For us, a successful title will establish itself as the one go-to book on book design.
Tell us about one of your titles about which you are especially proud. Book Design Made Simple. See item 3 above.
What has been your biggest challenge in achieving success? Explaining the many aspects of book design was a big challenge, but setting up a successful marketing scheme is going to be a huge one.
What advice do you have for newcomers to book publishing? Our entire book is full of advice for newcomers! But at this point we would say that planning for marketing from the very beginning is vital. If your book does not start to sell right away, it is not going to sell at all.
How will you and your company be positioned in five years? In five years, we will be into our second edition, either as 12 Pines Press or as part of a larger publisher.
When you're not fully immersed in publishing, what do you do for fun? Fiona and her husband go geocaching in the Vancouver, BC, area. And she sometimes constructs books by hand. Glenna can be found in the woods just about anywhere near Boston, usually with her camera.
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