“Learn from those who are already successful in your category. Don’t go the conventional route.”
Why did you become a book publisher? I had been a successful entrepreneur in the management training business, and realized I needed to have a book about the subjects of my trainings, for my clients to do ongoing learning. My first book, "The Assertive Manager" was published by Amacom. Then, I wrote a book based on my popular seminar, "Secrets of Influence". The book, "Seven Secrets of Influence", was first published by McGraw Hill in 1992; then by Penguin India in 2008. I negotiated the rights for my company after that, and have now self-published this title as an e-book; it was listed as an Amazon best-seller last week. Another title, "Success Trilogy", was first written as a premium product for Working Woman and other magazines, then as a custom-published set of 3 booklets for Time Magazine. Based on a prior agreement, the rights reverted to my company after Time's promotion, and so I now self-publish these and sell to clients and via my website.
What do you like best about publishing? I enjoy the control over every aspect of the process: positioning, editing, cover design, overall graphics, marketing and PR.
What do you publish? Self-help and management books for business.
What is the most effective form of marketing for your press? Announcements via LinkedIn groups, PR to appropriate industry groups.
How do you define a successful title? Catchy, captures the book's essence in a few short words. Also, subtitle is super-important. For example, ours is "Seven Secrets of Influence" - Portable Power for the 21st Century.
Tell us about one of your titles about which you are especially proud. "Seven Secrets of Influence": It started as a notebook for a one-day seminar "Secrets of Influence"; after including a scientific self-analysis questionnaire, it became a book published by McGraw Hill, (my agent persuaded them to send me on a book tour to radio and tv stations); at that point, it became a "crossover" product (positioning from a business/textbook category to a "trade" book). After I got the rights returned to my company, I sought and got a contract with Penguin India - they did some limited PR, but not enough to meet my goals. So, once again, I got the rights back. Now, with an Affiliate in New Delhi who markets and teaches my seminar, I am selling more books than Penguin did. (with much better profit margins, thank you!) Now, the book is an e-book, and after having achieved best seller status on Amazon, I am looking forward to a great web presence and sales.
What has been your biggest challenge in achieving success? Finding the resources (money, time, and technical expertise) to do the marketing, create a great website, develop a blog and do the PR on various websites.
What advice do you have for newcomers to book publishing? Learn from those who are already successful in your category. Don't go the conventional route (agent, big publisher, etc.) Become an independent publisher, attend seminars, webinars, on your book's subject and specific market.
How will you and your company be positioned in five years? Hopefully, as a leading publisher of "business educational products", which includes books, seminars (live, webinars, teleseminars). I already have a few "Affiliates" (licensees) in India, the Philippines, Arizona, Kentucky, and would like to have a much larger network all over the world. Each of these is an independent consulting business, and markets and teaches the "Secrets of Influence" program to their clients. They also sell books and other educational products to the clients for ongoing learning.
When you're not fully immersed in publishing, what do you do for fun? Art painting (oil & acrylic) collage, art shows, galleries, museums. Reading novels, humor. Movies, film festivals. Writing personal essays, humor pieces (not published, as yet).
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