“Many years ago, before I had a computer, I wanted to put together a book of recipes. I didn’t even know I wanted to be a publisher. I was teaching high school home economics at the time and thought it would be a time-saver if we could refer to a collection of apples recipes when we needed them. We were in apple country and I knew it would be helpful for the students to know different ways of preparing/cooking apples. That was in 1985, when my From the Apple Orchard – Recipes for Apple Lovers came out, before the various single-fruit cookbooks came on the scene. “
Why did you become a book publisher? Many years ago, before I had a computer, I wanted to put together a book of recipes. I didn't even know I wanted to be a publisher. I was teaching high school home economics at the time and thought it would be a time-saver if we could refer to a collection of apples recipes when we needed them. We were in apple country and I knew it would be helpful for the students to know different ways of preparing/cooking apples. That was in 1985, when my From the Apple Orchard - Recipes for Apple Lovers came out, before the various single-fruit cookbooks came on the scene. After getting one apple cookbook out there (I still didn't consider myself a publisher), I wanted to reach out more to my apple orchard customers to see what they did with apples. And so, through visits and interviews, my second apple cookbook evolved, Apples, Apples Everywhere - Favorite Recipes From America's Orchards. After that I branched out to publish for other authors because of requests.
What do you like best about publishing? I enjoy the "getting ready for publishing" process. I like the manuscript selection, the editing, the scramble for the right title, and getting the work organized. I also enjoy working with the author through the various phases.
What do you publish? I publish books for cooks and apple lovers, kids, families, and parenting professionals
What is the most effective form of marketing for your press? I still find direct marketing to be one of the best ways to sell my books, especially the apple cookbooks. My biggest customers for those books are orchards and gift shops, both which seem to respond well to flyers. I find that not all orchards are on the internet so it continues to be my best means of marketing to them. I always carry with me book marks or other info about my books where-ever I go.
How do you define a successful title? A title that sells well through the years is a successful title, in my estimation. Since my books are ever-green, the cookbooks have done well. However, I am finding that more and more young cooks are using the internet rather than cookbooks. My first apple cookbook continues to be my best seller. My third apple cookbook just came out last year, Healthy to the Core! All Natural Low Sugar/No Sugar Apple Recipes for Kids and I wish it the same success.
Tell us about one of your titles about which you are especially proud. After publishing the apple cookbooks, writing a textbook for another publisher, and publishing several books for other authors, I decided to complete a fiction children's story I started many years ago. I felt I found the perfect illustrator through a chance visit to an art museum, so I decided to finish my book, The Littlest Christmas Kitten. My husband had died at Christmas time so this season is always difficult, but having the Christmas story out there for children brings me some peace and comfort. I am very pleased with how the illustrations and story came together for this book.
What has been your biggest challenge in achieving success? I don't have a "funnel". It appears that all one hears on the internet is that the book is the beginning to a larger income via talks, webinars, personal coaching, etc. I don't have any of those actions in place. I have given talks with "back of the room" sales, done tradeshows with my authors, and had consultations with authors and would-be authors, but basically, I sell books. And with the different genres, it is difficult to continually find new and continued places to sell books on different subjects all year around. Some of my books are seasonal, so I have to work really hard to pick up the slack during the slower seasons.
What advice do you have for newcomers to book publishing? Have good material. There is a great deal of information out there about slapping a book together in a week-end, getting it on Kindle and making a million. This is not the way it works. Make sure the material is important and fills a need.
How will you and your company be positioned in five years? I am hoping to sell the company in less than five years. I keep wondering why I continue to work this hard after I retired from my career in teaching.
When you're not fully immersed in publishing, what do you do for fun? I do spend a great deal of time on my work, or with my work. I'm having an intern this summer and have used a VA before, but working by oneself can be lonely. I have a wonderful group of friends who are active in what they like to do so there is time for playing bridge and traveling. I've had the good fortune to be able to travel abroad - sometimes with a daughter-in-law who loves to travel and sometimes with my friends.
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