“Beware of anyone selling you advice that guarantees a bestseller.”
Why did you become a book publisher? After working for two other publishing houses, I somehow got it into my head that I could do it better.
What do you like best about publishing? I love almost everything involved in book publishing—and the things I don’t love, I like.
What do you publish? When I started out, I published college textbooks. Over the years, we morphed into a non-fiction trade house that specializes in titles for niche markets.
What is the most effective form of marketing for your press? There are several: Personal contact can’t be beat; old-fashioned printed book catalogs that reach the right buyers; and a well-maintained and continuous presence in the media.
How do you define a successful title? I believe if a book is well-written, accessible, and relevant, and if we market that book appropriately, it is bound to find its market. For me at least, financial success is the outcome of producing meaningful titles.
Tell us about one of your titles about which you are especially proud. That’s like asking “Which of your children is your favorite?” I have many. However, one of the most meaningful to me is a book entitled BEYOND THE MAGIC BULLET: THE ANTI-CANCER COCKTAIL by Raymond Chang, MD. A little over six years ago, my wife was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive, and deadly form of cancer. This book represents the alternative treatment that we selected. Dr. Chang was her doctor; and for the last five years, my wife has tested cancer-free.
What has been your biggest challenge in achieving success? Having established and sold a highly successful publishing company at the end of 1999, I found myself back at “square one” trying to follow my first business model with my new company, aptly named Square One.
What advice do you have for newcomers to book publishing? First: learn as much as you can about the business. That’s what IBPA is all about. Next, learn the rules that govern the way that business is actually done in publishing. Don’t be afraid to break them when necessary, and never confuse an exception to a rule as a rule.
How will you and your company be positioned in five years? We will utilize all the appropriate electronic distribution systems to make our company run more efficiently and effectively, and keep publishing our titles exactly as we have been doing for a few more decades at least, hopefully.
When you're not fully immersed in publishing, what do you do for fun? I search out and collect vintage posters; play Buzztime Trivia at a local Houlihan’s; and enjoy walking with my wife—but not necessarily in that order.
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