” I…enjoy the relationships with authors who are happy to be paid well for their work–a minimum of 20% royalty.”
Why did you become a book publisher? I had published about 50 books major publishers such as: McGraw-Hill, Wiley, West, Cengage (Wadsworth), and Holt-Rinehart. I wanted to reduce the cost of books to students in my disciplines of college health education and physical education. I updated and enlarged a recent book done for Macmillan and wanted to sell it for $10. I submitted it to several former publishers. They would publish it for 100 dollars if I would reduce it by 50%. I then decided to self publish the book as an e-book. I then decided to enlarge the offerings to other disciplines in the field by purchasing a series on physical education and sports activity books I had edited earlier for Wadsworth. The books originally sold at $9 but were selling for $55— and selling very few copies. We updated them, added videos and have published them at $5.95 ( $9 to $14 in print). The reception was so positive that we expanded to the trade market and to print on demand books.
What do you like best about publishing? Allowing students to purchase high quality books written by international experts in the field for a small fraction of what the major publishers offer. Some of our better books are free. I also enjoy the relationships with authors who are happy to be paid well for their work--a minimum of 20% royalty.
What do you publish? Health education, physical education text and trade books and some trade fiction and non-fiction.
What is the most effective form of marketing for your press? Academic conferences, word-of-mouth, our website.
How do you define a successful title? If professors choose our books as required textbooks, we have accomplished our goals.
Tell us about one of your titles about which you are especially proud. Our flagship book is a college health education text titled “Health—You and Your World.” It is the most current and extensive book in the field. It is too long for a single class but is allows the instructors to choose which chapters they would like to emphasize based on the needs of their students. It covers extensively: mental health and how to achieve it; physical health and diseases; sexual and family issues and parenthood; drugs and alcohol information and issues; and, ecological problems and some solutions. This book sells as an e-book for $9.95, as a black and white print book for $25, and as a full-color print book for $80. Our slogan is “Let the instructor choose the text, but let the students choose the price." The abridged book is available in the trade market under the title "Your Health--The Big Picture."
What has been your biggest challenge in achieving success? With our ebooks priced from free to $9.95 we cannot afford a nationwide sales force. Effective sales forces can influence college instructors to choose books that are inferior but far more expensive. We must rely on advertizing in professional journals and attending academic conferences. We don't have the same problem with trade books because so few are advertised nationally.
What advice do you have for newcomers to book publishing? Provide high quality low-cost books and give your authors higher royalties. As an author, receiving only 10 to 15% royalties, I felt I was cheated. Our royalties range from 20 to 50%.
How will you and your company be positioned in five years? Because our concerns are for the students, trade readers and the authors, our growth is exponential. With 50 titles now I would expect 200 titles in five years. And I would expect recognition from the profession to increase by more than 500%.
When you're not fully immersed in publishing, what do you do for fun? Publishing, writing and copy-editing are my "fun."
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