“A successful title is “One that grabs my attention and makes me want to either flip the book over to read the back cover or open the book up.””
Why did you become a book publisher? When I decided that my first book (The Mindset of Networking®) was not going to be a "one and done" publication. I developed a model for a long series of books based on walking tours of Paris, London, and other European cities. The books are based on historical events and periods of history. I take the reader to see buildings, places, and sites that were significant to the historical topic of the book. The first two books that will be published in the summer of 2014 are entitled, "Where Did They Put the Guillotine? - A Walking Tour of Revolutionary Paris (1789-1794)". I am writing the third book (A Walking Tour of Medieval Paris) and researching the fourth book (A Walking Tour of Nazi Occupied Paris). There are four other titles in the pipeline. The purpose of forming Yooper was to maintain control, retain the rights to my books, and to receive a higher profit margin.
What do you like best about publishing? This is a second career for me (after 33-years as a commercial banker). I enjoy learning a new industry and the components while being able to see my books published under the Yooper logo. I named the company Yooper Publications because of my father. He was born and grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Citizens of the UP have always affectionately called themselves, "Yoopers."
What do you publish? We currently publish niche business and travel books.
What is the most effective form of marketing for your press? We are currently building our audience via the blog site (www.stewross.com), the web site (same), facebook, and twitter. I have a consultant that is in charge of our social media program. We are currently targeting, on a selective basis, our audience. I would say that our team is in the initial stage of strategically building our audience.
How do you define a successful title? One that grabs my attention and makes me want to either flip the book over to read the back cover or open the book up.
Tell us about one of your titles about which you are especially proud. The walking tour books must be branded across the entire series. So I came up with the "Where Did They Put the ... " title. We just fill in depending on topic. This is one of the ways we brand the series. I grew up in Europe and as a ten-year old, I'm standing on the steps of the Place de la Concorde in Paris where our guide is explaining the significance of the Place in relation to the French Revolution. I asked her, "Where did they put the guillotine?" She said, "Somewhere out there." I replied, "No, you don't understand, I want to know exactly where it stood." So the name of my first book is, "Where Did They Put the Guillotine?" All the other books in the pipeline have that same theme. One of them is entitled, "Where Did They Bury Jim Morrison, the Lizard King? - A Walking Tour of Paris Cemeteries." They are fun titles but designed to grab someone's attention.
What has been your biggest challenge in achieving success? It's really been the distribution component. In other words, building the audience. In today's world, digital marketing strategies might seem to a natural fit for a 25-year old, but for a boomer (mid-to-late), it has been quite an experience. I'm a control freak and so it was hard to admit that I couldn't do it all or control it all. That's why I hired a consultant about a year ago to help guide me through this process. She brought a logical, sustainable and prioritized approach to what had been a chaotic approach.
What advice do you have for newcomers to book publishing? Talk to someone who has already paid a lot of "Stupid Tax." Find someone who has made the mistakes and is willing to assist you with advice based on their experiences. After that, make sure you listen. don't let your ego get in the way.
How will you and your company be positioned in five years? That's a question we are discussing right now. We are currently positioned to publish my series of books as well as certain type books. We just published our first third party author book. We are in the discussion phase with three other authors. These are typically legacy books or books the author will use in their business, usually for speaking engagements.
When you're not fully immersed in publishing, what do you do for fun? I run a second company called, "Southeast Business Forums." It is a senior level, business-to-business networking organization in middle Tennessee. We have seven chapters and approximately 150 members. It satisfies my need to get out and meet people - a lot of people. Other than that, my wife and I travel quite a bit. I'm very Eurocentric and so one can imagine where I like to go.
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