Cinnabar Bridge

February 13, 2009

Context matters

Filed under: books,marketing | sales — phwebnet @ 5:28 pm
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My president’s letter for the BAIPA News [January 2009]

I read an article the other day about a fine classical musician playing his Stradivarius violin in the subway in Washington DC during rush hour. The experiment, by the Washington Post, was filmed to see what would happen.

The violinist, Joshua Bell, played for 43 minutes while 1097 people passed by. The environment he was playing in was at the top of some escalators with a shoeshine stand and a busy kiosk selling lottery tickets, magazines and newspapers nearby. Nothing happened for three minutes – when someone actually looked at him playing. He got his first donation soon after. No one even stopped to listen until six minutes had passed. In all, seven people stopped to listen for at last one minute — 7 out of 1097. Less than 1%.

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December 25, 2008

The reluctant marketer

My president’s letter for the BAIPA News [January 2009]

You know you have to do it. You know books won’t sell without it. But what if you are a reluctant marketer?

What if you hate selling? Promoting yourself? What if you are shy? Or can’t imagine doing any of John Kremer’s “1001 Ways to Market Your Books.”

Egads, what do you do then?

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November 30, 2008

Our President-Elect reads books

Filed under: books,reading,Uncategorized — phwebnet @ 8:42 pm
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Another letter for the BAIPA News [December 2008]

It matters to us in the book world that people read, or don’t read, books. We have all read the sad statistics* about books and reading, such as:

  • 58% of US adult population never reads another book after high school
  • 80% of US families did not buy or read a book last year
  • 42% of college graduates never read another book
  • 33$ of high school graduates never read another book
  • 57% of new books are not read to completion

And yet… our president-elect, Barack Obama, reads books. And there is a great picture of him (http://papercuts.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/05/21/what-obama-is-reading/) at the airport in Bozeman Montana – he has his finger in a book to mark his place. What a great image!

Why does this matter to us?

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November 10, 2008

The value of our affiliations

Filed under: books,Organizations,publishing,Resources,Uncategorized — phwebnet @ 9:04 pm
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Another letter for the BAIPA News [November 2008]

What is the value of an organization? For many BAIPA members it is our monthly meetings, our annual daylong workshop, the sharing of our experiences. It is very much about community, which I’ve written about before. But one other way an organizations is valuable is the other organizations it has relationships with.

BAIPA has some long-standing relationships that are worth talking about, again. And we are looking to develop more relationships that will benefit you, our members.

So, today, I’m going to talk about IBPA, WNBA, and SPAN. At the end of this article are the web addresses for these three organizations, where you can go to find out more about them, sign up for their newsletters or become members yourselves.

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October 10, 2008

Building your team

Filed under: books,publishing — phwebnet @ 1:13 am
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Another article for the BAIPA News [October 2008]

Last month I wrote about the author-editor relationship and the emotional component of that relationship. It occurs to me that as you build your publishing business, this is just the first among many relationships you will develop along the way.

Many of us are authors as well as publishers and this discussion applies to you as well. When I think of famous artists, there are very very few who achieve great success without help, without a team effort. I think of Picasso and Monet and I think of wives and brothers, and cousins and agents who believed in them, who ran their businesses. That’s how we need to think about our business – as an author or as a publisher.

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October 7, 2008

What the next president can do at little cost

Given the constraints the bailouts and the economy will have on the new president, it seems that we should look at, first, what we can do that will cost no (or little) money. Please share other ideas!

  • Release the scientists (let them communicate with other scientists, let them speak — i.e. Jim Hansen of NASA on climate change)
  • Review current rules and regulations and start enforcing the ones that fit our vision
    • FDA
    • EPA
    • Fed Reserve
  • Make all government transactions more transparent and more understandable

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September 10, 2008

The author editor relationship

Filed under: books,publishing — phwebnet @ 1:04 am
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Another article for the BAIPA News [September 2008]

The relationship between author and editor is probably the most highly charged relationship in the publishing process. As an author you are giving your editor permission to change your story. You are turning your baby over to another person who can change the meaning, the voice, even the essential nature of your manuscript.

In many cases, this is a very good thing. In business books in particular re-structuring the manuscript can make it stronger. And often your editor has a better handle on the marketplace and can help you tap into that marketplace more directly.

For others of you, your manuscript is part of you. It is personal and intimate and you may feel vulnerable when reading it, showing it to others, pitching it, or asking for advice.

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August 12, 2008

Think about content

Another of my letters for the BAIPA News [August 2008]

Many think we in the book world are an endangered species. That in the brave new world there will be no books. It reminds me of radio in the 50s when television hit the country. It was going to be the end of radio. Oh my gosh, with pictures on TV who would want to just listen to a radio. And radio did suffer. Their audience declined, the industry moaned and groaned. And today with satellite radio and the Internet and podcasts and rss feeds, radio (audio programs) is thriving. That’s what happening to publishing.

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July 12, 2008

Finding the right energy

Another letter for the BAIPA News [July 2008]

Being an author and a publisher can pull at us in different ways – and being small, independent publishers means that there are dozens of tasks we need to complete on a regular basis. Some days I get up gung-ho and step right into the external tasks on my plate – calling people, making connections, negotiating, asking for help. And some days I turn off my phone and write or read. I used to fight this. I used to push myself to make those calls or I’d get angry with myself if I couldn’t sit down and read a manuscript or write.

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June 10, 2008

Taking baby steps

Another of my letters for the BAIPA News [June 2008]

In my email yesterday, I got the Writers Digest newsletter and the subject line read “Push Past Writer’s Block” – it made me think about how we begin to move, how we begin after a fallow time, how we are able to act when it all seems so hard.

Taking these steps, these positive steps – I call them baby steps — is important. And it’s equally important to acknowledge taking these steps, whatever they are, to move you onward.

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