Year in Review 2006: The Tipping Point to the Long Tail

Whether it is the best of times for the publishing industry, or the times that try publishers’ souls, depends on whom you ask, and of course, what you really want to know. But there’s little doubt that these are the best of times for anyone who wants his or her oeuvre to be published.

The dictionary defines “to be published” as “To prepare and issue (printed material) for public distribution or sale OR To bring to the public attention; announce.” While those definitions cover traditional publishing, they also work for AuthorHouse, iUniverse and Lulu.com. It’s a little more of a stretch for Blurb.com and MyPublisher.com, which are focused on getting books printed, rather than distributed. But given the turnkey simplicity with which users can create, the speed of production, and the quality of that creation, there’s no doubt that the digitizing of the book production process has resulted in stunning new opportunities for authors.

What does this mean for traditional publishers? At the moment it means little more than bumping up against the occasional competing (albeit self-published) book. In the future, it will mean more clutter, and more confusion about what the industry considers legitimate and the rest of the world calls, simply, books.

But the ramping up of digital publishing promises great advantages for publishers too. As Lightning Source – which now PODs over 1 million books a month – and Amazon, which just acquired a bunch of four color digital presses – can attest, the speed and price of getting books to market is declining. If and when ebooks finally ramp up, new sales opportunities for traditional and subsidized/vanity/self-publishers will follow.

Will the divide between the two continue as each side pumps out more and more product? Or are there ways in which a Random House (which already owns a piece of Xlibris) might more proactively work with aspiring authors, including the many who have no desire to be the great American novelist, but simply want help getting published? Even the NYT sees a place for self published books; a recent article about chef Martin Picard, opined that, for him, “self-publishing proved to be more liberating than limiting,” resulting in precisely the book he and his staff really wanted.
Touting its customers’ ‘Lifestyles of the Niche and Fameless,’ as they create pet magazines, a book about the Sistine Chapel in cross-stitch, or a monastic calendar, Lulu.com sells, according to Direct Marketing News, 90,000 self-published products a month, and adds 300,000 titles a year.

Given such numbers, and with “You” as the Time Person of the Year, the question is how “legit” publishers should take advantage of these burgeoning models and markets.

The Non-Traditionals: A Look Back At 2006

In a year when the long tail went from a buzzword to a business model, the notion of niche has trickled into every aspect of selling books. Targeting small audiences has become the focus – and not the afterthought it used to be – for a growing number of publishers, authors and agents who have realized that the better they can discover, prime and deliver to these audiences as small and numerous as they are, the better their books will be received. Authors are playing a more aggressive role than ever, doing anything they can – especially online – to leverage their platform and build their brand. And publishers, agents, distributors and third parties in turn, are bleeding into one another, expanding their range of services to accommodate them.

The new-model publishing companies covered in our article A More Perfect Union (PT 09/ 06) came to symbolize this year’s trend of dismantling the traditional in order to better target audiences. CDS, Beaufort and Greenleaf have all created no-advance, shared- profit publishing models around well-established distribution operations that involve the author as business partner from the start. No money? Get the author to share the risk. No audience? Build a distribution company first, know who you’re selling to, and then choose an author and a project that will fit your range.
“The biggest hole in the publishing process is distribution,” Meg La Borde EVP of Greenleaf said, explaining that authors are asked how many books they can move before they are even signed, and Greenleaf in turn evaluates what they know they can sell. “It’s all done up front,” La Borde says. “And then it’s a business decision for the author.”

At CDS (now Vanguard), VP Publisher Roger Cooper said that the authors who choose to be published by them feel that for one reason or another the audience they’ve built up over the years hasn’t been reached or targeted in an aggressive or creative way.

Publishers aren’t the only ones assessing the market before a book is published. In Size Matters (PT 02/06) we looked at the growing trend of literary agencies merging into superagencies in order to offer expanded services – from design guidance, to creating a long term marketing proposal, to brand building, to web design and management. Kathleen Spinelli of Brands to Books spoke extensively about the necessity of platform building. “For me, it’s more important to go to a licensing show than a writer’s conference,” she said. “I need my clients to be thinking about what they can do to sell their book from the second they walk through the door. When I shop books, I put an entire marketing plan into the proposal. Publishers love it.”

Our annual distribution round-up, Deliverance (PT 05/06), found that many distributors have been paying acute attention to their non-traditional channels. At last spring’s BISG Making Information Pay Conference, Mark Suchomel repeatedly emphasized IPG‘s commitment to expanded coverage and availability. “We judge reps on the number of accounts they sell to, rather than the number of units they sell,” he said. IPM’s Jane Graf said that the right market for their client’s books is no longer just bookstores, and Jim Fallone of Andrews McMeel talked about their “channel managers” pushing to get their books into as many smaller channels as possible.

Apart from finding channels for specific books, many major publishers are joining packagers (like Weldon Owen) and specialty houses (like Melcher Media) to locate, and increasingly create, books for specific channels – where custom opportunities are endless.

“In large corporations, you need to show growth, and that growth isn’t coming from traditional markets,” says Stephen Weitzen, SVP Publisher of Simon Scribbles who manages Simon & Schuster CDP (Customer Driven Publishing) on the children’s side. “For us, CDP is always a non-returnable business…a way to sell a million books non-returnable.”

In addition, other old models like syndication (Syndication Stagnation, PT 03/06) and subscription (Capture the Customer, PT 06/06) are being reexamined and reconfigured as ways to engage a loyal readership.

All Things Digital

Every year it seems we wait for technology’s actual influence in the industry to catch up to the hype that precedes it, and this year is no exception. When our daily life is already so infused with technology, it seems passé (embarrassing, really) to keep talking about technology as the next new thing. But the truth is for the most part the industry is still lagging.

In one of our most talked-about articles of the year, we parsed the difficult world of “eStats,” attempting to calculate the make-up of the emerging digital market. What we found was a corner of the industry in slight natal disarray, still struggling to define itself, and yet brimming with potential. Even with the reemergence of an ebook reader on the scene (and thanks to Sony, one that people might even use), ebooks have ceased to stand as a signifier for the digital publishing industry as a whole. “I avoid the word ebook like a plague,” Meg Fischer, Director of Domestic Rights at Oxford University Press said during an ebook panel at BookTech last spring. “I like to call it digital media.”

While eBooks and eAudio are the most obvious manifestations of print media in a digital age – whole “books” sold through the e-equivalent of traditional retail channels – other parts of the digital publishing market, like online reference, represent the growing trend of “chunking” information – breaking it apart and allowing consumers to become the architects, rather than leaving construction to publishers. Since consumers don’t buy chunks in the same way they buy whole content (although up-and-coming programs like Amazon Pages, and Random House’s initiative to monetize individual pages are testing this fact) other models such as subscription, rental, pay per view, and ad-supported content have cropped up.

As business models shift and settle, it’s still difficult to draw the line between monetization and marketing, according to Lightspeed’s Jim Lichtenberg. “Since the market is in its infancy and on a quest to convert print consumers into digital consumers, business models are still emerging,” he said. For now, marketing and merchandising spill into each other – free podcasts advertising pay audiobooks, Holtzbrinck‘s RSS-delivered Chapter Feeds enticing customers to buy both print and digital, the innumerable bundled digital incentives educational publishers are using to gain leverage.

In November, PT invited 400 agents to participate in a survey to find out how involved they are with their authors’ e-lives. While virtually all agents (98.1%) encourage their authors to market their books online, some are more optimistic than others about the influence that an online promotion has on sales and most don’t (and don’t know how) to quantify online efforts as they relate to hard revenue. 72% found author websites to be crucial, and 77.8 % said that their authors have had significant success with online marketing – leading to increased sales, a larger fan base, reviews in lit blogs, increased speaking events, and selection in online reading groups.

Increasingly, responsibility is falling on authors themselves to create and maintain their online world. John Burke, VP of FSB Associates said that more and more the company is working with authors directly, “For web publicity projects, the authors account for 20% of our business, but for web site development, it’s probably about 60%.” Carol Fitzgerald said that at The Book Reporter Network she is approached equally by publishers and authors.

In a wider media frame, online video received the most press of 2006 – crowned by Google’s $1.65 billion purchase of You Tube last fall. Video book trailers have continued to pop up this year, but some of the most interesting (and potentially promising) integration of online video for publishers is coming from online movie tie-in campaigns (The New Guard, PT 12/06).

Trendspotting 2007

To start the year off on the right foot, we’ve asked some industry innovators to share their insights for the near future. . .

Scott Watrous,
President and Publisher,
Globe Pequot

For companies that are in the mid-range like Globe Pequot, the biggest challenge that we face is getting presence for our books, not only on retail shelves, but also in the media. The top range of publishers command so much space at retail, and so much industry mindshare, that competing mano a mano has gone from challenging to almost impossible. In the key battlegrounds — front-of-store, reviews, TV… the vast majority of space is clogged by the many imprints of major houses, and books well published and sold and marketed hard face a steep and slippery uphill.

Publishers strategy must consistently shift towards the small windows of opportunity that we can get through. The “big guys” don’t really do regional, so that can be a focus. With publisher and retailer commitment, small non-book outlets can sell hundreds of books. The New York Times recently did an article on books in non-traditional outlets, and wrote “Mike’s Deli in the Bronx, for instance, has sold more than 4,500 copies of Ann Volkwein‘s Arthur Avenue Cookbook at $25 each.” This is incredible! “Micro-markets” can pay off, as long as the publisher can get the retailers to take a stand.

The challenges that we face as an industry, including the Internet, television and other entertainment forms, certainly affect every publisher. However it is the small to mid-size guys who can be nimble, keep costs down, manage tight inventories, and be innovative. We really can’t do what the big publishers do-but we CAN stick with a strategy and make money by doing many things better.

Charles Melcher,
President,
Melcher Media

As Al Gore illuminates in his book An Inconvenient Truth (produced by Melcher Media for Rodale), the scientific debate about global warming is over and the clock is ticking.

All of us need to become aware of the energy we consume, the waste we produce, and the toll we take on the environment. For those of us in publishing, this means recognizing our industry’s negative environmental impact and taking necessary steps to clean up our act.

There are many areas of our operations that we need to reevaluate, from our manufacturing processes to the inefficiencies of our distribution model. The single biggest issue is, of course, paper. Of all industries, paper manufacture and processing is the fourth largest producer of CO2 emissions – only surpassed by the chemical, oil/coal, and metal industries. Among the assaults of the paper industry are the destruction of forests, the vast consumption of energy, the release of toxic by-products into air and water, and the huge contribution to landfill. (Paper waste accounts for 35% of our trash.)
Primarily, publishers need to be more discriminating in our paper choices. We must depart from and ultimately eliminate the use of papers made from 100% virgin fiber. We must choose stocks made with a high percentage of recycled content and the lowest possible amounts of chlorine and other toxins in production. For Al Gore’s book we used Appleton Green Power Utopia which is made of 30% post-consumer waste. The virgin fibers are grown under a certified forestry management system and the pulp is produced chlorine-free using 100% green power.

Simultaneously we need to explore alternative papers – those made from hemp or other biological sources that can be cultivated more rapidly than wood, that are fully biodegradable. And we need to experiment with papers made from synthetic sources that, instead of winding up in landfill, can ultimately be reclaimed and fully re-utilized. At Melcher Media, we’ve been inspired by the model presented by the renowned green Architect William McDonough in his classic book, Cradle to Cradle (which Melcher Media produced for FSG). In his prescription for a viable future, Bill suggests that all products must be designed to be either biologically compostable (i.e., to break down and become a nutrient for a next natural cycle) or technologically reusable (i.e., to be reclaimed and reused as raw material for a next industrial cycle.) In this way, we eliminate the concept of “waste” altogether and create a closed loop system wherein everything is re-circulated and becomes “food” for the next cycle – the way things work in nature.

To bring this philosophy to the publishing industry, Melcher Media has developed and patented a unique format – the DuraBook™ – which uses synthetic paper made of extruded polymers and a binding process that uses special threads and glues to make a durable, waterproof book that uses no trees and is “up-cyclable” – that is, it can be melted down and its materials can be reused to make new books or other products. To date, we’ve produced about 20 titles with over 800,000 DuraBooks™ in print, including Green Clean, The Beach Book and Charlie Palmer’s Practical Guide to the New American Kitchen. We are continuing to refine the process and make the product more effectively reusable.

Michael Healy,
Executive Director,
BISG

In spite of my short tenure as Executive Director of BISG, it is already clear that 2007 will be an important year for standards in the US book trade. The year starts with the launch of ISBN-13 on January 1, and signals from the industry are looking positive at this late stage: Most of the major players indicate they are ready, but it will be interesting to see how prepared the long tail of publishers, booksellers and service suppliers really is. The Book Industry Study Group will continue to offer extensive support resources via its office and web site (www.bisg.org) and to run its ISBN-13 Task Force for the foreseeable future.

Also in 2007 we will see progress on a new standard to provide a unique numbering scheme for authors and other types of contributors, as well as imprints and publishers. The International Standard Party Identifier (or ISPI for short), once completed and implemented, is likely to have important applications in the supply chain. We all know how imprecise personal names are as unique identifiers, with many authors having the same name and other authors choosing to use different names when writing in different genres. When available, ISPI will enable every author to have a unique ID number, thereby eliminating ambiguity in databases, connecting pseudonyms and personal names, and supporting more accurate distribution of dues and royalties.

Digital publishing will be the other main front line for standards effort. With so many major publishers and service suppliers now developing or planning systems for the distribution of digital content, we are closer to the reality of standardized messages that support the seamless movement of electronic content between trading partners.

Of course standards only make a difference to our industry’s efficiency if a critical mass of businesses complies with them, so in 2007 we will see the emergence of independent certification programs to encourage and acknowledge compliance with standards and good practice in product data, EDI usage and product labeling.

Malle Vallik,
Director, New Business Development,
Harlequin

“I am a wife and a mother of two. When I cook dinner at night I set my laptop up with the current book I am reading in a large font, and I can read my book across the counter!! I haven’t cut a finger yet, either… When I go to bed at night, I read the same eBook on my PDA. I don’t keep my husband up with the light on, since I can read the screen in the dark. When I go somewhere, DMV, vacation, etc., I can bring as many eBooks as I want with me.”
– Harlequin Customer

This reader’s comment encapsulates why Harlequin has entered the digital market in 2006 and has aggressive plans for 2007. At first the phrase Going Digital seems far removed from what publishers have traditionally delivered — printed books — but the much-imagined future where you can access the latest novel from your favorite author “hot off the press” whether you are on safari in the Serengeti, stuck on a subway on the way to work, or at home on a Sunday afternoon is here.

It’s also key to recognize that the digital audience is not exclusively a group of high-tech afficionados. Lots of “geeks” like new gadgets and toys and the challenge therein; most women — and Harlequin customers are primarily women – do not enjoy technology for its inherent techiness but because it provides a benefit. Being able to access books immediately, being able to store a large quantity of novels with little space, being able to find out-of-stock stories means that the traditional book customer is willing to take on the challenge of going digital.

And that is what publishers should be focusing on – how to make this experience easier and better. Purchasing digital is not always easy – many of my colleagues are still struggling to make an eBook purchase – although Apple’s ubiquitous iPod has made downloadable audio more accessible and “do-able” than ever.

At Harlequin we will be focusing on growing the digital audience through several different methods. We are offering stories in multiple formats – eBooks, downloadable audio and mobile (cell-phone) content. We are offering a wide breadth of product. We started publishing eBooks in October 2006 with 10 titles a month and will be publishing 60-90 titles a month throughout 2007. We work closely with the various eRetailers on promotions. We are putting an added focus on our online eHarlequin.com community to learn about our customers’ experiences and to teach digital how–to in a one-on-one, relaxed online environment. We listen and respond to customer feedback about title selection and will be experimenting with digital-first content. Wherever readers are, we plan to be there!

Bookview, January 2007

PEOPLE

On December 15, two hundred and fifteen years after the Bill of Rights was ratified (in case you had lost perspective), Judith Regan was dismissed from HarperCollins.

Maureen Egen, Deputy Chairman and Publisher of the Hachette Book Group USA, will step down from those roles January 1 and will leave the company by the summer. Meanwhile, Warner Books’ name change is, PT hears, imminent. . . . Jennifer Barth has left her position as Editor-in-Chief at Holt to become an Executive Editor at Harper, reporting to Jonathan Burnham, starting January 15.

John Hogan, Editorial Director of Pages/AMS is leaving the company and moving to New York. He may be reached at [email protected]
David DeLano Director of Corporate reprints at Random House has been added to the lengthening list of the departed. He may be reached at 917.806.4272, or [email protected]

In children’s news: Simon Tasker (previously at S&S) has been named Director, Global Retail Sales, Disney Book Group. Ex-DK Jeannie Guman has become the Director of Trade Sales. Other appointments include: Dave Epstein, who will handle sales to B&N; Kim Knueppel, who will manage Levy; and Sarah Sullivan who will manage AMS.
Little, Brown Children’s has hired Audrey Sclater for the new role of Art Director, marketing. Most recently, she was at Sterling. Jillian Jossem has joined the imprint as Brand Marketing Manager, from Alloy. . . . Stacey Barney has moved to Putnam Books for Young Readers, as an editor. Most recently, she was at Dafina/Kensington. . . . Houghton has hired Julia Richardson for the new position of Paperback Director in their children’s book group. Richardson is currently editorial director at Aladdin Paperbacks. . . After 19 years running Chronicle Books’ Children’s division, Victoria Rock will give up her position as Associate Publisher and will become Editor-at-Large and founding publisher.

Sterling announced that Philip Turner joined the company to direct a new imprint, Union Square Press. His place will be taken by Bill Strachan who was most recently at Hyperion.

Lots of changes in the world of direct selling: Seth Radwell has been named President of Scholastic at Home. In this role, he will also have responsibility for school continuity programs and the Back to Basics Toys division. Radwell, who is currently President of eScholastic, will retain that position. He succeeds Judy Newman, who will continue as President of Scholastic Book Clubs. . . . Carole Baron, SVP & Publishing Director of Bookspan, announced the appointment of Christine Zika to the position of Executive Editor for Madison Park Press, acquiring original book projects for the Press and Doubleday Entertainment Book. She was Senior Editor at Berkley Publishing.

Director of Sales Dudley Jahnke has left Viz and CEO Hidemi Fukuhara has taken over his duties. Gonzalo Ferreyra will take over direct responsibility for book and DVD sales and will report to Fukuhara. . . . .Ron Martirano has gone to McGraw-Hill as Editor from Penguin/Chamberlain Bros. . . Colleen Lindsay has moved to Abrams as Director of Marketing Operations, overseeing marketing for Abrams adult, Abrams Image and STC titles. She was formerly at Ballantine. Publicity Director Lisa Sherman-Cohen has left the company.

DK “is changing its US-based editorial structure to focus more on global publishing and less on US acquisition.” As a result, Publishing Director Carl Raymond will leave the company on January 15. He may be reached at 917.340.6677 or [email protected] Editor Brian Saliba will move to custom publishing, reporting to business development director Mike Vaccaro.

Suzanne Balaban has left Scribner, where she was VP, Director of Publicity, to join the Shalem Centre, a think tank in Israel as VP Communications. She may be reached at [email protected]
Steve Fischer has been hired as NEIBA‘s new Executive Director. He had worked with RedWheel Weiser /Conari, HarperCollins and Tuttle. He can be reached at [email protected] He replaces long time director Rusty Drugan who died earlier in the year.

At Globe Pequot Press, Inger Forland has joined the company as Executive director for marketing, publicity and design. Karen Cure has been hired as Editorial Director, travel. She was Editorial Director at Fodor‘s for ten years. Jeff Serena has been promoted to Associate Publisher, focusing on recreation, travel, hunting and fishing, local history, and regional cookbooks. He has been with the company since 2000.

At Miramax Books, Camille March has joined the company as Associate Director of Publicity, and will move to the Weinstein Company when it officially launches in late 2007.

Chairman and Chief Executive of Continuum, Philip Sturrock, has quit the UK/US publisher. Continuum was acquired by Nova in June 2005 and Patrick Austen, Director of Nova, will take over both as Chairman and CEO on a temporary basis.

In other international news, Michael Holdsworth, long time Managing Director of EMEA at Cambridge University Press, has left the publisher. Andrew Gilfillan, previously MD of Cambridge Learning, will replace Holdsworth from January 2007. . . . Ornella Robbiati writes that she is leaving Sonzogno to run De Agostini‘s book department, which publishes children’s books and nonfiction titles, to transform it into a “mainstream publishing house.” Finally, Penguin Deputy MD Andrew Welham will join Octopus in February as deputy CEO. Finally, Ravi Mirchandani, former Heinemann Publishing Director will join Atlantic Books in March in the same position.

Jason Kincade has taken over as New Media Manager at Knopf Publishing Group after Farah Miller left for Modern Bride magazine. Kincade was Online Editor, at Penguin.

PROMOTIONS

Andrea Schulz has been promoted to Editor-in-Chief at Harcourt, reporting to publisher Rebecca Saletan.

At Chronicle, Liza Algar has been promoted to Executive Director of marketing and Sarah Williams has been promoted to Executive Director, new business development.

Deborah Brody has been promoted to Executive Editor in McGraw-Hill professional’s consumer group.

DULY NOTED

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) and the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) hosted a seminar on Managing and Delivering Digital Assets, on November 29 to discuss developments in the world of epublishing. The informative presentations are available on the website: http://idpf.org/

And BookExpo America (BEA) is offering a free podcast of the 57th National Book Awards, including the announcement of the National Book Award Winners and their speeches.
Get the podcast at www.bookexpocast.com.

IN MEMORIAM

Cathy Fox Holstein, 54, died on Dec. 10th, of lung cancer. She was most recently at Putnam. A funeral service took place in Westchester on December 16. Memorial contributions in her name may be sent to the Relay for Life, American Cancer Society, 2 Lyon Place, White Plains, NY 10601.

Auf Wiedersehen: Sum’s the Word, Luxurious Bejeweled Elephants, Of Butterflies and Men

One + one = three in Dutch author and Libris Prize winner Tomas Lieske‘s new novel My Sovereign Love about an artisan of arithmetic, his love interest, and a meddling monarch. Born in The Hague in 1528, Marnix de Veer is a mathematician, architect, and instrument-maker extraordinaire. Also a dabbler in foreign languages, he catches the ear of Spain’s King Philip II with his proficiency in Spanish. Philip, who speaks Spanish solamente, is impressed by the Dutchman, and invites him to join his entourage. Marnix soon finds himself living in the peculiar world of the Spanish court, his time filled with old-fashioned amusements and grand tournaments. In his spare time, he develops a numerical formula to predict his future based upon the year of his birth, and determines that he will find himself in the midst of a love triangle. When he falls for the ravishing courtier Isabel Osorio, he can only hope that she is not the one he will have to share. Alas, he soon discovers she is, and his competition is his old pal the king. Caught between love and loyalty, these historical characters are “imaginatively blended” as an “intriguingly complex relationship” develops between the two men. This “cool short story” has also been called “a crystal clear account of court happenings, as if a painting by an unknown, but rather perverted master, has been brought to life.” Rights to his latest have been sold to Kiepenheuer (Germany) with an offer from a Czech publisher and interest brewing among English, French, and Italian publishers. Rights are available from Floortje Jansen at Querido (Holland).

Reminiscent of Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men and Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, the latest novel of software engineer turned author Martin Gülich puts him “squarely into the top class.” The Embrace features a thirty-eight-year-old pathology assistant with a low IQ named Dolf who has difficulty forming and maintaining relationships. In the league of, “it’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it,” his work consists of assisting his boss in cutting open corpses and examining their vital organs. His social life is limited to a daily lunch with his only friend, an overweight railway worker named Walter, as he’s had no luck with the ladies, his only experience being a split-second kiss with a female corpse. In addition, Dolf is plagued by a passion for a poster girl named Kristina, at whom he gazes from his bed, and for collecting butterflies. He painstakingly pins the defenseless creatures, always certain to use enough poison to prevent them from reviving. His antisocial behavior collides with his penchant for pinning when, one day, the girlfriend of a stab-wound victim, a blonde beautician named Natalie, enters the lab to identify her boyfriend’s body and wraps her arms around Dolf for consolation. As if that did not have enough of an emotional effect on him, Dolf is pushed right over the edge when he later discovers that Walter is sleeping with Natalie. His only course of action is to lull her to sleep as he does his butterflies. Rights have been picked up by Flammarion (France) and Ab Ovo Kiadó (Hungary). Contact Kathrin Scheel at Schöffling (Germany).

Shifting to Spain, Javier Moro’s Indian Passion, which has sold over 200,000 copies, recounts a true story that is so like a fairytale that it could only be written as fiction. Not “due to the need to invent anything,” according to the author, but because “it was the only possible way to tell this unbelievable story and to properly reflect the extraordinary atmosphere of the time.” On January 28, 1908, a young Spanish woman, sitting astride a luxuriously bejeweled elephant enters a small city in the north of India. Curious locals pack the streets, gawking at their new princess, Anita Delgado, who has just married the wealthy maharaja of Kapurthala. Moro, who has worked as a researcher for authors including Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins, traveled throughout Europe and India to detail this extraordinary story of love and betrayal which caused one of the biggest scandals of the Indian Raj, an India that was soon to disappear forever. This whirlwind of flamenco music, jewels, Rolls Royces, and tiger hunts has been sold to Robert Laffont (France), Mondadori (Italy) Palatinus Kiadó (Hungary) and Dom Quixote (Portugal). Cristina Mora of Planeta (Spain) is the rights holder.

The title of Régis Jauffret’s new book, Insane Asylums, has been called a good synopsis of his entire oeuvre. Winner of the Prix Femina for 2005, Jauffret “is to French literature what Chabrol is to film: an outstanding stylist and a fascinating storyteller.” The new offering tells the story of an insane woman named Gisele who wants to rid herself of her own body. She paces back and forth in her empty apartment like a lioness, the remaining half of a couple which seemed to be in love, but which has since been torn asunder. Jauffret tells his story from different perspectives, moving from the baffled Gisele to the father of her former lover, Damien. He paints a cruel portrait of a family in this dark comedy, built on the premise that all families are microcosms of insane asylums. His style has been praised as “precise, elegant and cruel to an unparalleled degree.” Rights have been snatched up by Arbeiderspers (Holland), Prunsoop (Korea), and Dogan Kitap (Turkey) and are available from Anne-Solange Noble at Gallimard (France).

Representing Italy this month is Giorgio Todde’s The Balance of the Souls, part of a crime series which introduces readers to the beautiful, isolated and windswept island of Sardinia, much as the writings of Andrea Camilleri and Henning Mankell opened readers’ eyes to the landscapes, people, and mysteries of Sicily and Sweden. In the forgotten village of Abinei, the number of souls has always remained unchanged: 164. For every death there is a birth in this town of strange customs and unexplained mysteries. All that changes when three horrific murders occur one night after another, plunging the villagers into a state of fear. The first of five volumes featuring pioneering doctor Efisio Marini has been praised as “elegant and dark,” as well as “intriguing and unpredictable.” Rights have been sold to Piper (Germany), Albin Michel (France), De Bezige Bij (Holland), Siruela (Spain), Objetiva (Brazil), and WSOY (Finland). Linda Michaels holds the rights.

And last but not least, this will sadly be my final bestseller column for Publishing Trends as I am shuffling off to Berlin in a few weeks for some genuine German-language immersion. Please keep us posted with international news by emailing Sara Huneke at [email protected], and join me for some Spätzle, Spaten, and Spaß if you’re ever passing through Berlin!

Bookview, December 2005

PEOPLE
November has been a month of moves, the most talked about being Riverhead Co-Publishers Julie Grau and Cindy Spiegel move from Penguin to Doubleday and the subsequent promotion of Sean McDonald to Executive Editor. He was previously Senior Editor and Online Creative Director.

HarperCollins announced Justin Loeber has been appointed SVP, Executive Director of Marketing and Publicity for Regan Media, beginning on January 3, 2006, and reporting to Judith Regan. He was VP and Director of Publicity at S&S for Atria Books and Washington Square Press. PR Director Paul Crichton recently left. Atria’s VP, Deputy Publisher, Karen Mender is also leaving at the end of the year to explore new avenues of interest. She may be reached at 212.879.2928 or [email protected]

Michelle Lewy has been named Director of Trade Sales at Globe Pequot. She was most recently at Spier NY and previously VP of Sales and Marketing for the Mass Market division at Scholastic. Michelle Patterson has been hired as Director of Marketing. She had been at Random House and Wiley.

Louise Burke has named Anthony Ziccardi as VP, Deputy Publisher of Pocket Books, replacing Liate Stehlik, who went to Avon as SVP Publisher. He was SVP Director of Sales and Marketing for the Random House Publishing Group. Following Stehlik’s move, Darlene DeLillo has left Avon, where she was Associate Publisher.

Brian Belfiglio has been named Marketing Director at Workman. He was Publicity Director at Crown. Yuji Takeda has been named CEO of Random House Kodansha, effective January 1, 2006. He was Managing Director of the Tuttle-Mori Agency and succeeds Yoshitaka Kenno.

Donna Passannante, Director of Author Promotions at B&N, has joined Random House as Director of Marketing for the Crown Publishing Group. She was at B&N sixteen years. Karen Patterson, also a veteran, left recently for Random to become VP, Director of Sales. In her new position she will be primarily responsible for the Barnes & Noble account.

David Rosen joins The Martinière Group as VP, Editorial Director for Abrams and Abrams Image, effective December 12. In this newly created position, he takes over the day-to-day management of the Abrams adult editorial group and is responsible for the shape and scope of the adult publishing list. Rosen was at Bookspan.

Public Affairs Publicity Director Gene Taft has left for Washington DC and may be reached, appropriately, at [email protected]

In children’s publishing, Andrea Davis Pinkney joined Scholastic as VP, Publisher, Hardcover and Early Childhood; Pinkney was most recently VP, Publisher, Houghton Mifflin. Catherine Daly has joined as Editorial Director, Paperbacks, reporting to Craig Walker, who was recently promoted to SVP. . . HarperCollins Children’s Books has hired Sandee Roston as VP Executive Director of Publicity. Roston came from Avalon Publishing where she served as Associate Publisher.. . . Disney Publishing his hired former Miramax executive Lola Bubbosh for the cross-divisional position of executive editor, publishing and film … Karen Sargent has been named Executive Editor, Simon Spotlight. She begins her new position on December 1, 2005. Sargent comes to S&S from Sesame Workshop. Orly Sigal has joined S&S as Marketing Manager, Simon Spotlight Entertainment and Teen Paperbacks. She was previously at Atria Books.

Michelle Howry has joined Time Warner’s new lifestyle imprint Springboard Press — targeted to baby boomers in search of a high-quality lifestyle, self-satisfaction, reinvention of self and career and ways to look and feel younger — as senior editor. She was a senior editor at Perigee. . . . Central Park Media (CPM) has appointed Ali T. Kokmen as Director of Book Sales. Kokmen was formerly the Sales and Marketing Manager for HarperCollins’ Collins Design imprint. Prior to that, he served as Marketing Manager for Watson-Guptill.

Dana Adkins has joined the Santana-Tatsuuma Media International Literary Agency. She has over 30 years experience as a book editor at Viking Penguin, Houghton Mifflin, and Reader’s Digest.

At Adams Media, Jeanne Emanuel has been hired as executive director of sales, overseeing sales into the trade, wholesale, and specialty retail channels. She was Director of Business Development at Workman. Jennifer Kushnier has joined as single title Acquisitions Editor. She was at Rodale.

Plume Publicity Director Brant Janeway has left Penguin and Executive Editor Joe Blades is leaving Ballantine.

At Henry Holt, Sarah Knight has joined the company as Editor, adult trade. She was at Scribner. . . . At Thunder’s Mouth, Anita Diggs joined the company in mid-November as Senior Editor. Her most recent editorial position was at Ballantine’s One World Books, and she was an agent at The Literary Group.

Laurele Riipa, has moved to Rodale as Publishing Coordinator in the book division, reporting to VP Publisher, Liz Perl. Previously she was Managing Editor, Announcements at PW.

Peter Jovanovich, a Republican (and previously CEO of Pearson Education) lost his bid for Rye City Council in the November 8 elections.

PROMOTIONS

Sharyn Rosenblum has been promoted to Senior Director of Media Relations for William Morrow. She joined William Morrow 11 years ago.

Molly Stern
has been promoted to Executive Editor of Viking Penguin. Earlier this summer, Stern was promoted to mother of Zachary Stern Mandel (father is Jay Mandel of the William Morris Agency) born on July 17.

Keith Wallman has been promoted from Associate Editor to Editor, Carroll & Graf.

Globe Pequot’s senior publicist Jane Reilly has been named publicity manager.

Sonali Fry has been promoted to Editorial Director, Little Simon and Little Simon Inspirations. She was formerly Executive Editor, Simon Spotlight. Julia Richardson has been promoted to Editorial Director, Paperback Books. Jen Klonsky has been promoted to Executive Editor, Paperback Books. Emily Fischer has been promoted to Senior Editor, Simon Spotlight. She was formerly Editor.

DECEMBER EVENTS

Meanwhile, the Eighteenth Independent and Small Press Book Fair will take place December 3-4 at The Small Press Center, 20 West 44 Street. There will be workshops, panels, and readings. Publishers can still register to exhibit. For information email [email protected] or go to www. smallpress.org.

DULY NOTED

The Small Press Center’s 20th Anniversary Celebration and Benefit took place on November 30th . This year’s recipient of the Ben Award was given to Peter Workman, by Steve Riggio. CBS’s Mario Bosquez was the evening’s host.

Books for a Better Life announced its finalists on Nov. 30 (www.msnyc.org) and highlighted the list of those to be honored st its February 27 gala. At this tenth annual event Jane Brody, Larry Kirshbaum, Teri Garr, Suze Orman and Rodale will all be honored. Meredith Vieira will once again emcee and USA Today has signed on as a partner.

Also celebrating its tenth year, Borders announced the nominees for its 2005 Original Voices Awards on November 29. The awards will be announced on January 19. In addition to a $5,000 prize and a ceremony during the 2006 BookExpo America convention, the winners’ works will be prominently displayed in the more than 470 Borders Books and Music stores nationwide, with a mention in Borders This Month, the monthly shopping guide, which will offer a 20% discount the month the titles are featured.

And from The Colbert Report With Stephen Colbert:
NASCAR has entered into a licensing agreement allowing Harlequin to publish steamy novels with racing themes, with titles like Into The Groove and Dangerous Curves. “This is a terrible idea. NASCAR is one of the final frontiers of male bonding, where the love of speed and horrible car accidents draws men together to drink beer and high-five. Hey Harlequin, we don’t drive racecars through your wildflower meadows. Don’t put Fabio in our firesuits.”

MAZEL TOV

Jane Dystel announced the healthy arrival of partner Miriam Goderich‘s baby, Henry James Farkas, born November 9 at 8:41 AM, weighing 6 pounds, 14 ounces.

IN MEMORIAM

There will be a memorial service for literary agent Fifi Oscard, who died on November 12, on Friday, December 9th at 4:00 at the Cosmopolitan Club. Donations may be made to the Mercantile Library, 17 East 47th Street, New York, NY 10017.

As You Like It: Custom Publishing’s Double Digit Growth

Beginning with a dramatic reading of Cashmere If You Can, HarperCollins‘ collaboration with Saks Fifth Avenue, NYU‘s “Custom Publishing: State of the Art — and State of the Business 2005” kicked off on November 17 at its midtown campus. Co-hosted by the Custom Publishing Council (CPC) and the Center for Publishing, the day-long seminar brought sixty devotees together to drink the custom Kool Aid. The industry stats provide ample justification for the excitement: With 107,000 custom publications produced in 2004, custom publishing is the second fastest growing media sector, behind the internet and far ahead of cable. More than $35 billion was spent last year, making it a larger industry than either consumer magazine publishing or book publishing.

Ironically, despite Harper’s pride of place and promises that books would be referred to throughout the day, the emphasis was on magazines, with passing reference to newsletters, online content and ‘magalogs.’ Books and “book content” came up occasionally, as in the example given by Michael Hurley, former publisher of Hearst Custom Publishing (the behemoth in this field), who described how Georgia Pacific used content from various Hearst books on their website to create a relationship with their users.

While custom publishing is defined by the CPC as “the delivery of editorial content from a sponsoring company to a targeted audience” in order to move “the perceptions and behavior of the audience in a desired direction” the CPC includes in its definition association and alumni newsletters, virtually all controlled circ magazines, even the Williams-Sonoma catalog, with its useful advice and tasty recipes.

According to the speakers, at some point most custom publishers find themselves in unusual relationships with their clients and even, their product: The Magazine Group, which produces 65 custom publications including ones for AARP and WebMD, was hired by the State Department to produce “hi,” an Arab-language magazine for teens. It hired Arab-speaking editors and produced the requisite magazine, but realizing none of its own editors could understand what they had produced, they then had to hire Samir Husni, the U. Miss. professor who tracks new magazine launches and is a fluent speaker of several Arab dialects, to vet it.

The audience, rapt for most of the day, did occasionally query the speakers on finding the balance between the client’s desire to meddle and the publisher’s desire to provide editorial quality (all the speakers laughed whenever it came up). But most speakers — while acknowledging the difficulty of arguing with those paying the bills — defended their ability to both bring a magazine or newsletter to the market on schedule and budget, and then to measure its effectiveness once there. Many discussed how clients could be prospected and upsold (think books, e-newsletters, websites), and why custom publishing often follows failed advertising efforts. For the cost of a $250,000 ad, said one publisher, a manufacturer can create a quality magazine aimed at the target audience.

But the most persistent argument of the day — mirroring the discussion that took place the previous week at the ABPA conference [see page 7] was that opportunities abound in multiple media and markets, for publishers of all sizes and expertise.

For more information go to custompublishingcouncil.com.

The New Guard

Publishers Saunter Into the Online World of Books to Movie Tie-In Marketing

EMarketer estimates that by the end of this year, spending for online video advertising will increase by 82.2% to $410 million. Something of a wunderkind in 2006, online video has received an enormous amount of press lately – most notably due to YouTube (and Google’s $1.65 billion interest in it). Regular readers of the news online are aware that video is now integrated more frequently – think NYTimes mini-reportages, and Google Video Ads – like the faux documentary about Napoleon’s GI disorder – pop up all over the place. As television continues to tank, it is predicted that by 2010 online video will be a $3 billion business.

Even with this boom in online production and spending, Ad Age reported that movie studios spend only 3% (compared to the U.S. industry’s overall average of 5.7% as measured by eMarketer) of their marketing budgets on online ads. But Hollywood is slowly getting into the game and over the next four years is expected to increase its online spending to 8% – with more elaborate websites and online portals being created for films (hosting trailers, interview clips, games and more).

Books have long chased the sought after movie tie-in, riding waves of publicity and amplified sales following a film’s release, but it is only recently (as studios dedicate more money and resources to online and new media departments) that publishers are appreciating how ripe the online world is for “cross-pollination” opportunities.

“Increasingly, there are a multitude of options that make it easier for the two to work together,” David Gale, EVP New Media & Specialty Film Content MTV Productions said. “Whether it’s just a line at the bottom of the movie poster that says ‘read the book’ or publishers saying ‘see the movie’ – to studios using excerpts from the book and running co-branded marketing campaigns that live online where communities can interact – I think that absolutely things are happening.”

Running With Synergy

Movie studios are generally assumed to be dismissive of books as promotional partners (and with a revenue ratio of $400 million to $1 it’s easy to see why), but Matthew Shear, VP Publisher of St. Martin’s disagrees. “Movie studios DO care about books,” he says. “Especially books that are successful prior to the movie’s release.” With numerous big pictures out this fall – including Running With Scissors, Little Children, and the upcoming The Good German – St. Martin’s is hot with movie tie-in fever. Shear said that Sony used the phrase “from the bestselling book” extensively when promoting Running With Scissors, generating a significant amount of buzz. “When the trailers began to run, our sales began to skyrocket,” he said.
Although in many cases authors are sidelined (as Joseph Kanon, ex-publishing exec and author of The Good German put it – “I’m not really a player in all this; people, understandably, are more interested in George Clooney”), Shear said that Augusten Burroughs was extensively involved in the making and promotion of RWS, since the book was autobiographical. Christopher Schelling, Burroughs’ agent, pointed out however that “Augusten is the exception to the rule” and that movie studios aren’t always so inviting. Burroughs and RWS writer/director Ryan Murphy spoke every day for months, Schelling said, because the studio “recognized that the book was an ad for their movie.”

Partly because of his unusually close ties to the film, and partly because of his advertising background (Burroughs worked writing ad copy for 17 years) Burroughs’ own author website – www.augusten.com – is an exceptional example of the seamless synergy that can exist between book and movie promotion online. The site is full of information about both the book and the movie, with interactive elements like a video interview with the author, and prominent links out to the movie site. When Sony/Tristar produced a trailer for RWS last spring that ran at the end of Nip/Tuck (director Murphy is also creator of the series), Burroughs embedded it on his website (recently revamped by coveted designer Drew Prochaska). Although some publishers noted that it can be unnervingly difficult to get permission from studios to include trailers and film stills on their own sites, Schelling said that Sony agreed immediately. “It was all painless,” he said.

In the RWS edgy non-fiction vein, upcoming MTV Films/Paramount picture Freedom Writers (based on the 1999 Broadway Books composite diary/memoir by inner-city teacher Erin Gruwell) also lends itself to cross-promotion & co-branding efforts.

MTV’s Gale said that there is a big campaign to use the book as a marketing tool for the movie. In conjunction with the movie’s release in January, a movie tie-in of the book, along with two ancillary titles – Teach With Your Heart (a memoir by Gruwell) and The Freedom Writers Diary Teacher’s Guide – are being released. Online, websites for both the movie and the Freedom Writers Foundation are visibly interlinked. “It depends really as to whether the book is the source of the material in terms of whether to integrate marketing efforts,” he said.

Lost In the Mire

Risa Kessler, Consultant to Paramount/Viacom Consumer Products said that there is now a “new guard” on both sides of the fence that understands the importance of coordinating marketing efforts online. With “Halo Marketing” an increasingly sought after strategy – products/brands/etc. aligning themselves with other products and brands consumers care about (essentially what tie-ins have always tried to achieve) – Kessler says that publishers and studios are working much more closely with each other than in the past. “It’s a military operation,” she said referring to the precision and intensity with which campaigns are coordinated and launched, with most planning beginning 12-15 months before a movie opens.

Most publishers say they are working more directly and collaboratively with movie studios than ever before. Russell Perreault, VP Publicity at Vintage/Anchor, said, “We’re working more closely with the studios because there are more and more films.” Online, Perreault feeds studios information – author bios, interviews, etc. – for their sites, which they use at their discretion.

On the Vintage site, there is a “Screening Room” (www.randomhouse.com/vintage/screen) that lists all of the movies currently in production with links to movie sites, movie stills, book buying info, interviews, etc. (B&N has a similar “At the Movies” section on their site that lists the books behind recently released films). Perreault said that Vintage doesn’t usually host trailers on their site since they are “found all over the place;” they choose instead to link back to studios.

Although a valiant effort utilizing important components, the Screening Room can be difficult to find since it is hidden within the Vintage site and doesn’t rank very high on search engines (ditto B&N’s “At the Movies”). Similarly, as thorough as Burroughs’ website is, like most author sites, it’s difficult to tease out when searching for a title alone – for example, when Googling “Running With Scissors” the site doesn’t appear within the first 100 hits.
The inevitability of author, title, and publisher websites getting lost in the internet mire has many in the industry throwing up there hands with a “well, no one comes to our websites anyway” attitude. Although most publishers interviewed had a general idea that Search Engine Optimization is important, only a handful seem to be investing in key words, and other SEO techniques as a preemptive measure to establish a solid search ranking before the books become movies (see page 7 for more information).

VP Pub Shear said that St. Martin’s does invest a little in keywords for books, but there aren’t any major efforts. “I think that there are enormous opportunities to take advantage of films based on books, and to do more online,” he said. Although excited at the prospect of new and innovative ways to cross-promote, Shear said that they still tend to rely on movie companies’ big promotions to jump start their own sales, since (at present) they have the ability to reach a much greater audience both online and off. On the other hand, Bridget Marmion, Corporate VP Director of Marketing at Houghton Mifflin says that they reserve URLs early on, and that there usually isn’t any competition from movie studios in terms of domain names, search ranking, etc.

Still, reliance on the studios to blaze the way is common. Newmarket’s Esther Margolis, who has longstanding relationships with numerous studios said that it is now very common for each movie to have its own internet marketing team , which welcomes cross-marketing efforts (especially in the case of licensed books/movie tie-ins since they stand to profit), and encourages publishers to post links to their sites, etc. But, when trolling through publisher and author websites it is apparent that few do link, and even fewer do it well. “It’s just a time crunch,” Margolis said. “It has a lot to do with staffing, at least that’s what it is with us. And, obviously, communication is a big key.”

Publishers Do Good 2006

To celebrate this season of giving, PT asked publishers to nominate others in the industry who dedicate significant time and effort to “doing good.” We received an incredible response – so much so that we’ve limited this article to publishing individuals who “do good” at organizations unaffiliated with their day jobs. Below are some of the stories we heard. For those who wish to make a donation, we’ve listed information about each of the organizations mentioned.

“It was a life changing experience,” Seale Ballenger, Director of Publicity at Harper Entertainment said about his volunteer work at the Tumaini Children’s Home in Kenya this past June. The home, an orphanage for children newborn to five years old with HIV/AIDS, is situated just outside of Mombasa – one of the worst slum areas in the country. Founded in 1997 by Englishwoman Joan Smith (who was inspired to take action after hearing stories of parents abandoning HIV positive infants), Tumaini recently opened new sleeping and eating facilities and a hospice after seven years of preparation.

Although struggling with HIV/AIDS and myriad other health problems, Ballenger said that the kids were eager to learn and to share with the other kids and adults at the home. “The home is a remarkable place, a bright spot of hope in a fairly desolate community. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about it or the children there.” Tumaini is looking to build a school over the next few years as well.

Also in Kenya, Bill Boedeker, Ex-VP of Marketing and Associate Publisher at Little Brown, recently spent a significant amount of time working in schools and orphanages. His experience – which he refers to as “What I Did On My Summer Vacation” – started a year ago when he traveled to South Africa where he visited two orphanages – one for healthy children and one for children with HIV/AIDS and other diseases. At the latter, he was moved when he saw a little boy of about four or five watching Mary Poppins – his favorite movie as a child. Shortly after returning to the states, Boedeker left Little Brown, and decided to return to Africa, happening upon a village south of Nairobi where he volunteered in orphanages and schools helping NGOs. “The country is beautiful, the kids are gorgeous and the poverty is grim,” he said. “You need someone like Bill Gates to move things forward on a macro scale. I mean, I’m just micro micro.” Boedeker is currently raising funds “…I can’t change Kenya, but I can help specific people.”

Back home, bookseller par-excellence Roxanne Coady began the Read to Grow Foundation (www.readtogrow.org) – which promotes literacy by raising money to buy books for children. All of Coady’s royalties from her book, The Book That Changed My Life, will go toward the org. The group’s initial funding came from author luncheons held at R.J. Julia (the very first one, where Peter Jennings spoke about his book, raised $35,000). Then a bank became a founding sponsor, and Read to Grow became a $1 million endeavor – complete with an office, staff, warehouse, van, and 100 volunteers.

Hyperion’s Bob Miller sits on the board of New York City Outward Bound, the first independent urban outward bound center (celebrating its 20th year). The program is currently a full partner in five schools around the city – situated in the poorest and most underserved communities – and is working to establish a network of college-prep public schools as part of the City’s Small Schools Initiative.

“I can’t think of a more important cause than improving public education,” Miller said. “As publishers, we need to do everything possible to grow the next generation of readers, and as New Yorkers, we have a moral obligation to help those in our community whose opportunities are limited.”

When on a trip (“not vacation”) to Burundi this past August, Barbara Lowenstein, of Lowenstein-Yost Associates, met Paul Farmer – founder of the international organization Partners in Health. Farmer, who works with people such as Bill Clinton and Bill and Melinda Gates, and Lowenstein, who has worked on the Hillary and Kerry campaigns, became involved with the Village Health Works (VHW), an organization founded by a Burundi currently pursuing his medical degree in the US, Deo Niyizonkiza.

VHW is in the process of constructing a community health center in the rural village of Kigutu, Burundi. The group has already secured 26 acres of land slated for development, and the village has been extremely active in building the infrastructure for the clinic.

Although Lowenstein has been heavily involved in fundraising activities over the past 25 years, she says that this is the first project she’s ever gotten involved with so thoroughly from the ground up. On November 8, Lowenstein hosted a fundraiser with Farmer, author Tracy Kidder and founder Niyizonkia that raised over $90,000 for the project – enough for more than 100,000 people in the village to receive medical care. Numerous publishing people helped coordinate the event, including CDS Books (now Vanguard) Publisher Roger Cooper, and agents Irene Skolnick and Madeline Morel.

Dan Weiss, Publisher of Barnes & Noble Educational Publishing, is involved with Echoing Green, a non-profit that provides seed capital to social action entrepreneurs.

Weiss became involved with the organization after his daughter interned there a few years ago, and recently joined the board. Every year Echoing Green awards 12 recipients (out of an applicant pool of over a thousand) a fellowship to fund their social action efforts and start up orgs. “We have a 77% sustainability rate,” Weiss said, after five years the organizations are still up and running, often with the fellows still at the helm.

The 2006 fellows include organizations based in Tel Aviv, South Africa, Kenya, India, Guatemala and DC which, for instance, work with engineers in developing countries to establish micro-manufacturing enterprises, which will allow them to produce low cost, environmentally sound infrastructure products such as windmills and water purification systems.

Weiss said that Echoing Green recently published a book entitled Be Bold that targets college and grad students looking for a career path in the field.
The Echoing Green and Be Bold sites have a similar look and feel as SparkNotes.com, but are not professionally affiliated (Weiss did, however, get a bunch of the SparkNotes crew to volunteer their design savvy). Affiliated orgs include: GOOD magazine, NYTimes Job Market, Idealist.org, WK Kellogg Foundation, and City Year.

Bookview, December 2006

PEOPLE

Will Kiester is returning to the US after 18-months in Australia at Murdoch Books, to become Publisher of Fairwinds Press, an imprint of Rockport Publications. Previously, He had been at Quarto.

Kaylee Davis’ position at Bookspan’s Children’s BOMC/KBP was eliminated in a reorganization. The company has decided to focus the club in a more educational direction, and it now will be run by the professional clubs. She may be reached at [email protected]

Effective in January, Basic BooksJoAnn Miller is “transitioning” out of her role of VP, Editorial Director to Editor at Large. Miller approached Perseus CEO David Steinberger with this “about a month ago,” Miller told PT.

Granta will open a New York office next year, according to The Bookseller. Run by Matt Weiland, currently Deputy Editor of Granta magazine (who will also take on the role of Associate Publisher in the US), Granta is published in association with Grove/Atlantic and distributed to the trade by PGW in the US. Weiland is moving back to New York in January 2007, where he will combine his deputy editorship of the magazine with overseeing its American launch and its spin-off anthologies. He will work initially out of the Grove/Atlantic offices before looking to open a separate office.

As announced elsewhere, Katie Workman, Associate Publisher of Workman, will be leaving at the end of the year. Perhaps in another sign of the parlous cookbook times, Chris Pavone is leaving Workman’s Artisan imprint after just over a year at the company. Last month, cookbook maven Harriet Bell left HarperCollins.

After a short stint at Ingram Publisher Services, Sally Hertz has left the company and has gone back into consulting. She may be reached at [email protected] . . . Christine Jones has joined S&S as non-trade Sales Director. . . . John Niedhart joined DK as the B&N National Accounts Sales Manager. He has held editorial positions at O’Reilly Media and Addison Wesley and previously had worked at B&N.

Virgin Books has established a U.S. branch with offices in New York City and Ken Siman has been named Publisher, reporting to K.T. Forster, MD of Virgin Books. Siman was VP, Editor, and Publicity Director of Tarcher/Penguin.

Consortium CEO Don Linn, who bought Consortium in 2002, will continue to play “a key role” in the transition until January 1, when he will leave the company. He may be reached at [email protected]

Farah Miller, Manager of New Media is leaving Knopf for Modern Bride magazine. . . . Laura Quinn, Assistant Director, Domestic Rights at Crown has left the company.

Among the 25 or so Random House sales employees who lost their jobs in the recent cut are Bruce Dasse (203.453.4294), and Marita Yogore, along with reps in the field and sales management people in the New York office.

Diane Reverand has left St. Martin’s after four years there. She may be reached at [email protected] . . and Ben Sevier has left St. Martin’s for Touchstone Fireside, where he is be a senior editor.

In a recent article, PW refers to The Children’s Book Council (CBC)’s new Executive Director, Robin Adelson, who was a former associate general counsel at Primedia Inc. She was hired in September, following the retirement of long time Director, Paula Quint.

Lisa Dolan has been named Executive Director of Special Markets at Abrams (HNA Books). She was previously at Rodale.

Justin Loeber has launched Mouth (www.MouthPublicRelations.com) and has signed several clients, including Simply Green author Danny Seo. . . . Elizabeth Hazelton has left the publicity department of Portfolio and Sentinel to go to Doubleday. . . . HarperCollins Publishers announced Sarah Burningham has been named Associate Director of Publicity for Regan. She reports to Suzanne Wickham, Director of Publicity, and is based in New York. Burningham went to ReganMedia from Miramax Books where she was Associate Director of Publicity.

Following the sale of Trafalgar Square to IPG, Oren Silverstein, the New York rep with Proe & Proe is leaving. He may be reached at [email protected]

PROMOTIONS

Last month Peter Olson announced that Richard Sarnoff, President of Random House’s Corporate Development Group and Random House Ventures LLC, had added responsibilities as head of Bertelsmann‘s newly established international venture capital fund, Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments. Now he’s been named President of BDMI and Ed Volini takes over as President of the Corporate Dev. Group. The New Media department will now be the responsibility of Andrew Weber, SVP, Operations and Technology.

Meanwhile, Random House Direct Marketing will become part of the Publishing Group, and VP GM Lisa Faith Phillips will report to David Naggar.

Alison Callahan has been promoted to Executive Editor at HarperCollins, effective December 1st. She has been at HarperCollins for six years
David Levithan has been promoted to Editorial Director of Scholastic Press, reporting to Ellie Berger, SVP, Publisher. Levithan also will continue to be Editorial Director for PUSH.

Weldon Owen, Inc. co-founder John Owen announced the appointment of Terry Newell as CEO and President of Weldon Owen’s US operations. Owen will remain as CEO of the Weldon Owen Group, with particular responsibilities for growth and future acquisitions. The Group was acquired in March 2006 by the Swedish Bonnier Corp.

UPCOMING EVENTS

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) and the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) are hosting a seminar on Managing and Delivering Digital Assets, on November 29, 2006 from 8:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at AAP, 71 Fifth Avenue, 2nd Floor, New York.

The Small Press Center’s 19th Annual Independent and Small Press Book Fair will be held December 2nd & 3rd, at the Small Press Center. 3,000 to 4,000 attendees are expected, with over 100 independent presses taking part. Go to http://www.smallpress.org, for further information.

The Brooklyn Academy of Music is gearing up for another season of “Eat, Drink and Be Literary.” Presented in partnership with the National Book Foundation, the first writer in the series is Francine Prose on January 11th. Pete Hamill follows on January 25th, and Michael Cunningham is scheduled for February 15th. Tickets include dinner and drinks. For a full listing visit The NBF www.nationalbook.org, or BAM www.bam.org.

DULY NOTED

Word is that the much anticipated Progressive Book Club is gearing to launch in early 2007, with prospective members already signing up. Stayed tuned to http://progressivebookclub.com/

In June 2006, Publishing Trends ran an article on creating a Wikipedia entry. Written by Ann Kirschner (whose book, Sala’s Gift, has just been published: www.salasgift.com), the article was then expanded into a longer piece for The Chronicle of Higher Education. The Chronicle has graciously allowed PT readers to access the article. Go to : http://chronicle.com/free/v53/i13/13b01001.htm

Italians are apparently crazy for him and this year’s Premio Grinzane Cavour Literature Award went to Joe R. Lansdale, “a horror/ mystery/ western/ Texas good ol’ boy writer,” as one observer calls him. Or as Lansdale says on his own website, (www.jrlansdale.com) “The last seven recipients were all Nobel prize award winners, so, y’know, just keep reading and see what happens!” Lansdale’s books are published by Subterranean Press.

Amazon is testing a new mobile phone service, NowNow that allows users to email queries to “live” researchers who will respond within 24 hours. Check out [email protected]

The Digital Agent: What Do Agents Know (or Care) About Marketing & Publicity in the Age of the Internet?

Ann Coulter, contentious as she is, saw page views (and book sales) skyrocket when she launched her website www.anncoulter.com. “A website that’s an instant hit is like having 10 Oprahs at once,” Joni Evans, ex-William Morris agent and Coulter rep said. “It really is the future.”

To better understand agents’ involvement in their authors’ e-lives, PT invited 400 agents to participate in a survey* with questions that ranged from: How often do you read a blog to How do the following platforms raise an author’s value to the publisher? Below are some responses from our online survey and follow-up interviews.

Market Your Books Online!
(But We’re Not Sure If You’ll Sell Any Books)

While virtually all agents (98.1%) encourage their authors to market their books online, some are more optimistic than others about the influence that an online presence and promotion has on sales – most don’t (and don’t know how) to quantify online efforts as they relate to hard revenue.

Wendy Sherman said, “It’s more a place to have in case someone who has read a book wants more information. It’s definitely important, but I can’t know if it sells more books.”

So what should agents be pushing, and what do authors need to do? Carol Fitzgerald, President and Founder of the Book Reporter Network, suggests, “The more interaction with fans without the message being diluted the better. The voice, tone and attitude is the most important – not a commercial message. What works is when the site feels like a personal message written in the same style that the author usually writes in,” she said.
The majority of respondents say it is almost mandatory that their authors have websites (72% found author websites – either static and/or interactive – to be crucial). Jud Laghi, Ex-ICM-er and current agent at LJK Literary Management, said that for authors, “The website is always there. It’s your identity. A book is solid, permanent – it can’t update itself. With a website, you can shift around.” Laghi gave the example of a successful website for the first book he sold – The Hipster Handbook (created by author Robert Lanham) – which, at the height of the site’s popularity in February 2003 was receiving 500,000 hits a day for a month. One of the most buzz-worthy features on the site was an “Are You a Hipster” quiz that was linked to on numerous blogs and websites.

Three-quarters of agents said that they’ve advised at least one author on building an online community of fans – from getting authors to set up a mailing list sign-up on their homepage, to recommending web designers, to MySpace consulting to proffering advice on all things online. Many emphasized the importance of harvesting emails – either through a database of loyal readers, a guest book, email blasts, etc. – which they may or may not share with the publisher (agents were split down the middle, with a slightly higher percentage, 54.9%, saying that they do share).

“In my experience, the key to internet marketing is making sure the author’s and the publisher’s marketing activities are coordinated across all marketing channels and push the online component,” one respondent said. “Sales, publicity, promotion, advertising – all of these things need to mention the book’s or the author’s online presence. This means that as an agent, I try to make my authors and their publishers discuss marketing places several months in advance of a books release, so that each party knows who will be doing what and when.”

The question is, who should be doing what and when? Who is responsible for developing and maintaining an author’s online presence? Agents? Publishers? Authors? Outside firms?

Increasingly, responsibility is falling on authors themselves to create and maintain their online world. John Burke, VP of FSB Associates said that more and more the company is working with authors directly. “For Web publicity projects, the authors account for about 20% of our business, but for Web site development it’s probably about 60%. I think it is a healthy sign that more and more authors are taking the lead when it comes to their online identity.”

At Bookreporter, Fitzgerald estimates that they are approached to design and market author websites 50% of the time by authors and 50% by publishers. She emphasized that the point isn’t to eschew synergy, but instead create a place where the author can connect directly with his or her fans. “Publishers do not want to build and maintain author websites,” she said. “It’s a lot of work to stay on top of, and in the end the author is really the only one who can make it work.”

Fitzgerald has been going out to agencies to explain what services the Bookreporter offers – managing, designing and editing sites. “We show them what we do, tell them about some success stories,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s not just taking out a full page ad,” Fitzgerald said. “You have to see what will work with each author. There’s more needle to the internet.”
For the most part, websites created by third parties are funded by the authors (very occasionally by the publishers, and never by the agents). Respondents held varied opinions as to how much an author website costs, with estimates ranging from under $1,000 to more than $50,000 (see chart below). However, nearly half (40.9%) responded that the annual cost of maintaining a site once it was created to be under $1,000. The majority (66.7%) thought that the person in charge of maintaining the site should be the author him/herself, and that s/he should spend either 1-5 hours per week doing so (41.7%) or 5-10 hours per week (41.7%).

Liza Dawson said that she’s seen a definite increase in how willing authors are to promote themselves and eat the cost. “Essentially, the price will come down. But, authors need to get in the habit of promoting their books all year long. They’re too dependent on publishers. I worry that they’re too passive.”
One respondent gave the example of a bestselling novelist-client who spends well over $100,000 every year on marketing on her own – completely separate from her publisher’s six figure marketing budget.

While not every author can spare thousands out of their own pockets, many are finding innovative ways to come up with the tools they need – friends, family members, that teenager down the street. “Most authors can create their website easily,” Richard Curtis, Agent and Founder of ereader.com said. “With templates, through an old college buddy, it doesn’t need much – just a picture, a bio and some covers. For under $1000 they should be able to create everything they need. I don’t know any authors that aren’t receptive to the idea of creating a web presence. I don’t know anyone who would say, ‘no, manuscript only.’ None are that primitive.”

Publishers do sometimes foot the cost, depending on the project. One book that LJK’s Laghi repped, Why Do Men Have Nipples, didn’t have a website even after massive media coverage and an appearance on the Today Show. “It was when they were doing 75-100,000 reprints a week that the publisher paid for the site – once the momentum justified payment.” Laghi said such an instance is rare, and often publishers will only go as far as registering a domain name. “It’s not up to an agent,” Laghi said. “But it’s in your best interest to make sure your authors are doing their best to succeed. It’s difficult to get people to put money on the table.”

Do Publishers Care About Digital Bells & Whistles?

Although almost half of respondents consider a static author website to be “crucial”, only 28% think that having a site “significantly raises the advance” when submitting manuscripts to a publisher. In fact, most agents responded that many web-based platforms (blogs, chapter excerpts, online columns, wikis, interactive author sites) matter little, or do not matter at all to publishers when agents are pitching a book.

Still, some agents help their authors to build some sort of web- based platform before putting a book up for auction. “As soon as I mention a name to an editor, I can hear the editor’s fingers clicking away at the keys,” Curtis said. “And I know that they’re Googling the name, looking at their Amazon ranking, etc.” Curtis said that he now routinely invites publishers to “click and bid” on the “web-based pitches” he sends them – a digital “visual package” that includes author website links and videos among other things – allowing publishers to simply click a link, see the necessary information, and bid in an instant.

Although Curtis said that all authors should have a website – as it is key to identifying and locating an author online – he has nothing against a static site. “All of those bells and whistles don’t necessarily enhance a publisher’s appreciation of an author. The minimum should be a static site as long as it’s colorful and informative.” Videos, for example, aren’t necessary for every book. But for the high-profile books where the Curtis Agency has pulled out all of the stops, the effort has resulted in good sales.

In addition to whether web efforts by the agent up the selling price, PT asked whether a publisher’s internet marketing strategy was a consideration when submitting a project. Most agents were on the fence with similar numbers saying that it wasn’t a factor at all, 14%, and that it was a high priority, 12%, (the majority of respondents, 57%, said it was a factor only sometimes or rarely).

Agency Websites

The majority of agents (80.4%) have agency websites, and many more are in the process of developing one. Some, like the Wylie Agency are minimalist, with no cover thumbnails, and an unlinked list of clients. Others, like LJK’s site are extensive and easy-to-navigate with PDF submissions guidelines, agent information, author and title info with large cover thumbnails with click-thru to multiple etailers, and numerous outbound and internal links.

Laghi, the point person at LJK when the agency designed their website this year, said, “We wanted to have information on the site,” so that if, for instance, “someone Googles The Expected One, they can see rights information quickly – who the co-agent is, etc.”

Just as with author websites, Fitzgerald said that the features of successful agent websites vary depending on the agency, their client list, and who they are hoping to attract to the site. Cover thumbnails are great for example, but not always necessary. Linking to online retailers is always good (“the click should always be there so as not to lose a sale”) – but both agents and authors should always include more options that just Amazon. And, of course, there are the numerous consumers who still browse online and purchase in stores. (The Bookreporter now offers a text only print out/shopping list of books that readers can take to the store with them.)

While 97% of respondents claim to feature authors on their website, in interviews (and through a survey of agent websites) it seems that the percentage is actually lower – perhaps around 65-75%. Almost half of respondents claimed that they offer links to buy authors’ titles from their site – a number that again seems high, perhaps a product of the sample demographic, or a misunderstanding of the nature of the link. (On further investigation, we found that many sites may offer links to author pages which in turn link to etailers, but that only about a quarter of agent sites link directly).

Agents, authors and publishers are still trying to figure out what each brings to the party, defining an refining their approach.

“Finally our business is doing more than playing catch up,” Bob Mecoy, of Creative Book Services, said. “We’re throwing money, brain cells and sweat at the issue, and we hope that we’ll see truly effective strategies. Still, I haven’t seen anyone who’s found the basic mix that’s repeatable yet. That’s when we’ll know that it works – when it can be spread across a category, a line, a profile.”