“Think about it this way. If you had told every museum and law firm in 1995 that they needed a web page, many would have wondered “what for?” If you had told them in 2005 that they needed a Facebook presence or in 2008 that they needed a Twitter stream, they would have wondered why. We’ve reached the moment when they all need a publishing strategy, and that will be as obvious to all these entities in a year or two as web pages, Facebook pages, and Twitter streams look now.” --Mike Shatzkin, Atomization: publishing as a function rather than an industry
Book Publishing Services that Market, Brand, and Inspire
Orange Frazer Press is a publishing partner to a new industry
Wherever you turn these days, you will find another business blogger singing the praises of publishing. And this is not publishing as it once was, a gatekeeper model designed to separate the wheat from the chaff, but an evolving and fluid term applied to individuals, enterprises, nonprofits, and more, which enter the publishing arena with digital or physical books. As publishing becomes a tool accessible to many, the “atomization” of publishing is already happening. Businesses and institutions are now becoming “publishers,” disrupting an industry already in turmoil over e-book self-publishing. However, it is a disruption that Orange Frazer has been prepared for, one that allows us even greater opportunity to embrace custom book publishing partnerships with businesses, institutions, and individuals.
But from many bloggers and thought leaders, the prescribed route has been DIY. Thought leaders generally advise a self-directed approach, suggesting you hire on an editor, designer, etc., start with an e-book, and learn the business yourself. Even in recognizing the pitfalls of this approach, they generally compare DIY to traditional publishing, leaving out the wealth of options in between or generalizing these options, lumping all author services companies together with mega-companies like iUnivere and Xlibris (see our past post about the dangers of these companies and self-publishing models here). Thus, in this line of thought, it’s either go the gatekeeper model or master the details of digital files, print specs, conversions, warehousing, shipping, etc. and distribute your book like a business card.
However, we’ve been in the business long enough (twenty-six years) to see where the DIY approach breaks down, where it becomes cumbersome and upsetting, and where, unfortunately, it leaves many overwhelmed and resigned.
Why even self-publishing needs publishers
What is EPUB? What is your comfort with CSS? What is the primary e-book distribution channel for libraries? What about the proper margins for a print book? Photo resolution? Bindings and paper weights? The publishing and printing industries are fraught with insider jargon and necessary expertise. Publishers are publishers because they have every last detail perfected, the process streamlined, the creative process specialized. We employ the best photographers, writers, editors, printers, proofers, and many, many more. There are a number of seemingly invisible decisions that must be made throughout the process, and frankly, having spent over a quarter century perfecting our process, we know that we do it well. It can be incredibly time-consuming to teach yourself this process, and for many businesses and institutions, it’s just not time you have, as you are too busy being the best in your own industry.
Publishing partners: custom publishing as a solution for forward-thinking businesses
Publishing partnerships are emerging as a progressive, collaborative process that has the ability to bring the best books to market for each business. In fact, The Economist announced last week that it will be partnering with PublicAffairs to publish ten books annually, entering into the publishing world with an experienced partner.
At Orange Frazer, we took note of this industry shift about two decades ago. We were commissioned by the Iams Corporation in the ’90s to create custom materials for veterinarians all over the world. It had a hefty amount of research that needed published, and it needed a small and versatile publisher to take it on, one willing to have a personal relationship with it, that could make the creative process as iterative as possible. We became that company, entering into a world that still lacked a name or definition. Our publisher, Marcy Hawley, decided one day to call it custom publishing, because we felt that the books we were able to create for our clients were truly one-of-a-kind, as template-irreverent and perfect as possible. We knew that as custom book publishers, we could take on the needs of businesses, nonprofits, educational institutions, and others to create professional, branded, and inspiring products for a new generation of businesses.
For those forward-thinking institutions ready to take on publishing, check out our website for custom publishing options, or shoot me an email at custom[email protected]. And check back here for more in this series.