Professional advice for book publishing

Book publishing can be overwhelming, especially if you’re new to it. There is so much to learn! There are so many options! So many pitfalls! You can lose so much time and money along the way.

Before you go any further, get independent, expert advice in a one-hour consultation with me. We’ll talk through your project in detail, and get you on the right track to achieve your aims.

I’ve been working with authors and publishers for over 25 years. I run Electric Book Works, which manages world-class publishing projects for organizations. My private, one-on-one consultations are something different: they are for people who can’t afford to hire a studio like mine, but do need some expert advice.

Note: I don’t provide input on your story or your content. I can refer you to reviewers and coaches for that, if you need it. We’ll focus on how you’re going to turn your idea into a beautiful book that others can read.

A one-hour consultation over Zoom costs $60 (USD). To make a booking, email book@arthurattwell.com.

Is strategic publishing the industry’s fastest growing sector?

Over at Electric Book Works, we’ve been working on a range of fascinating publishing projects, and they all have something in common: they are great examples of strategic publishing.

I’ve been speaking and writing a lot about strategic publishing recently. In short, it is publishing for strategic reasons, as opposed to commercial reasons. And I reckon it’s the fastest-growing sector in the book-making industry.

If you’re a publishing company like Pearson or Penguin, publishing is your business, and you measure success in book sales. You’re publishing for commercial reasons, not strategic ones.

On the other hand, if you’re a non-profit like CORE Economics, you measure success in other ways, like the number of universities adopting your textbooks. And publishing those textbooks is part of your strategy for changing how economics is taught, and changing the way that economists think.

Why is it useful to distinguish between strategic and commercial publishing?

Firstly, it’s useful to put a name to this valuable strategic tool. That way, organisations can more easily add it to their discussions and plans.

Secondly, for us book-makers, strategic publishing has very different dynamics to commercial publishing. And we must be careful not to apply the tools and trappings of commercial publishing to it. For example, the way we cost projects, and measure return on investment, is very different. Publishing to the open web also becomes a much higher priority, which changes the tools and skills we want on a project.

Strategic publishing has always existed, usually as an innovative exception to the commercial-publishing norm. As publishing costs drop, service providers learn new skills, and the web becomes more central to all our lives, I expect that we’ll see it grow into a distinct, recognised field within publishing. In publishing-studies departments, for example, we’ll see teachers and researchers exploring its particular dynamics.

I’ve written more on strategic publishing on the Electric Book Works site:

On Wednesdays in November (and perhaps beyond) I’ll be hosting weekly Conversations in Strategic Publishing: a casual Zoom call for anyone interested in this field. Get the details here.