This is the sort of thing you will often not hear about the internal workins of a company, or in this case of the owner of a company. I’m going to try to answer the question of why I added this imprint to my company’s line.
Before I go into the rest of the reasons, let me admit that there is always an element of “it’s going to make money” in such a decision for any for-profit company, and that’s true here as well. But in this case, I needed more than that, because there are lots of companies that are making money by charging authors to publish their works.
I would need to be convinced of two things:
- That I could make enough money in this area to make it worthwhile. Energion Publications is small, and I need projects to work, and work well.
- That this imprint would be consistent with my mission for Energion Publications.
In answer to the first question I discovered a need for more flexible publishing arrangements. Certainly companies that will take your money and publish your book are quite common, but generally you need to be prepared to get the book ready to go. A number of friends told me horror stories of the quality of editorial and marketing work provided.
This suggested to me that there was a possible place in the market for a new player. With several friends, including some with books–and checkbooks–in hand, all encouraging me to take this step, I did.
They wanted a number of things:
- Very flexible program, with options for marketing, graphics, flexible cover design, and so forth. Well, to be accurate, they didn’t mention “options.” They just said they wanted all those things. I realized that not everyone would want them, and thus called them options.
- No pressure. That’s it. These friends wanted me to give it to them straight so they could make intelligent decisions. I did give it to them straight, and some of them will make other choices in publishing, and will remain my friends. Really!
- Regular personal contact and explanation. Everyone wanted to have someone who could go over options all along the way.
To these I added one requirement of my own: I will not publish something I can’t recommend to customers. I’m not going to simply process the words, the pages, and a cover, and then shrug my shoulders and say, “Well, the author paid me” as an excuse for the content. I don’t mean that I have to agree. I might even disagree vigorously. But the content must be of a quality that makes it worthwhile for people read and study.
It was this last point that led to the term “team publishing.” It sounds lots better than “paid publishing” or “vanity press,” doesn’t it? I maintain that it not only sounds better; it is better.
What “team publishing” means to me is that I get on board with the author on a work that I might not publish otherwise, but that I do think offers value to an appropriate market. It might be niche market book. It might be a fund raising project. It might be a scholar’s work. It might be a book by someone who simply doesn’t want to wait until I can dedicate capital to the project, and can’t find another publisher.
For any one of those reasons, an author might choose team publishing. What that means is that if you are an author, your book will be in a catalog of books that are quality products. For dealers or customers it means you can buy with confidence.
I chose to start this imprint with the book The Messiah and His Kingdom to Come: A Biblical Road Map. So why did this book qualify for team publishing?
- It’s complex, limiting the audience. As I’ve worked on it, I’ve come to believe the audience is larger than I first imagined, but it still will be tough to market. We’re going to work with the author to make it a success.
- It’s complex–making it more difficult and more expensive to produce than any book in our catalog.
- It isn’t precisely in the center of our mission statement, but it is consistent with it.
On the other hand, it represents some very hard work. While the author’s viewpoint isn’t common in mainline churches, he is consistent in following the methods and assumptions he lays out. He is also thorough enough that you can derive enormous value from his charts and references even if you disagree with some of his conclusions.
Thus I have felt that I can really be on a team with Bob Makar in producing and publishing his new book. He has pioneered the method that others can now use. In addition, we will soon have copies of his book in color and black and white so that people can see what can be accomplished.
I think EnerPower Press is off to a good start as an imprint. Look around and see what you think.