Jason and I have had a few conversations about branding Apex Book Company that have resulted in a few, very positive changes. I reminded him that as a small press publisher he can really dig in and give something to his readers in a way that some larger publishers can’t.
You see, Jason has a valuable asset that he brings to the company: his heart. He truly loves and cares about his business because he’s very passionate about the stories he’s selling and the authors he’s promoting. While some businesses can afford to be more formal, I felt that Jason could not due to the size of his staff and the personalities of the people who help him.
Although there’s a lot of love here, the core business has to be soluble so he can strengthen his bottom line and grow the business. So Jason has an interesting challenge. How does he encourage people to buy without ramming his products down their throat?
So far, a number of business-facing changes we’ve discussed have occurred to achieve that goal.
+ Offer lower price-point products for e-readers (Alien Shots)
+ Set basic guidelines for bloggers to sharpen the overall focus and keyword market
+ Erase charity term “support” from terminology
+ Set monthly goals for subscriptions and internally express those
+ Tweak website to make it easier to navigate
+ Discuss internal rewards program for volunteers/interns
After two weeks, Jason is hearing excellent feedback and is already starting to see things move in a positive direction. The best part about all of this, is that Jason doesn’t have to do anything he feels uncomfortable with. In other words: my advice has been based on what he already had, not with what I think he should have.
Last week, he wrote an excellent post about Dru Pagliassoti talking about her new book release An Agreement With Hell. He’s still doing all the other things a publisher has to do to spread the word, but this? This is the type of publisher I’d want in my corner.
Check out his introduction:
The first time I met Dru Pagliassotti, she rejected me.
To clarify, this was years ago when I was a naive writer-wannabe (as opposed, you know, to now) and was cranking out crap short stories and shooting them off to publications without much thought or peer input. Good grief, I look back at those early submissions and cringe. Especially after running a short fiction magazine in some shape or form for the past 6+ years. But here I am making this about me when this is about Dru. –SOURCE: Dru Pagliassotti and Me
He then goes on to talk about Dru, her work and what he feels about it. The relationships that he’s building. The way he cares about books.
This type of messaging is what will permeate throughout the year in everything Apex does. While its readership will change, its core focus will be on highlighting and fostering relationships to strengthen its customer base and allow its dedicated cabal of readers and fans to grow.