I’m always surprised by the book-centric orientation of most nonfiction authors. With rare exceptions, authors view each title as a unique creative project.
This overlooks the numerous benefits of creating a brand, for their books.
An individual title requires more research and more marketing. That’s because each new book must establish a fresh brand. But, when new titles are added to a series, the new title will contribute to sales of the earlier books and presell new books as they are added..
Arcadia Publishing is one of the best examples of a book publisher who has taken the series concept further than anyone else. As an outsider, I wanted to share some of their procedures
Note, however, series publishing as described below, is not a universal solution to nonfiction publishing. Yes, it replaces a lot of the planning and writing tasks that authors must perform. However, it replaces them with a heavier burden of management and logistical tasks,
As always, “Your mileage may differ.”
There are over 1,000 categories of Arcadia books. Typical categories and the number of titles in the category follow.:
- Images of America (8,355 titles)
- Images of Rail (268 titles)
- Postcard History (807 titles)
- American History (207 titles)
- Images of Baseball) (142 titles)
- American Chronicles (34) titles)
The magic of the multiple, focus series is that each series appeals to its own army of devoted readers. (For example, I have 73 books in the Images of Rail series.)
Efficient production keeps prices low
Not only are Arcadia’s books affordable to their intended market, but their affordable prices makes them attractive gifts, certain to please. Depending on the year they were published, the titles range from $19.95 to $23.95.
Here are some of the ways that Arcadia Publishing keeps prices by reducing staff decisions:
- Arcadia Publishing’s books are the same size, 6 inches wide by 9 inches high.
- Page counts: 128, 144, 160.
- Identical single-color on the covers contribute to a strong brand when when placed in a reader’s bookcase.
- Templates for the front and back covers, the inside pages, and photo location, (possibly turning the layout tasks over to the author.)
Needless, standardization of supply purchases means the ability to buy in greater volume, keeping prices reasonable.
Clearly, the transition from author to publishing entrepreneur isn’t for everyone. But Wait! You don’t have to be adopted on an “all or nothing” basis.
By monitoring what successful publishers (corporate and solopreneur’s) are doing, you may be able to locate a single idea that may pay big returns in the future.
Roger C. Parker’s first book, Looking Good in Print: A Guide to Basic Design for Desktop Publishing played a major role in the growth in the desktop publishing around the world. 40 books, premium books, and thousands of clients large and small followed.
If you like this blog post, you’ll love this book: The Nonfiction Book Publishing Plan by Nonfiction Authors Association CEO Stephanie Chandler!