Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Monday Morning Meeting and More

Today, us Savas Beatie employees met and filled each other in on what we’ll be working on this week. I gleaned some interesting information and thought I’d share it with you:

  • Apparently galleys—advanced paperback copies of books for reviewers—are more expensive to print than final hardcover versions. Galleys cost about twice what it cost to print a final book, per unit. Shouldn’t polished versions of books cost more than quick advanced copies? I asked Ted and he filled me in on the publishing reality:

Very few galleys are printed, but it still takes a long time to set up the printer. On the other hand, final versions of books take far less set-up time in relation to how many are printed. Thus, galleys have a higher individual unit cost. Ted also mentioned that galleys need a different kind of printer. He said something about toner and the ink in galleys vs. the ink in normal books, but I didn’t understand it completely. He then explained that galleys are just “high-quality copying,” while the ink in normal books seeps into the pages (forgive me if I’m getting some of this wrong, but I think I’m on the right track).

  • After our morning meeting I heard Tammy and Sarah discussing Fed Ex prices to get a copy of Flying Drunk over-nighted to a prominent news network. More on that on Wednesday.

  • Did you know that almost 200,000 books are published each year in the U.S.? However, publishing companies only put time and money into marketing for 5-10% of them (they don’t schedule book signings/tours for most of their authors, which I was surprised to learn). The average book in America only sells a couple thousand copies, if that. If a book reaches about 7-8 thousand sold copies at a large publishing house, they determine that the book has potential, and the company will “counter attack” and “pour in their reserves” to help the book sell (the quotes are Ted’s words; he explained the marketing process to me this morning, apparently in Civil War terms). Savas Beatie follows a similar philosophy, and will do so even more as they continue to grow.

Our effort matches that of the author. If an author works to promote his/her book (by speaking at events, doing book signings, etc.), we put energy into marketing the book as well. And if a book does well on its own, Savas Beatie does what it can to help the book do better. If an author works hard, book sales will typically follow. If not, they won’t.

I think I’ve left you with enough to mull over for now. Check back on Wednesday to learn more about Savas Beatie’s other intern: Alex Savas.

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