Behind the Scenes With Jan Pogue, Publisher of the Recent National Hit 'Morning Glory Farm'
Small publishers who expand too quickly sometimes watch their businesses deflate, says Jan Pogue, editor and publisher of Edgartown, Mass.-based Vineyard Stories. That's why she's not going to let the success of her latest book, "Morning Glory Farm: And the Family That Feeds an Island" by Tom Dunlop—a nonfiction title about a local, sustainable, family-owned farm—make her think that she's anything other than a niche publisher.
Nevermind that Pogue knows that First Lady Michelle Obama owns "Morning Glory Farm" and is coming to Martha's Vineyard with her family at the end of August. Nevermind that the book already has sold 6,000 copies since it hit shelves May 21. And nevermind that she's already had 500 copies airlifted in from her printer in China, and 5,500 more are taking the ocean route to arrive Sept. 7.
No, none of this will go to her head, Pogue says. She is what she is—the publisher of "beautiful books about Martha's Vineyard and Cape Cod." Here, she reveals to Book Business Extra the story behind her recent success and staying true to her company's mission:
Book Business Extra: Why do you think this particular title, "Morning Glory Farm," is selling so well?
Jan Pogue: It's a very beloved business, both on and off the Vineyard. And obviously, [sustainable farming] is a very timely subject. [Also,] Martha's Vineyard's connection to the world ... covers a pretty big footprint. So whenever we have visitors from, [for example], L.A., who come here on a regular basis [and] who go to Morning Glory—because everybody ends up at Morning Glory, everybody—they see the book, they buy the book, they take the book home, and they're showing it around. So then I get orders from there. ...
Extra: Why did Vineyard Stories decide to print overseas? How did you select the printer?
Pogue: I've learned in about 20 years of working on and off with books that right now ... the quality, the price, is in China. ... My process is [that] I will bid to three or four printers. I will try to bid in the United States. I will try to bid in Canada. ... I've used this company, which is Asia Pacific Offset, for four books. I've used them only for what I call the "art books" ... because I knew the quality of the photographs was going to be so high that I was going to have to make sure my printer would match that in ink. When you try to transfer from photo to ink, you lose a lot of resolution sometimes.