Behind the Scenes With Jan Pogue, Publisher of the Recent National Hit 'Morning Glory Farm'
Extra: What sort of marketing has Vineyard Stories been doing for this book and has the marketing strategy changed as the book has gained popularity?
Pogue: … I always market my books pretty heavily. But I only market to New England. ... I use New England Independent [Booksellers] Association heavily … . ... [NEIBA] puts me in touch with the independent bookstores that buy a lot of books. I also build marketing lists; in this case, the marketing is to the slow-food movement, to other sustainable farms, to sustainable farming organizations, to organic farming organizations. ... I send ... direct mail or direct e-mail. ... I'm totally confused about the Facebook, Twitter issue. ... In the same way as the distribution question, it's a chicken-and-egg [question]. How much money does it take to sell a book? If it takes more money to sell a book than you can make selling that book, then you can't go to another marketing [strategy]. ... You have to keep on that [original marketing] plan until you really believe that new efforts at marketing are going to serve rather than take away.
Extra: How is Vineyard Stories surviving the economic climate as a small publisher? What are your biggest challenges right now?
Pogue: I'm doing great, but I think small is the operative word there. ... My biggest challenge? Finding good books. ... There seems to be an insatiable desire for what I'm putting out. ... People love to know about Martha's Vineyard. They love to know the offbeat things about Martha's Vineyard; the true Martha's Vineyard; the sexy Martha's Vineyard; and the Cape, as well. ... Again, it's staying true to what you believe you're supposed to be. If I get all puffed up and start thinking, "Whoa, look at this book. Wow, I'm a national publisher," then I'm going to lose my company. I may have a national book, but I'm still a niche publisher. And I have to recognize that, and accept it and enjoy it. I mean, heck, what I do is a lot of fun. And I'm not sure that anybody at Simon & Schuster, at this point in their lives, would be saying it's a lot of fun.