16 Tips for Steering Your Company Through an Evolving Industry
We’ve really had only two books this year that enjoyed that kind of extended selling season: “Real Change” by Newt Gingrich and “The Case Against Barack Obama” by David Freddoso. Newt really nailed it when he focused his message on change. Our book came out in January, the perfect time and the perfect author to target the central theme of the primary season. Then in August, of course, we released “The Case Against Barack Obama,” and again met the marketplace exactly where it was: hungry for hard-hitting, investigative reporting on the political life of Barack Obama, after so much attention had been paid to the horse race between him and Hillary [Clinton]. But that kind of timing is hard to do, and the pressure to have something new every week is intense.
At the same time, we have to project ourselves beyond the election, and try to predict what people will be worried about, and interested in, after the election, with a brand new administration.
12. Know how to cut back during tough times.
It’s a pretty good bet that the economic and political climate in 2009 will continue to be uncertain. The recent turmoil in financial markets and the general uncertainty for the future of the economy have certainly prompted us to be very careful about the risks of over-shipping books or over-spending on discretionary items.
13. Limit your scope, and do what you do well.
Particularly in times of uncertainty, I think one of the best ways for publishers to improve their success is to focus on what they do best. It’s tempting to try and capture new markets and conquer new frontiers, but at Regnery, we have become highly successful by sticking to what we know. For us, that means publishing current-events books for right-of-center readers. When we stray too far from that mission, we often strike out. But when we focus on what we are good at, we have a lot of hits, and some real home runs. When I meet independent publishers and ask, “What do you do?” I hate to hear, “We publish a little bit of everything.” Because I think that’s a recipe for way too much lost time and money. It’s hard enough to be successful at what you know! I recommend you ask yourself: Who are my readers, and what do they care about? This, more often than not, will lead you to a successful book idea.