Winning Teams = Winning Titles
Champaign, Ill.-based Sports Publishing LLC got its start in 1998 as a spin-off from Sagamore Publishing—publisher of parks, recreation and leisure textbooks—when the company published a biography of University of Illinois men’s basketball coach Lou Henson, a legend among basketball fans throughout the Midwest. The book was an instant hit, and a new company was born. Today, Sports Publishing puts out 80 titles annually, spanning college and professional teams and star athletes in almost a dozen sports.
As vice president of sales and marketing, Dave Hulsey has been in sales and marketing since graduating from the University of Missouri in 1981. His career in the book publishing industry spans the past 12 years, including stints with Macmillan Publishing, Chronicle Books and Prima Publishing. He joined Sports Publishing two years ago and says he’s been very impressed with the publisher’s ability to develop programs to reach its target consumers and to develop, print and sell what he calls “instant books”—books chronicling a championship team’s season that are available in bookstores just seven days after the championship game. Book Business spoke with Hulsey about the sports book market and his own experiences in the book publishing industry.
Can you give us a sense of your responsibilities on both a day-to-day and “big-picture” basis?
Dave Hulsey: … My job starts even before our books are acquired. I continually meet with the acquisitions department to review potential new titles and authors. As the books are acquired, we work with the editors and graphic designers to develop the cover that will properly reflect the contents of the book and draw customer attention.
Prior to release, we work with the authors to develop a program that includes events, media coverage and promotions for the retailers. Each book’s marketing budget is based on its anticipated sales and revenue. … On a daily basis, we work on maximizing exposure to the book. That includes contacting potential retailers for events, following up on prior events, scheduling interviews and following up on book reviews. Since we are a smaller press, the marketing managers also track shipments to events and design promotional materials. …