Lantern Books Exec ‘Cynically Optimistic’ About the Future
Martin Rowe labels his view of the book business “cynically optimistic.” The director of publishing for Lantern Books, a relatively small, independent publisher of spiritual, social, environmental and animal advocacy titles, Rowe draws upon a diverse career that has led to his well-rounded view of the business of book publishing. And this view, he says, is changing as rapidly as the industry itself.
Prior to co-founding New York-based Lantern Books with the company’s CEO and president, Gene Gollogly, Rowe held positions in distribution, research and promotions, as an author, and in a handful of other roles that even included a job in a bookstore. Today, Rowe directs his eight-year-old company—which has published approximately 140 titles—in a number of functions, not the least of which is its marketing and promotion initiatives. In this month’s “Marketing Interview,” he lends his perspective as an independent publisher on marketing in today’s rapidly changing publishing climate.
Can you take us through your diverse background in book publishing prior to co-founding Lantern Books?
Martin Rowe: I’d been working all around in the book business. … I [became familiar with the work of] my current colleague and co-owner of Lantern, Gene Gollogly, who worked at Continuum Publishing. I wrote him a letter … and said anyone who publishes books like [the ones he was publishing], I’d like to work for. He found a job for me as a promotion manager. …
I decided to set up my own company in 1999 publishing work that I was interested in, which was vegetarianism, animal advocacy, spirituality, social issues, nonviolence issues, etc. And Gene came with me. So we have a company that publishes books and one that produces Web sites, Lantern Media, and we have been making a go of it ever since.
What is the most significant change you’ve witnessed in book marketing over the years?