BEGIN WITH THE END
BOOST YOUR NON-DUES REVENUE WITH
A WELL-PLANNED AND EXECUTED ENTRY
INTO THE BOOK PUBLISHING SECTOR.
BY BRIAN F. O’LEARY
So, you and your association want to succeed in book publishing.
Apparently, enough SNAP members do,
as this was the title of a popular session at
SNAP’s Association Publishing 2008 conference in Washington, DC. Presented by
Lori Woehrle of The Council for
Advancement and Support of Education
(CASE); Len Mafrica of the Oncology
Nursing Society’s (ONS); and Katie
Robert of the American Industrial Hygiene
Association (AIHA), the session addressed
the book publishing cycle and provided
specific advice for associations considering
books as a way to grow non-dues revenue.
you want to publish
Con tracts and
MANAGE YOUR EXPECTATIONS
Whether your association is thinking
about launching a new book program or
revitalizing your legacy publishing efforts,
CASE’s Lori Woehrle has one piece of
advice: “Begin with the end in mind.”
And what might your “end” be?
Woehrle explained that publishing programs usually serve one or more of three
goals: ( 1) opportunities to generate incremental revenues and profits; ( 2) branding
an association; and ( 3) informing a profession. “Setting priorities among these
options is critical to book publishing success,” she said.
As CASE’s director of books publishing,
Woehrle shared this advice: “Start with a
look at your association’s mission, and
then work with your colleagues to establish a consensus about what matters
most—both at the outset and as part of
any periodic reviews.”
ONS’s Mafrica agreed with Woehrle
about the importance of setting specific
goals. As publisher and executive director
of a for-profit subsidiary at his organization, Mafrica spoke about setting realistic
goals for outcomes, as well as the invest-
get the book
SOURCE: LEN MAFRICA,
ONCOLOGY NURSING SOCIETY
ments required to reach those goals.
While a large investment to start and
maintain a book publishing program is
unnecessary, Mafrica pointed out that
associations should be comfortable with
investing first and waiting patiently for
the financial return to come later.
“Knowing your publishing goals helps
you make the case for the resources you’ll
need to be successful,” he said. “Frame
your program using the outcomes that
matter to your board: revenue, branding,
or professional development.”
In terms of return on investment,
Mafrica told attendees that it is helpful to
think of book publishing as a cycle (see
figure above). “It starts when you decide
what books you want to publish. After
that, you strike deals with authors, work
with your authors to get the books written, and assemble the books—either on
your own or through third parties.
“From there, you’ll produce copies of
each title, then promote and sell the books
on your list,” he explained. “It can take up
to two years or more before you start seeing revenues, and even then, you’ll need to
continue to acquire new titles and update
existing ones. That’s why managing expectations from the start is so important.”
HOW MANY IS TOO MANY?
Often, associations have a challenge
determining how many books they can
sell—especially those just starting a book
publishing program. “Keep in mind that
association relationships help sell books,”
counseled AIHA’s Katie Robert.
As her organization’s manager of product development, Robert addressed the
issue of determining how many books to
print. “Trying to establish the size of your