My Mission Possible: Making Publishing Author-Centric
Posted on January 1, 2012
As told to Jennifer Eberbach
“Before starting my book publishing companies Bee Squared Publishing and Post Mortem Press, I investigated the self-publishing world and small presses because I wanted to self-publish my own book. What I discovered is that many ‘vanity presses’ require authors to print large quantities and pay in bulk. Why choose this route when you can print on demand at a lower cost?
“When I published one of my KAMs, I realized how simple it could be. Walden gave me the tools I needed to launch my own publishing company. I leveraged what I learned in my M.B.A. courses, along with skills from my 20-year career in market research, to develop a business model for a self-publishing press. My model is designed to empower authors and give them an instant return on their investment.
“First, I launched Bee Squared Publishing, a self-publishing imprint for business, academic, and nonfiction works. Next came Post Mortem Press, which publishes fiction and novels. It is different from Bee Squared because it isn’t a self-publishing house. We filter what we publish. Despite their differences, both imprints run on what I like to think of as an author-centric business philosophy.
“During my time in corporate America, I worked in outsourcing. One thing I learned is that many first-line managers are ill-prepared to handle the outsourcing of their teams. As an M.B.A. student at Walden, it struck me—this is where I can add value to my company. I started writing a book about helping managers handle the change.
“In the process of researching ways to self-publish my book, I learned that some of the big-name self-publishing houses literally take thousands of dollars from clients and in return offer very little, sometimes only a single free copy and the right to purchase more at a minimal discount. I found such practices distasteful. That is exactly why I created my own model.
“Bee Squared’s self-publishing model balances out authors’ initial investments by providing them with enough books to recoup their initial expenses. It’s an unusual industry practice.
“I’ve discovered that the business model I developed could be applied to school fundraising as well. I plan to launch a third imprint in 2012. Its working title is Teacher’s Pet. I have six children, so you can probably imagine the number of PTA fundraisers I’ve attended. Think about it. What would grandparents rather buy: a book that features their grandchild’s story or a box of chocolates?
“Self-publishing should offer authors an instant return on their investments. That’s how my models work. That is my micro-level of social change.”
Eric Beebe, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) alumnus, launched self-publishing press Bee Squared Publishing and fiction imprint Post Mortem Press in 2010.
Tell us about your Mission Possible at myWaldenImpact@waldenu.edu.