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Walden Magazine // Jan 01, 2012

My Mission Possible: Making Publishing Author-Centric

Self-publishing can empower authors, says Eric Beebe ’07. He plans to give the industry—and its business practices—a makeover through Bee Squared Publishing.

Eric Beebe

“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 [email protected].