Publishing Services Overview
Publishing Services offers marketing services for smaller publishers as well as the whole range of publishing services for media-friendly authors. Our main areas are general non-fiction/fiction and trade niche areas. In Spring 2008 I held a series of seminars at the Society of Authors - on how authors might work with their publishers to maximise sales.
All sales and media lists are prepared in-house rather than being bought in and include over 1,000 bookshops, over 1,000 bookgroups and festivals, and several thousand general media contacts, across print, radio, television and the internet.
Other categories include scouts, subagents, overseas publishers, freelancers and suppliers.
All lists include email addresses and are not bought in.
We work in association with Signature Books Services and Central Books for UK sales and distribution respectively, unless agreed otherwise. Publishing Services maintains a ‘virtual' office of assistants and third-party suppliers, whose services are available to clients at cost.
Core sales & marketing services
- Preparing sales & marketing material in association with the author and/or publisher (AIs, press releases, ‘About the Author' etc)
- Preparing individual title marketing plans
- Implementing publicity campaigns (radio, television, press, internet, events, promotions)
- Liaising with the repforce about dues, sales and publicity
These vary according to the needs of the publisher and include:
- Rights submissions
- Website advice
- Feedback on cover and inside-page design, editing, format, price and timing
- Setting up systems – eg costings, production schedules, contracts
- Mail-order sales
Our guiding principle is that marketing is not bolt-on – ie editing, production, timing all feed into the process. Finally, our aim is to increase clients' turnover rather than take on more and more lists.
The Publishing Services Team
Click on the relevant line for more information about Publishing Services and associates.
Susanne McDadd (founder Publishing Services)
Central Books (distribution)
Charles Lumsden (finance/strategy)
About Susanne McDadd
Founder Susanne McDadd is a former non-fiction Director of Faber and Faber and Managing Director of Metro Publishing (now owned by John Blake).
‘My background is in trade publishing – Michael Joseph, Harrap (bought by W. H. Allen, part of Virgin), Faber and Faber and Metro.
I started as Editorial Assistant in Michael Joseph's school of 1985. This involved the usual stint with the slush pile, then proofreading, copyediting and writing blurbs. Later, at Harrap, I found my niche in commissioning and editing. Eric Dobby was the then MD, whose independent approach to publishing was an important influence.
After Harrap was acquired by W.H. Allen we had a brief honeymoon period with MD Tim Hailstone, until corporate policies resulted in imprints being cut or merged and over half of us made redundant. Robert McCrum offered me a commissioning lifeline at Faber. This was an exciting period, although – in the gladiatorial atmosphere of the Matthew Evans/ Robert McCrum/Joanna Mackle days – frustration and stimulation were sometimes present in equal measure!
A position on the Board at Faber led to an interest in publishing as a business. I undertook a part-time MBA at London Business School where by careful selection of marketing options I scraped a distinction, then became a founder/minority shareholder of the start-up publisher Metro.
Metro established a reputation for innovative marketing and built turnover to £1 million within a few years. After its distributor Biblios went into receivership, Metro undertook a CVA and was sold as a going concern to John Blake. The underlying strength of the business is reflected by the fact that it is now a profitable company.
Although interesting in the Chinese sense, the Metro experience was useful in reinforcing the importance of culture, financial structure and of getting the various publishing strands to mesh together. These have informed the way I operate Publishing Services.
After the sale of Metro in 2001, I set up Publishing Services in 2002, initially as the provider of add-on publicity and marketing services and then, in summer 2004, as the provider of a publishing ‘umbrella'.
||2002 – present
||Founder, Publishing Services.
||1995 – 2001
||Founder, Metro Publishing Ltd
(sold to John Blake in October 2001)
||1990 – 94
||Head of Non-fiction, promoted to Board Director, Faber and Faber.
||1985 – 90
||Various editorial positions: Editorial Assistant at Michael Joseph, Commissioning Editor at Harrap, promoted to Editorial Director at WH Allen.
I am a member of the Independent Publishers’ Guild (IPG), the Publishers’ Publicity Circle (PPC) and the Institute of Directors (IOD).
||March - May 2008
||Eight seminars at the Society of Authors
||Talk to The Society of Authors (topic: how to work with your publisher to sell more books)
||Publishing Training Centre – Internet Marketing
||Eight seminars at the Society of Authors - How to Work With Your Publisher
The Virtual Office
Publishing Services has the backup of assistants, all of whom work from a home office.
Your main day-to-day contact for admin matters will be Jane Sayer, based near Shrewsbury in Shropshire. Jane also works for the Historical Houses Association.
Central Books was set up in 1939 and currently works with around 200 publishers worldwide. The core service offered is full distribution, which includes warehousing, invoicing, delivery, returns processing and credit control.
Central's managing director Bill Norris says: Our publishing clients include general trade publishers, the not-for-profit sector and independent publishing houses dealing with specialist areas (eg film, drama, food and chess).
The threshold for taking new clients on is £100,000 (with the exception of the Publishing Services 'umbrella', where turnover of individual clients is aggregated) although this will vary according to factors such as the number of titles involved and the average selling price.
We try to balance the requirements of today's increasingly technological bookselling environment with nurturing and helping to build new imprints. Publishers who have established themselves and grown with us include Windgather Press (landscape history), Wallflower Press (film) and Maia Press (new fiction).
We are small but growing, we have a good reputation with all the major retailers and wholesalers but try to set terms and conditions of supply that independent publishers can live and prosper with. Above all, we believe in the importance of building relationships across the board.
Charles Lumsden trained as an accountant with Peat Marwick, gaining his ACA in 1982.
He went on to work as a banker with Hambros, specialising in dealing with smaller companies. This led to increased involvement with the companies concerned and the setback, in 1990, of having been the single largest private shareholder of Roger Levitt, whose firm collapsed.
Charles then set up Charles Lumsden & Associates as the provider of specialist advice to growing companies, usually in the form of a non-executive directorship and small shareholding in the company concerned. The typical turnovers of the companies involved are between £750,000 and £10 million.
Areas of expertise include family businesses, fundraising, turnarounds and acquisitions, forensic accounting and strategic direction.
He was a director of Metro Publishing, where he handled fundraising, the acquisition of copyrights from Richard Cohen Books and the subsequent sale to John Blake.
His involvement in Publishing Services is as strategic advisor, advising on new contracts, strategic links and overall business development. Charles says:
My advice, although rooted in finance, covers wider areas, After all, finance is more often a measure of outputs than inputs.
If the culture of the business can be got right, other problems are normally surmountable, as, once the financial structure and culture are aligned in the company's interests, success will follow.
We work with a wide range of small companies and freelancers. All work by such suppliers is charged at cost - ie we do not charge commission.
This means that our only aim in sourcing external work is to find the best person for the job.
Whever possible we work with external suppliers first on smaller jobs before moving on to larger ones, so as to minimise risk.
Areas covered include:
- bibliographical data provision
- editing, copy-editing, proofreading and indexing
- inside page design, cover design, illustrations, photography
- typesetting and print-broking
- mailing houses for bulk mailings
- freelance publicity
- website design, management and editing