Making Book Publishing ‘Author-Centric’

Self-publishing can empower authors, and B2P plans to give the industry—and its business practices—a makeover.

From an interview with B2P's founder, Eric Beebe.

 “Before starting my book publishing companies, Bee Squared Publishing and Post Mortem Press, I investigated the self-publishing world and small press 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 an academic work, I realized how simple it could be.  I leveraged what I learned in grad school, 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. 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 giving them enough books to recoup expenses. It’s an unusual practice; some publishers don’t pay new authors until the title has repaid the initial investment costs.

“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.”