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How The Millennials Do It

How The Millennials Do It

Crowdfunding Pt. 1

By Steven Pressfield | Published: July 15, 2014

In today’s conversation with Jeff Simon, Jeff explains how he and his partners put together their new web series, Camp Abercorn; where the series will run; what it’ll cost; and how the team is trying to raise the money. Jeff and I talk about Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Jeff explains how crowdfunding works and opens my eyes to a world that was unthinkable “back in the day.”

(This video is the third of eight, which run in this space on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The transcript for today’s video is below.)

(more…)

Posted in How The Millennials Do It
7 Comments

What It Takes

What It Takes

How We Got the Deal Done

By Shawn Coyne | Published: July 11, 2014

So Steve and I both recognize that Giora Romm’s Israeli bestseller, TULIP FOUR, is the perfect Black Irish Book. It epitomizes the WHY of our little operation. Anne Hartstein Pace did an amazing job with the Hebrew to English translation and, with some editorial work to make it more in keeping with the American market, it’s got what it takes to be a classic.

Tulip Four

The Israeli cover of Giora Romm's SOLITARY. The title in Hebrew is TZIVONI ARBA, "Tulip Four."

Now what?

Black Irish doesn’t own the rights to the book. We’ll have to somehow convince Giora to make a deal with us. While Steve and Giora are friendly, Giora would be nuts to sign with us just because Steve’s a nice guy.

Obviously, Black Irish Books is not Random House. We won’t be able to toss out our imprint name and have instant credibility. But if we’re going to publish a book like this, we damn well better act as if we are Random House. This book is in the exact same arena as the blockbuster bestseller Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand as well as Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell and A Higher Call by Adam Makos and Larry Alexander. Plus a very long list of other backlist performers from decades past. That’s our goal…to give the book a backlist life…not to become Unbroken. That’s a bridge too far for us.

While there is a huge potential market for this book, in order to reach even a small slice of it we’ll need to pull out all of the traditional stops that the Big Five use just to get people to notice it. More on those later.

That doesn’t mean that Steve and I have to run to our respective mortgage brokers and double down on our personal equity to publish the book. We won’t be able to write a big check to induce Giora to publish his book with us like a major publisher could. This is the big rub for mini-publishers like Black Irish.

We have limited capital. We use what cash we have to create the books themselves…the covers, the interior designs, the eBook conversions etc. Whatever surplus we have after that, we reinvest for the next title.

Now if someone told me in 1992 that this limitation would prove to be the biggest asset for a twenty-first century publisher, I’d have laughed him out of the room. But it’s true. Having limited money today is a huge advantage.

Why?

It keeps you honest.

You can’t throw money at a project because you think it will sell or because it would be good for your ego. You can’t indulge those specious reasons if you have no green. So every project you pick must meet an incredible personal and specific set of standards. And to even get the project in the first place, you have to summon all of your creative gifts to convince the other party to work with you.

By the time you’re ready to actually publish the book, you’ve toiled relentlessly just to convince yourself and the other party that it’s not just a good idea to work together…it’s essential to do so. So by the time the book goes on sale, you have no regrets. You shipped something tremendously important to you and that is HUGE!

While we don’t have the money that Random House has, we have something far more valuable. Between us we have over a half a century’s worth of experience in book publishing on every single side of the operation (author, editor, agent, publisher, production, art, publicity and marketing). And after all of that time, we’ve both figured out that there is only one indispensible element to publish a book properly.

It’s called personal commitment. Not financial or corporate or conditional commitment. Personal commitment.

What that means is that Steve and I:

  1. Must not only be entertained by the book and
  2. Make sure that it fits in our company’s limited raison d’etre and
  3. See an opportunity to make money by publishing it…just enough to break even works for us… (more…)
Posted in What It Takes
10 Comments

How The Millennials Do It

How The Millennials Do It

Backstory Pt. 2

By Steven Pressfield | Published: July 10, 2014

Continuing my safari among the creative young people of the millennial generation:

In today’s conversation with Jeff Simon, I ask Jeff what brought him from Chicago to L.A., how he got started in the movie business, what networking is like today among twentysomethings in Tinseltown, and what he learned working for eighteen months with Tom Cruise and Doug Liman on the sci-fi film, Edge of Tomorrow.

Jeff talks about his own career arc and how and why he began to “think bigger” about his aspirations for himself, artistically as well as commercially.

(The transcript of today’s video is below. This post is #2 in a series of eight, which will run in this space on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Click here for post #1.)

(more…)

Posted in How The Millennials Do It
7 Comments
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