What Risks Have Publishers Taken that Led to Success?


    What Risks Have Publishers Taken that Led to Success?

    In the dynamic world of publishing, taking calculated risks can lead to remarkable rewards, as revealed by a Co-Founder who successfully partnered on a unique anthology. Alongside industry experts like authors and coaches who learned from investments in cover design and marketing, we've also gathered additional answers that range from embracing e-book innovation to exploring new genres. These narratives not only highlight the bold moves that shaped careers but also the valuable lessons learned from them.

    • Partnered on a Unique Anthology
    • Invested in a Quality Cover Design
    • Hired a Book Marketing Firm
    • Published Controversial Topics
    • Embraced E-Book Innovation
    • Adopted Subscription-Based Publishing
    • Backed Unknown Authors
    • Explored New Genres

    Partnered on a Unique Anthology

    Between 2013 and 2015, I was able to publish more than eighty poems and short stories in over thirty literary magazines. However, by the end of 2015, I realized that simply amassing more publishing credits wouldn't lead to being able to sustain myself as a working (i.e., non-starving) creative writer. So, when a mutual friend told me that someone she knew was looking for a writer, I was intrigued.

    I agreed to partner with Vakasha Brenman on her vision: 'The Book of the Magical Mythical Unicorn,' a historical, cross-cultural anthology of information and legends about the beloved mystical creature. Vakasha was just like me: hard-working, unorthodox, and drawn to the big and bold in writing (and everything else). Together, we were able to secure a publishing contract with O-Books, which led to my appearances on programs like 'Coast to Coast AM' with George Noory and a vastly larger author platform than before I took that risk. Vakasha couldn't pay me, but we did get published by a traditional press, significantly advancing my writing career by solidifying my ability to generate the income I desire when I choose to work in the writing space as an editor or ghostwriter.

    Looking back on this experience, it solidified my belief that when the front door is closed (as someone who doesn't have an MFA nor a desire to obtain one), find a way in through the back door, do your due diligence, and, if everything checks out, go hard because you'll have a real good chance of moving your publishing career forward if you're adventurous enough to try.

    Alfonso Colasuonno
    Alfonso ColasuonnoCo-Founder, Real Unicorn Apparel

    Invested in a Quality Cover Design

    I selected an incredible cover designer. I paid more than I wanted to, but her work—through her portfolio—was outstanding. I took the risk, and the result was incredible. They say not to judge a book by its cover, but readers definitely do! It has gotten my debut fiction novel so much awareness and attention; it was definitely worth the extra couple hundred dollars for an expert hand!

    Amy Vogel
    Amy VogelAuthor, Speaker, Story Coach

    Hired a Book Marketing Firm

    I hired professionals, making a substantial personal investment with a book marketing firm that knew how to develop a targeted branding strategy that illuminated my book's unique message, expanded my reach, and gave me a huge competitive edge to take to market. This team of experts not only equipped me with dozens of specific, actionable strategies to help my book rise above the thundering herd of other books flooding the marketplace, but they also amplified my voice as a thought leader and helped take my book to levels I never dreamed possible. Our marketing plan was so successful that I earned multiple Amazon best-seller banners, influential press opportunities, and even a 'Best Motivational Read for 2023' nod on NBC's Today Show.

    Andrea Dewitt
    Andrea DewittAuthor, Speaker and Leadership Coach, Andrea DeWitt Advisors Coaching

    Published Controversial Topics

    When publishers decide to tackle controversial subjects, they step into the spotlight, prompting discussion and debate. This bold move has often led to a surge in book sales and visibility. Controversial topics have the power to resonate deeply with readers, guiding them through complex thoughts and emotions.

    As a result, publishers that have dared to print works on sensitive issues have frequently carved out a niche for themselves in the history of literature. If you're a reader seeking to challenge your perspectives, pick up a book that addresses a provocative topic.

    Embraced E-Book Innovation

    The advent of e-books represented a significant shift in the publishing industry, with foresight playing a critical role. Publishers who were early adopters of the digital format were considered risk-takers, stepping into an uncharted territory with an uncertain future. Their willingness to embrace technology ahead of the curve allowed them to establish a strong presence in the e-book market.

    The success stories of such pioneers serve as a testament to the value of innovation in publishing. If you enjoy having a library at your fingertips, consider exploring the wide world of e-books.

    Adopted Subscription-Based Publishing

    The platform of subscription-based publishing has been a game-changer for the industry, drawing readers into a new way of accessing literature. Publishers who implemented this model provided readers with a steady stream of content for a regular fee, which created a loyal customer base. This approach proved lucrative, as it allowed publishers to predict revenue and invest accordingly.

    By choosing the path less traveled, these publishers opened up a world where reading becomes a service rather than a single purchase. To immerse yourself in an ever-growing library, investigate subscription-based services and find your next read.

    Backed Unknown Authors

    Venturing into the world of literature by backing unknown authors can be likened to treasure hunting, where the potential for a sweeping success is tantamount to discovering gold. Publishers who take this risk enable fresh voices to be heard, often uncovering stories that have the power to captivate and inspire a wide audience. Some of today's most beloved books were initially gambles that paid off immensely when they became international sensations.

    This showcases the importance of believing in new talent and the unforeseen impact it can have on the cultural landscape. Keep an eye out for debuts from new authors – their stories might just redefine your idea of a great book.

    Explored New Genres

    When publishers choose to explore new genres, they not only diversify their portfolios, but they also reach readers with varied interests. This strategic move often leads to the cultivation of a broader reader base, as different genres attract different crowds. By branching out, publishers tap into markets they might have otherwise missed, which can result in unexpected bestsellers and iconic series.

    It's a way to ensure that there's something for everyone on the bookshelves. Delve into a genre you've never read before – you might just stumble upon your new favorite book.