Monday, May 27, 2013

Interview with Figure 1 Publishing Co-Founder Richard Nadeau

1.  As a former senior manager at D&M Publishers, you and the former senior managers launched Figure 1 Publishing recently. Why? One of our passions at D&M was doing high quality illustrated books. It’s something that D&M was well known for and we feel it’s a niche that worked in the marketplace. My partners, Chris Labont√© and Peter Cocking had talked about doing something like this for several years. With the layoff of all of D&M’s staff, they asked me join them and venture out on our own to continue the tradition, and expand on it. 

2. What does Figure 1 Publishing do? We are focusing on several strands in which we have expertise: high-end illustrated art & architecture books, food and wine, illustrated regional history, and corporate histories and memoirs.

3. What are the rewards and challenges to being part of a start-up? It is very rewarding to be able to create something new and interesting and to work at what you love. The response we are getting from clients is showing us that we are on the right track and we are providing a service that is truly needed. Figure 1 faces all the same challenges that other publishers do – keeping costs under control and acquiring books that will really work in the market. 

4. As the director of sales and marketing, how will you help raise the profile of a high-quality illustrated book publisher? Our strategy is to first make our target clients aware of what we are offering – and that is going very well so far. Next, we will establish the Figure 1 brand as a solid and sophisticated publisher through online and social media marketing combined with traditional, hands-on selling. In the next few months, when our fist books start to come out, we will have the “calling cards” to help us spread the word. We will also be working with our tremendously talented sales & marketing colleagues at Raincoast to spread the word about our books.

5. As a British, Columbia publisher, are there challenges to penetrating the American market? The key is to pick the books from our list that have enough universal appeal to work in the U.S. market, and to dedicate sufficient marketing resources to them. As an American, I have a pretty good feel for the culture and for what will work in the United States, and all three of us have a lot of experience with the US market from our previous jobs.

6. Where do you see publishing heading? I don’t claim to have a crystal ball, but I see continued consolidation at the top of the book trade, both in publishing and retailing, that will offer some opportunities for smaller players to carve out their own niches. It looks like it’s going to get ever more difficult for independent general trade publishers to flourish, so focusing on specialties and doing them very well is crucial. Obviously, digital initiatives will be essential and I think that we’ll see the smaller players partnering with other media companies to create new and interesting products. 

7. Any advice to a struggling writer? Don’t isolate yourself, be active in the writing community, get to know booksellers and other book industry people, and develop a presence online.


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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This blog is copyrighted material by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2013

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