Monday, April 27, 2015

Interview With Tanya Hall, Greenleaf Book Group CEO

A leading distributor and publisher speaks out!

1.      Tanya, as CEO of a mid-sized book distributor, how do you feel a distributor should work with its publishers to grow their brands? A distributor has a direct line of communication with buyers at bookstores, libraries, wholesalers, etc – so it’s critically important to communicate any feedback from those parties to our authors and/or publishers to help their brands grow and thrive. Our initial pitch happens early enough that we sometimes we get specific feedback on a cover, a title, or the content of the book that can still be tweaked to make it a more marketable product.  Greenleaf Book Group is unique in that we have an in-house brand strategy team to provide guidance on audience and brand development, to develop ancillary materials and keynote presentations, short videos, etc.

2.      What do you love about being in the book industry? I love that I’m surrounded by people who are smarter than I am! I’m also fascinated by the shifting landscape in publishing. It’s interesting to see where certain companies are changing or staying the same in response to the developments in our business, and of course it’s exciting to see innovative new companies getting started.

3.      What challenges are ahead for your side of the business? Like any publisher or distributor, the shrinking footprint of brick and mortar bookstores is a challenge. We’ve been working to diversify our account base for many years and have been fortunate to be able to offset the shrinking accounts with non-bookstore partners like airport bookstores and chains such as The Container Store and Bed, Bath and Beyond.

4.      What kind of authors and publishers do you look to represent? Ultimately, we’re looking for the same criteria that our retail partners look for when considering a book: a marketable, differentiated message with quality packaging and strong marketing support. We also want collaborative authors and publishers who will work in partnership with us so we can all sell more books!

5.      What are some of your more recent success stories? We’ve been blessed to work with Joe Cross on The Reboot With Joe Juice Diet (a New York Times bestseller for us) and two follow-up titles. Many people discovered Joe through his documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, which provided him with a tremendous platform to drive book sales. We’ve also been successful in reenergizing older titles through innovative eBook promotions. The Clutter Diet by Lorie Marrero is a 2009 release that just hit the Wall Street Journal eBook bestseller list this year!

6.      Which genres would you like to grow for Greenleaf? We do especially well with non-fiction, and business books have always been a strong suit. We’ve seen tremendous growth with our health titles in the past few years, and I’ve love to see that continue.

7.      Do you have any advice for first-time authors seeking to determine which publishing path to walk down? Take the time to understand your specific goals and the pros/cons of each publishing model. When it comes to choosing between self-publishing, traditional publishing, or a hybrid model like Greenleaf’s, it’s largely a matter of determining the right fit depending on your goals, resources, timeline, target market, and the importance of owning your rights


2015 Book PR & Marketing Toolkit: All New

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015

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