Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Interview with Red Wheel/Weiser Executive Director of Business Development Bonni Hamilton
1. What do you love about working with authors and being around books? What’s not to love?! Books change people’s lives in remarkable ways – I love being part of that even peripherally.
2. How important are books in an era saturated by readily available content? Books are as important as they’ve always been – maybe even more so in this day of quick and easy content. But, I’m also not a purist in the sense that I’m fine with however someone wants to read a book – on their digital device, on their phone, in print format – it makes no difference to me just as long as people read. This does not mean I don’t love the tactile feel or smell of a book in my hands, I adore that sensation!
3. Bonni, what did you do before entering into a career in the book industry? I’ve always been in publishing, for the most part. I started my career at Boston’s alternative weekly, The Boston Phoenix. Like similar weeklies – The Village Voice comes to mind – it no longer exists unfortunately. I also spent several years at Salon.com in various capacities in both their San Francisco and New York offices. Publishing and content have always been an important part of my life.
4. How is Red Wheel Weiser growing as a book publisher? We’ve recently purchased a new company that has allowed us to move into the business category – Career Press (more on our other categories below). Additionally, we distribute titles for several smaller publishers and that business has been growing consistently for us year-over-year.
5. Which imprints are part of them? What genres do you publish in? Here’s a description of our house along with the categories we publish into:
Red Wheel/Weiser, is a well-known lifestyle and mind/body/spirit publisher specializing in “Books to Live By,” with imprints that include Conari Press, Weiser Books, Disinformation Books, and Career Press. Conari Press publishes books on topics ranging from spirituality, personal growth, and relationships to women’s interest, health, and social issues. Weiser Books publishes titles across the entire spectrum of occult, esoteric, and speculative subjects. Disinformation Books publishes on topics as wide-ranging as conspiracy theory, secret societies, ancient civilizations, and current affairs. Career Press publishes general non-fiction titles that address real, practical human needs. Our useful, accessible, how-to books reach a broad market - people grappling with universal issues relating to job-hunting, career management, education, money, and personal goals. Red Wheel/Weiser distributes titles for a variety of publishers including Hampton Roads Publishing, Hierophant Publishing, The Witches’ Almanac, Quest, For Beginners, Nicolas-Hays/Ibis Press, and more.
6. What exactly do you do at Red Wheel Weiser? I’m the executive director of business development and wear many hats. Luckily, I look ok in hats! I’m responsible for all of our marketing and author relations, and I spearhead our digital relationships and all that goes into that aspect of our business.
7. What have been some of your recently published hits? Crystal Gridwork by Kiera Fogg; The Art of Breathing by Danny Penman; Kahlil Gibran’s; Little Book of Life by Neil Douglas-Klotz; Your Guide to Forest Bathing by M. Amos Clifford, What Self-Made Millionaires Do That Most People Don’t by Ann Marie Sabath; and Negotiating with a Bully by Greg Williams.
8. What advice do you have for struggling authors? Marketing is as important as writing your book. While many people don’t gravitate toward self-promotion, it’s incredibly important to get to that place where you can talk about your work in ways that promote your message and excite your readers, and keep them coming back for more. Don’t leave marketing details for after your book is written, create a comprehensive marketing plan when you write the outline for your book and develop the plan alongside your manuscript. You will be much happier in the end not leaving this important aspect to the last minute (or to chance).
9. What trends are you seeing in the book world? Print isn’t dead or the independent bookstore! Ha! In all seriousness, I think everyone from small to large firms has finally boarded the “keyword” train and we’re all getting better with SEO and book discovery. This doesn’t only help the online enterprises but also helps their bricks and mortar counterparts. There’s a lot of noise out there and finding a way through is worth every effort.
10. Which of your titles might make for great holiday gifts?
For the spiritual seeker on your list: The Book of Rumi translated by Maryam Mafi or C.S. Lewis’ Little Book of Wisdom.
For the vegan or aspiring vegan: Protest Kitchen by Carol J. Adams and Virginia Messina.
For the practicing witch: Blackthorn’s Botanical Magic by Amy Blackthorn or The Witches’ Almanac, Issue 38.
For the business exec: Serve Up, Coach Down by Nathan Jamail or The Leader Architect by Jim Grew.
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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent. This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.