Working with a book producer from the American Book Producers Association gives you fast turnaround time on exceptional quality books.
Whether looking to fill gaps in next season’s list or seeking to leverage the success of a recent book with spinoffs, most publishers need to get their projects produced and delivered to the printer quickly.
Trending topics and timely conversations are happening now; they may be less relevant after following a traditional workflow. Crashing a book often pulls resources from existing projects and stresses your team. Book producers have the resources to drop everything and focus exclusively on a rush project with no disruption to your in-house production, and their ability to match any style or tone a publisher requires ensures that a book stays on-brand and is of the highest quality.
Book producers work to each publisher’s comfort level, providing regular updates, approvals, and a single go-to source for disseminating information to the team; so your team won’t miss a beat as you add new, timely titles to your list.
Fun, Fast Format
Susan Knopf at Scout Books & Media Inc recently worked on a pop-up book for Sterling Children’s Books with a fast turnaround. Sterling turned to Susan because of her experience of working well with brand partners, proven success at meeting complex challenges, and ability to make good things happen quickly. All of these turned out to be essential skills, as Susan would have just five months to create and produce the Wetmore Forest Monsters’ Big Day pop-up, a format better suited to a 12- to 18-month schedule.
Susan immersed herself in the brand and characters (Funko’s Wetmore Forest) while simultaneously assembling a top-notch team that included a gifted illustrator who could capture the look and personalities of the characters, a talented paper engineer (the person who figures out how the paper folds and unfolds to create a pop-up scene and where pieces are glued together or to the spread), and an unflappable art director.
One of the biggest challenges Susan faced was creating a review process that would engage all the decision-makers at once and give the publisher and brand confidence in making final approvals at earlier stages than they were accustomed to. Developing an innovative workflow to fit each project is one of the many skills that book producers are able to bring to the table. Without time to hand-craft multiple dummies at each stage and send them across the country, Susan worked with her paper engineer to shoot movies of each spread at each stage. Susan sent these movies out to the publisher and brand for review. People could see the working spreads and approve them, wherever they were. It was a super solution she plans to use again and again.
“The project would be a bit of a wild ride,” Susan admitted, “but the Wetmore Forest characters are adorable, and it ended up being tons of fun. Everyone—Scout’s team, the publisher, and the brand folks—was terrific. That made the long hours worthwhile. Of course, we celebrated with a lot of wine when the project was done, and everyone was thrilled with it!”
(Almost) Instant Indexes
Affiliate ABPA member Russell Santana speaks English, Portuguese, and Spanish, and has been translating, proofreading, copyediting, indexing, and writing for many years. Before focusing on the publishing industry, Russell worked in the judicial sphere and became frustrated to see the so-called wheels of justice grind away slowly. He developed a personal habit of guaranteeing his work would be different.
Russell says, “I aimed for what I call the E4 Formula: Exact, Efficient, Elegant, Expedited.” He carried this over into his work in the book world and receives frequent accolades for his quick work. He goes on to explain, “As I am extremely busy, my E4 Formula has become even more important in my work process than ever, enabling me to produce high-quality work—very fast. For example, in the spring of 2019, in a period of about one month, I received what turned out to be forty books, mostly nonfiction, to copyedit and/or index. I was able to get each book back to the client in around 48 to 72 hours from when I received it, to their delight.”
Product Line Extensions in a Snap
When the health book How Not to Die became a bestseller, Flatiron Books knew a follow-up cookbook would be a natural. The challenge was to create a cookbook from scratch based on the first book, including new custom photography, on a tight schedule. Richard Rothschild of Print Matters, Inc. knew he had the resources to bring the project together on time and within budget.
The How Not to Die Cookbook: 100+ Recipes to Help Prevent and Reverse Disease was completed in eight months. The gorgeous four-color vegan cookbook became a bestseller in its own right and affirmed for the publisher the advantages of working with packagers.
Late-Adds and Launch List
Writer Brooke Vitale spent eight years at Disney as the editor on all custom books. While custom books all have their own challenges, a key one is often schedule—when something’s hot, you want to jump on it, and fast! Luckily, Brooke likes a challenge. Her motto as an in-house editor was always “Give my time in a schedule to someone else. I’ll turn my part around in a day.” And she did. Now, as a freelancer and an affiliate member of the ABPA, she strives to do the same.
Brooke shared more, “Last year, Meg Roth at Little Penguin Workshop asked me to help write the launch list for their Xavier Riddle books. She needed five books done in two weeks. I got them back to her in ten days. Hilary VandenBroek at Insight Editions also asked me to push through a title, an illustrated version of The Muppet’s Christmas Carol. It was a late-add to the list and needed to get out in time for Christmas. That one was a fun challenge, trying to figure out how to convey both a classic story and the physical humor of the Muppets—in just 1,000 words. Hilary and I pulled it off, and I delivered the manuscript a month early! More recently, Jen Heddle at LucasFilm asked me to write three books in a week. She had them in four days.”
“I know how crazy crash books are,” Brooke continues. “Somewhere, the schedule is sure to go off the rails. But if I can give you a head start, that derailment won’t hurt so much. And if that gets your book out on time, then I’ve done my job!”
Read more from the ABPA
Areas of Expertise With their deep knowledge of all facets of book production, their professionalism, and their attention to detail, book producers can be counted on to provide factually accurate, tonally appropriate, and culturally sensitive books for a variety...
What’s Old Is New Again While book packagers are generally called upon to produce new titles from conception through finished books or printer-ready files, they are also experts in revising, repurposing, and redesigning new editions of previously published...
Creative License Book packagers are a uniquely creative lot. They are often tasked with developing titles from the original concept to the final product, overseeing all stages of production in between. However, sometimes a preexisting brand, character, or...