Best of BTB: Winning Publishing Strategies

There’s no business like show business to serve as a model for book publishing, according to industry veteran Bruce Harris, who spoke this summer at the Yale Publishing Course.

“When you’re doing a show, a group of talented people come together. They focus on a particular task. And they get very involved, and very intense about it. And then, after it’s done, they split up, and they form other groups to do different things,” Harris tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally. “In publishing today, there seems to be this thing about having a fixed group of people who constantly have to do work on very different kinds of books. And I think that now, with so much freelance talent available, you can form your own team. There a lot of people who are skilled at publicity, there are people who are skilled at marketing, there are people who are skilled at production. And so you can form your own team and say, what can I do?”

Indeed, that is just what Harris has done. As an independent producer, he has supervised publication of several books that have become national bestsellers. In June 2012 at BookExpo America, Harris previewed the October publication of Anomaly by Skip Brittenham and Brian Haberlin, “an oversized (10” x 15”) 370 page full-color painted hardcover graphic novel, a sprawling science-fiction saga about a corporate space mission that goes deeply awry.”

Bruce Harris began his publishing career at The Crown Publishing Group where he published The Joy of Sex, Martha Stewart’s Entertaining, Douglas Adams Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Maurice Sendak’s Nutcracker and founded the Harmony Books imprint. He became President of Trade Sales and Marketing at Random House and supervised successful publishing strategies for books by Colin Powell, Tom Peters, and hundreds of other best-sellers. Later, he became Publisher-COO at Workman Books and designed campaigns for 1,000 Places To See Before You Die by Patricia Schultz, Younger Next Year by Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge and The French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller and Deborah Jones.

The Yale Publishing Course (YPC) offers mid to senior-level publishing professionals from all over the world access to industry experts and a cutting-edge curriculum focusing on the most crucial areas in publishing. During the week-long programs in book and magazine & digital publishing, YPC participants learn new leadership skills and develop their global network and perspective. Follow YPC on Twitter #YPC2012

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