After decades in publishing and having helped create many New York Times bestsellers (including my memoir), I thought I knew everything there was to know about book publishing, but BenBella showed me something new. BenBella is to publishing what Southwest Airlines is to aviation: They redefine the industry paradigm. In a profession that has not distinguished itself in decades, this independent publisher is changing the way the book business works. They are the future of publishing.Jodee Blanco, New York Times bestselling author and publishing industry consultant
Founded in 2001, BenBella Books is a publishing boutique that aims to be the publisher of choice for a select group of authors who value personal attention, a partnership philosophy, flexibility, and a creative approach to marketing.
BenBella operates on a simple business philosophy:
- Publish wonderful, exciting books
- Provide our authors with true partnership in every aspect of the publishing process
- Creatively and aggressively market every book we publish
- Generate significant value for our authors
- Understand and exploit the rapidly changing publishing and marketing environment
This approach has been very fruitful. With fourteen New York Times bestsellers, a slew of category leaders, and one title selling over two million copies, BenBella’s approach has delivered strong results―both for our firm and for our authors.
BenBella publishes a range of nonfiction (and the very occasional fiction title) in a wide variety of categories and particularly likes quality nonfiction aimed at a niche market.
BenBella is particularly active in publishing serious but highly commercial nonfiction in the categories of science, culture, and current events. Titles in this area include The Formula, When the Uncertainty Principle Goes to 11, and The Boy Crisis.
BenBella also excels in the business category, with a mix of popular and inspirational titles such as the New York Times bestsellers Custom Nation, Three Simple Steps, The Entrepreneur Equation, and Networking is a Contact Sport, and strong long-term sellers such as Traction and The Zen of Social Media Marketing.
BenBella has a strong list of pop culture/celebrity titles, with bestselling books such as The Actor’s Life, The Geraldo Show, Pretty Little Killers, Presumed Guilty, and Family Don’t End with Blood. BenBella publishes the very successful Smart Pop Books, a collection of smart and entertaining critical examinations of television, movies, comics, and books.
BenBella also publishes selected books under the “BenBella Cause” program in which we publish books associated with a worthy cause and donate a portion of our profits back to that cause.
As a first-time editor, I must say that my publishing experience was made incredibly easy by the wonderful folks at BenBella. They were right there with me at every turn and helped me navigate what otherwise would have been the intimidating intricacies involved in moving thoughts from paper to manuscript, and page to book. Bravo, too, to a publishing company with a conscience. In addition to taking me by the hand in the process, they took a leap of faith when they adopted our cause and published a cookbook dedicated to helping us feed thousands of seniors who would otherwise go hungry. I love BenBella! Enid Borden, Founder, President and CEO of the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger, and former President and CEO of the Meals on Wheels Association of America
Book publishing is going through profound changes. The future is unpredictable. This is what makes publishing such a fascinating business to be in. But even with all the change, we think a few essentials will always remain:
- Publish with passion. Most books are sold because one person says to another, “You need to read this book.” Passion can’t be created or marketed into a book. It only emerges as the result of an author delighting, entertaining, illuminating, or educating in a way that resonates with the reader. At BenBella, we try hard to only publish books that we care passionately about, books that are exciting, fun, and/or profound. We’d rather publish fewer books than release anything we aren’t crazy about. But we aren’t snobs―just because a book is intelligent doesn’t mean it can’t also be fun.
- Publishing is a partnership between author and publisher. Publishing starts and ends with authors and we go out of our way to remember that. We strive for full, ongoing, and prompt communication with our authors. We’re nice folks who are very open and easy to work with. We look for authors who want a true partnership and who are similarly open and pleasant to work with.
- Marketing is key. No one can predict the strange alchemy that creates a bestselling book. Sometimes, when a book gets in readers’ hands, magic happens, and they can’t wait to tell their friends that they must read this book. Sadly, sometimes the magic doesn’t happen. But it can’t happen at all if a critical mass of readers isn’t exposed to the book in the first place. That’s what marketing is about, and it’s perhaps the most rapidly changing and exciting part of the book industry right now.
We have deep experience in traditional publicity, and our books and authors have received hundreds of major media placements, including, to name a few, The New York Times, The Washington Post, TIME, The Wall Street Journal, Parade, Newsweek, Redbook, The Christian Science Monitor, Publishers Weekly, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, Discover, BBC, “Good Morning America,” “The Dr. Oz Show,” “Fox and Friends,” “Live! With Kelly & Michael,” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” At the same time, we’re increasingly focused on newer forms of marketing: blog tours, social media marketing, video marketing, content creation, etc. The media landscape, both traditional and new, is continually changing, but we work hard to keep up so we can leverage these tools for our authors. We’re not embarrassed to say we love marketing as much as we love books, and we go at it with enthusiasm, creativity, and expertise. We recognize the critical role authors play in marketing their books, and we work closely with our authors to maximize the results of our mutual efforts.
We welcome authors who want to aggressively market their books, and we supply tools and training to make them more effective.
This is a time of flux for publishers big and small. That’s why we emphasize flexibility and creativity, whether in author relationships, concept, design, marketing strategies, or operations. Publishing is an industry that’s ripe for innovation, and we’d like to do more than our share in exploring fresh approaches and trying new ideas (for more on this, see our blog). We are very big on finding creative win-wins with authors, new distribution ideas, creative online marketing ideas, and anything else that makes this challenging business more successful for us and our authors.