I am convinced that in the publishing world, book distribution is an art form, some would even say a dark one. Had I not already leaned in that direction, Greenleaf Book Group’s Meg La Borde would have surely convinced me. I attended Houston’s Association of Authors and Publishers (AAP) last night and heard La Borde’s entertaining and highly informative talk. With the mantra “In an industry that is sink or swim, we help you fly,” Greenleaf has set a high bar for excellence. If you’re new to the writing and publishing game and are considering the self-published route, be forewarned: taking the time to learn all you can about the business, particularly the distribution process, can make or break you. What is needed is honest self-scrutiny. Do you have the knowledge needed to bring your project to a successful completion? In today’s world that means more than a rudimentary understanding of the laws of punctuation–even for writers embarked on the traditional path to publishing.
Greenleaf is what is commonly known as a book distributor. Their clients are small press and self-published authors. Their aim is to get the actual book into the warehouses and onto the shelves, so they do not handle POD or E-books. Their success has been in the targeted marketing approach they bring to each and every book. In an industry full of start-up companies and frequent bankruptcies, the company has weathered the ups and downs and maintained a steady growth since 1997. One key reason why I haven’t considered self-publishing, or small press for that matter, is because of the complex distribution system. It takes time to manage a book’s distribution. Time I’d rather spend writing.
After six years, Greenleaf’s highly tuned model allows them to key into the exact nature of books needed for their distribution channel. They understand as much about what the author and small press publisher must bring to the equation as they know what is required of them. (A lesson more writers should learn.) If you’re thinking about writing a book and considering self-publishing, it’s not too early to begin your education. In fact, it’s the perfect time. Greenleaf’s introductory packet/brochure reads more like a primer on book distribution and is well written and packed with information. While the material is geared toward the services the company provides, all are exactly what the self-published writer will have to do if the book distributor option is not considered–if, that is, success in sales is desired.