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Berrett-Koehler Publisher in Fast Company Magazine

Here’s an interesting article about and up-and-coming publisher named Berrett-Koehler, based in San Francisco. (You’ll need either a subscription or a code from the November issue to read the article, unfortunately. They apparently keep the current month’s content under wraps like this. So if you’re willing to wait till the December issue arrives, you can read the article for free…)

I’ve posted before about the risk/reward decision, especially on advances and royalties. These guys operate exclusively on one end of the extreme and don’t offer author advances. The article also talks about the partnership Berrett-Koehler builds with their authors. I’d like to think we strive for the same relationship on my team, but I can see where Berrett-Koehler goes further with better use of collaborative blogs on each title, “author days” (where authors come into the publisher’s offices to pitch their ideas), etc.


Robin Donovan

I noticed you mentioned our company, Berrett-Koehler, on your blog today in reference the great article about us in this month's Fast Company. You also made reference to our author blogs, but you may not know that we've just launched a group blog for our current affairs authors at This site is another way that we are partnering with our authors. We found that our current affairs authors really wanted to join the blogosphere but were intimidated by the amount of work required to maintain one's own blog (a problem I'm sure you are well acquainted with!). This group blog allows them to essentially have their own blogs (each author has his/her own "channel" with a separate rss feed, etc.), but each entry "bubbles up" to an umbrella blog so that even if each author can only blog once a week, there is always new content on the blog. We just launched the site two weeks ago with a four-week program featuring one author per week blogging on current hot-button issues. This week's featured author is Greg LeRoy, author of The Great American Jobs Scam.

Joe Wikert

Hi Robin. You make a great point about the need to offer authors a way of dipping their toe into the blogosphere without feeling like they've got to make a serious commitment. In fact, I can think of two separate conversations I've had with a couple of our authors over the past few months where one said that letting his blog sit unattended for a couple of weeks was very "liberating" and the other said he just didn't think he'd have the stamina to launch a blog, keep it current and exciting, etc. Yes, as you can see from the sporadic postings I tend to do, I too struggle with this! Kudos to you and the rest of the team at Berrett-Koehler.

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