February 27, 2015

Lessons for Authors via Walmart Customer Service

Hang in there with me on this because the lesson at the end will help new and emerging authors.
Yesterday I was in my local Walmart picking up some small items when a rack of workout shorts grabbed my attention. For the unbelievable low price of just over five dollars was a selection of stylish looking shorts perfect, I thought, for my nightly bike training exercise.
But when I tried them on later in the evening I realized they were horribly made and the fit was atrocious. This morning I took them back. When the customer service person asked why I was returning them I said they were cheaply made. She said, “I understand. Happens all the time. I’d never buy my clothes here.”
That got me thinking about what we are doing here at Principia in terms of quality. Unlike most other publishers (I can attest to the accuracy of what I’m saying based on my more than twenty years in the publishing industry), we go to the nth degree in assuring that the books we publish are way above industry standards in all aspects of our publishing from our initial interaction with potential authors all the way through the publishing process to the final product.
We treat all prospective authors with the highest possible respect as we determine if their book is something that will fit our list of growing titles. Then we do something no other publisher we know of does: we sit down with the author and map out a financial plan that determines if we are both on the same page in terms of goals and aspirations, and that the book has a viable audience (we do not want to waste anybody’s time or creative energy—ours or the authors). We come from a business startup mentality and see each new book as both a creative and financial venture. Why would anyone want to invest time and money into a project that has no chance of success?
Once all parties have decided on green-lighting a publishing project we then bring in our team of talented editors, designers, production specialists, marketers and technologists. At each step along the way we are in continual communications between all involved. Bottom line, we publish wonderful books that teach, engage and spark the curious minds of readers.
This year we are currently working on several new publishing projects that we feel will excite readers everywhere. Stay tuned. I think you’ll be impressed.
Now back to my Walmart experience. What is the chance I’m going to purchase clothing there again? Did Walmart accomplish anything by bringing in inferior products to sell? Now think how you feel when you read a poorly designed book filled with mistakes and non-sensical gibberish. Even the world’s largest publishers (not to mention self-published books) often publish books that fail to connect and are soon, mercifully, taken off the shelf and delisted from online sellers.
Want to talk about your book? Fill out our online form and we’ll talk. We love what we’re doing and want our authors, booksellers and readers to feel the same.
Dirk Wierenga, Principia Media Director or Publishing.

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