Imprint strategy

We’ve received a lot of positive feedback and creative ideas from many of you regarding our new imprints. So far this transition has gone very well. But, there is so much more to do.
Step One of our imprint implementation was to separate our books by imprints on our e-commerce site. This has been completed. If you are curious, have a look at http://www.sunburypressstore.com/IMPRINTS_c161.htm
Step Two was to produce monthly bestseller lists for each imprint. This has been completed and has provided new energy for many of our fiction books. Suddenly, we have more than one best-selling book. It gives us more to talk about. If you have not seen the lists yet, they have been posted on our blog:
We also have a sales baseline for each imprint to compare to as we roll out the strategy. Following are the imprints from strongest to weakest:
Imprint % of Titles Sold % of Sales$ Ratio $/Title
Sunbury Press 52.67 70.27 133.42%
Milford House Press 24.43 19.13 78.31%
Brown Posey Press 10.69 6.1 57.06%
Hellbender Books 6.1 3.38 55.41%
Ars Metaphysica 4.58 1.02 22.27%
Speckled Egg Press
1.53
0.1 6.54%
Nearly three-quarters of our titles sold and nearly 90% of our sales dollars come from our two top imprints — Sunbury Press and Milford House. Sunbury Press’s titles typically sell 33% more than the average book company-wide. Milford House’s fiction sells at 78% of the average book. This again confirms our sales bias towards nonfiction. In other words, the typical NF book returns almost twice as much in sales as a typical fiction book. (This is not unique to our press — it is true within the publishing marketplace.)
The bottom four categories are most interesting and have the most upside. These are smaller categories that have been peeled off from the behemoths and appear to be weak and unsuccessful. This is because they have not been differentiated in the past. Now that they are parked in their own category, we should begin to see a leveling effect. I would expect Brown Posey and Hellbender to approach Milford House levels in ratio while Ars Metaphysica trends towards Sunbury Press. Speckled Egg barely has a pulse and needs some new titles to get moving again.
Look for some other activities regarding imprints in the coming months:
1) Cross-marketing with other books in the imprint — at Amazon and within the books themselves.
2) An imprint promotion plan where we run regular specials in each imprint.
3) (Eventually) development of more imprint-specific web page design within the e-commerce site.
4) A newsletter for each imprint sent to customers who buy within the categories.
There are many other ideas we will try. It should be a lot of fun!

A little bit on our business strategy

Recently, I attended a conference on project management in order to maintain my PMP certification. One of the sessions was not closely-related to project management, but it was very relevant to Sunbury Press. The presenter went into Porter’s generic business strategies.  This really stimulated my mind regarding what we are doing with the press and what additional activities we should be considering.

 

First and foremost, Michael Porter from Harvard is best known for Porter’s Five Forces, regarding the primary influences on business success. I won’t go into those, but will instead mention his generic strategies based on this table on the left.
There are two dimensions to the strategies: cost vs, differentiation and broad vs. narrow focus. At Sunbury Press, I have always described us as “generalist opportunists.” This aligns with a broad differentiation strategy. We are not trying to be a low-cost / low-price player because we are too small to win in that space. Instead, we focus on quality content and quality production, demonstrating we are deserving of a higher price. To do this, we differentiate our broad portfolio of products in their individual categories. The imprint strategy was a perfect method with which to implement this strategy more successfully. To summarize, we have a wide offering, but it is differentiated into categories that seek affiliation from a number of different reader communities.
So, that is our (reader) customer-facing strategy. We also regard you (our authors) as customers because we are competing with other methods of publication:
1) self-publishing
2) vanity publishing
3) subsidy publishing
4) other independent trade publishers
5) large market-maker publishers
While we do not charge for our “services” as a publisher, we earn a portion of the proceeds from book sales in return for your trust in our ability to take your work, turn it into a high-quality product, and take it to market. In this mix of publishing options, we are very competitive, as evidenced by a large number of manuscripts we receive and subsequently turn into books. We are successful because we have managed to provide large press quality and opportunities, small press personal interactions, and give a lot of autonomy to the author. We believe these unique qualities to our press are a huge competitive advantage.
Jen and I have both returned from writers’ conferences where we heard others talk about their small presses publishing only a handful of books a year. Everyone seems amazed that we publish 50 to 70 titles with such a small staff. Many have asked us how we do this. Not being from the publishing industry, I had no idea how long all of this normally took and what it would cost. Because we are a recent entrant (2004), we are able to grow and evolve with processes developed internally, not influenced by tradition.  I recently described the root of our efficiency with Pareto-thinking. Vilfredo Pareto was an Italian economist who came up with the 80-20 rule — you derive 80% of the benefit from 20% of the activities. We have applied this “magic” to the Sunbury Press process, resulting in high-quality products brought more rapidly to the market.
Kyle Alexander Romines’ “The Keeper of the Crows” is #1 at Hellbender Books for September

Kyle Alexander Romines’ “The Keeper of the Crows” is #1 at Hellbender Books for September

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. —  Sunbury Press has released the bestsellers list for September for its horror/thriller imprint, HELLBENDER BOOKS. Kyle Alexander Romine’s supernatural thriller The Keeper of the Crows was the bestseller for the month. Keith Rommel’s psychological thriller The Cursed Man was second.

HELLBENDER BOOKS – Bestsellers for September, 2017 (by Revenue)
Rank Title Author Category
1 The Keeper of the Crows Kyle Alexander Romines Supernatural Thriller
2 The Cursed Man Keith Rommel Psychological Thriller
3 The Sinful Man Keith Rommel Psychological Thriller
4 The Devil Tree Keith Rommel Supernatural Thriller
5 The Lurking Man Keith Rommel Psychological Thriller

Romines was buoyed by strong ebook sales and author activities. Three of Rommel’s Thanatology Series books placed in the top five, including The Cursed Man, The Sinful Man, and The Lurking Man. His supernatural thriller The Devil Tree, recalling a real-life serial killer from Florida in the 1970s, also made the list.

 

 

“The Ripper’s Hellbroth” is the first of the “Watchmaker Revelations” series by Michael L. Hawley

“The Ripper’s Hellbroth” is the first of the “Watchmaker Revelations” series by Michael L. Hawley

BUFFALO, NY – Sunbury Press has released The Ripper’s Hellbroth by Michael L. Hawley under its Hellbender Books imprint.

About the Book:

 

Western New York is under siege from a serial killer who seems to be following in the footsteps of the most famous fiend of them all – Jack the Ripper. The Niagara Falls Serial Killer Task Force calls in none other than the Watchmaker, a detective sleuth par excellence. The Watchmaker, FBI’s chief scientist Dr. Edward Dunham knew at once there was something strange about this killer. When he discovers the fiend’s immortal agenda, giving the case its first break in what seemed to be an unsolvable situation, he blows the case wide open with a prediction of where the killer will strike next. They begin their deadly cat and mouse game, then one of the killer’s intended victims, a college sophomore, and her younger brother bestow a gift on the Watchmaker, although, when he locks horns with the killer, Dunham’s not prepared for the outcome. All is not lost. The Watchmaker knows his secret, a secret that will haunt him for the rest of his life.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Michael Hawley holds a master’s degree in invertebrate paleontology and secondary science education from the State University of New York, College of Buffalo, and a bachelor’s degree in geology and geophysics from Michigan State University. He has published ten research articles in RipperologistWhitechapel Society Journal, and Casebook Examiner. He is the author of Curse of the Bayou Beast (fiction, 2015), Jack’s Lantern (fiction, 2014), The Ripper’s Hellbroth (fiction, 2013), and Searching for Truth with a Broken Flashlight (nonfiction, 2010). He has been involved in genealogical research since 1992, which ultimately led to his interest in Ripperology research. He is a commander and naval aviator in the U.S. Navy (retired), and is currently enjoying a career as a secondary earth science and chemistry teacher at Tonawanda City High School. He resides with his wife and six children in Greater Buffalo, New York.

by Michael Hawley
HELLBENDER BOOKS
Trade Paperback – 6 x 9 x 1
9781620068359
286 Pages
FICTION / Mystery & Detective / Police Procedural
FICTION / Thrillers / Crime
FICTION / Thrillers / Supernatural

Also available on Kindle

For more information, please see:

http://www.sunburypressstore.com/The-Rippers-Hellbroth-9781620068359.htm

 

J Geoffrey Barber’s novel “Three Rogues in Gettysburg” inspired by famous Civil War photo

J Geoffrey Barber’s novel “Three Rogues in Gettysburg” inspired by famous Civil War photo

GETTYSBURG, Pa. – Sunbury Press has released Three Rogues in Gettysburg by J. Geoffrey Barber under its Milford House Press imprint.

About the Book:

There would be no monuments for these Johnnies…just charity from the hand and heart of a Quaker maiden.

A historic photograph of three Rebel prisoners at Gettysburg has long been a familiar icon of the Civil War. Yet we have wondered whatever became of those three soldiers, their identities seemingly lost forever. Inspired by their images captured by an unknown photographer, Three Rogues in Gettysburg is the story of three such prisoners who pose before a box camera while eluding their Yankee captors. Each will make his own discreet departure from the battle-scarred town, but not before first encountering Hannah Strumn, a forsaken Quaker mother of two young sons, Seth 12 and Jonathan 3.

What begins with a charitable cup of water will develop into a prolonged stay for the wayfarer named Vergil. The chemistry between him and the wary Hannah grows fonder with each event-filled day on the Strumn farm. Both have secrets which neither wishes to divulge in spite of circumstances that beg for explanations. Hannah is curious to know something about the dead Yankee whose diary Vergil has placed in her care. Vergil, however, desperately would like to know more about the prize horses the family keeps hidden on the property. There is also the question of Hannah’s marital state—where is the man-of-the-house whom she refers to as Jeduthun, or Mr. Strumn?

Inadvertently Vergil will gleam information from young Jonathan, who happens to mention the nocturnal comings and goings of black people to the house. Vergil surmises that Hannah’s domicile is a mercy station on the Underground Railroad. He will become the family guardian when he fatally fends off a devious Yankee sheriff, who assaults Hannah and threatens to arrest her for aiding the enemy and harboring slaves. Later, with Seth’s help, Vergil will set a trap for a despicable slave owner who arrives, with two baying hounds, to reclaim his fleet-footed property. In the end, Vergil, his thirst quenched and wearing a new suit of clothes sewn by Hannah, rides away on a gleaming black steed. He carries with him provisions from Hannah’s pantry—as well as a piece of her heart and the promise to return.

An epilogue, written in the first-person alleging to be a descendant of Vergil, lends the fiction a sense of reality while exploring themes of ancestry and lost personal identity. For families of Civil War soldiers, news of the death of a family member was heart-wrenching. Worse still, however, was to have never learned the fate of a missing loved one.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

James G. Barber is a historian and curator at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. His research interests include the portraiture of the Jacksonian and Civil War eras, and the American presidency. He is the project coordinator for the Smithsonian’s popular Civil War Web site, CivilWar@Smithsonian. In observance of the Civil War’s 150th anniversary, he was an editorial consultant for two Smithsonian books, The Civil War: A Visual History(DK, 2011), and Smithsonian Civil War: Inside the National Collection (Smithsonian, 2013). He is the curator of the Portrait Gallery’s TIME magazine collection of more than 2,000 works of original cover art.

Barber was born in Washington, DC, and is a life-long Alexandrian. With family roots in Carlisle and New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, his early memories include car trips passing through Pickett’s charge on the Emmitsburg Road.

by J. Geoffrey Barber
MILFORD HOUSE PRESS
Trade Paperback – 5.5 x 8.5 x .7
9781620068052
216 Pages
Fiction / Historical

Also available on Kindle

For more information, please see:

http://www.sunburypressstore.com/Three-Rogues-in-Gettysburg-9781620068052.htm

2nd edition of “Winter of the Metal People” by Dennis Herrick

2nd edition of “Winter of the Metal People” by Dennis Herrick

BERNALILLO, NM. – Sunbury Press has released Winter of the Metal People, 2d Ed. by Dennis Herrick under its Milford House Press imprint.

About the Book:

The Untold Story of America’s First Indian War

The first named war between the Europeans and the Native Americans was the nearly forgotten Tiguex War, which Spaniards and their Mexican Indian allies fought in 1540-42 against the Pueblo Indians along the Rio Grande, between present-day Albuquerque and Santa Fe in New Mexico.
This historical novel “Winter of the Metal People” presents the first account of the war written from the Puebloan point of view. It follows a young Pueblo warrior who reluctantly takes leadership of his people in a time of crisis, overcoming self-doubt to lead Puebloans in successful guerilla warfare against the Spaniards.
Praise for Winter of the Metal People and author Dennis Herrick
“A riveting historical novel of immense scholarship and insight. Dennis Herrick makes the story of the first American Indians in the West to face the military might of European forces as vivid and real as if Coronado’s expedition had ridden out of Mexico yesterday. Winter of the Metal People will forever influence your perception of the stunning landscapes and rich cultures of the Southwest.”
—Margaret Coel, author of Killing Custer
“In Winter of the Metal People Dennis Herrick, journalist and award-winning writer of fiction, offers us a consummately humane novel of the first encounters between Pueblo peoples of the Southwest and a European, African, and Native American expedition led by Francisco Vázquez de Coronado in the early 1540s. Herrick skillfully brings the Native side of those encounters into vivid focus. We are brought to imagine the complexity and variety of Pueblo reactions as they struggle to come to grips with the foreign presence and how it violently impacts their lives and traditions.”
—Richard Flint, Historian, Author of No Settlement, No Conquest: A History of the Coronado Entrada
“A vivid historical novel that brings to life the epic winter of 1540-41 as Spanish and Pueblo Indian worlds first collided. Herrick’s narrative—driven by extant annals of the Coronado expedition, recent archaeological research, and Pueblo accounts—is the closest we will ever get to standing on a hill above an ancient Pueblo community and witnessing the gritty reality of history. It is a masterful eye opener.”
—David E. Stuart, Professor of Anthropology, University of New Mexico
Author of Prehistoric New Mexico, Anasazi America, and The Ancient Southwest
“With Winter of the Metal People Dennis Herrick has peeled back the familiar to expose the fascinating. As he alternates viewpoints between Spanish conquistadors and the first Americans they found in thriving pueblos, Herrick provides essential reading for anyone who would understand the collision of cultures that defines so much of what see all around us today.”
Jim Belshaw, Author of Trickster in the Front Yard and Closing the Chart
by Dennis Herrick
MILFORD HOUSE PRESS
Trade Paperback – 6 x 9 x 1
9781620068267
278 Pages
Fiction / Historical

Also available on Kindle

For more information, please see:

http://www.sunburypressstore.com/Winter-of-the-Metal-People-2nd-Ed-9781620068267.htm

Benjamin Anderson’s novel “Middle of the Road” leads Brown Posey Press bestsellers for September

Benjamin Anderson’s novel “Middle of the Road” leads Brown Posey Press bestsellers for September

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. —  Sunbury Press has released the bestsellers list for September for its literary fiction imprint, BROWN POSEY PRESS. Benjamin Anderson’s novel of the frustrations of millennial mediocrity, Middle of the Road,  ranked number one.   William F. Lee’s touching memoir about the loss of his wife after a long marriage, All My Heroes Are Gone, soared to number two.

BROWN POSEY PRESS – Bestsellers for September, 2017 (by Revenue)
Rank Title Author Category
1 Middle of the Road Benjamin Anderson Literary Fiction
2 All My Heroes Are Gone William F Lee Grief Fiction
3 Hatched Robert Barsky Literary Fiction
4 The Heatstroke Line Edward Rubin Climate Fiction
5 Planet Jesus Vol. 1: Flesh and Blood Doug Brode Paranormal Fiction

Anderson’s book has performed well due to author activities. Lee’s book has been boosted by local activity in Texas where the author resides. Barksy and Rubin have continued to sell copies to the book trade. Brode’s novel continues to draw attention due to the unusual subject matter.

“Jesus the Phoenician” by Lebanese author Karim el Koussa leads the Ars Metaphysica bestsellers for September

“Jesus the Phoenician” by Lebanese author Karim el Koussa leads the Ars Metaphysica bestsellers for September

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. —  Sunbury Press has released the bestsellers list for September for its spiritual/metaphysical imprint, ARS METAPHYSICA. Karim El Koussa’s retelling of the story of Jesus through the eyes of the Phoenicians entitled Jesus the Phoenician ranked number one.   The Peoples’ Medium, Michele Livingston, took the second spot with her channeled book Living in the Afterlife, revealing her visions of the other side.

ARS METAPHYSICA – Bestsellers for September, 2017 (by Revenue)
Rank Title Author Category
1 Jesus the Phoenician Karim el Koussa Religious History
2 Living in the Afterlife Michele Livingston Metaphysical
3 Der Lange Verborgene Freund J G Hohman PA Dutch Powwow
4 Pythagoras the Mathemagician Karim el Koussa Historical Fiction
5 The Complete Story of the Worldwide Invasion of the Orange Orbs Terry Ray Paranormal

El Koussa’s book has performed well since its release primarily due to exports to Europe and the Middle East. Karim also took the third spot with his recounting of the contributions of Pythagoras, the mathematician/scientist who lived in ancient times.  Livingston’s books have sold steadily throughout the US and overseas due to the subject matter.

 

Sherry Knowlton’s thriller “Dead of Spring” tops Milford House Press bestsellers for September

Sherry Knowlton’s thriller “Dead of Spring” tops Milford House Press bestsellers for September

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. —  Sunbury Press has released the bestsellers list for September for its Milford House Press fiction imprint. Sherry Knowlton’s Dead of Spring, the third book in the Alexa Williams series, took the top spot. Mark Mitten’s recently-released western, Hard to Quit, placed second.

MILFORD HOUSE PRESS – Bestsellers for September, 2017 (by Revenue)
Rank Title Author Category
1 Dead of Spring Sherry Knowlton Detective Thriller
2 Hard to Quit Mark Mitten Western
3 The Silver Coin Marie Sontag Historical YA
4 The Broken Lance Jess Steven Hughes Historical
5 The Sign of the Eagle Jess Steven Hughes Historical
6 Going Home Sharon Marchisello Murder Mystery
7 Where Elephants Fought Bridget Smith Historical
8 Dying for Vengeance Joan West Detective Thriller
9 Who Killed Marcia Maynard? Alma Bond Detective Thriller
10 Embattled Freedom Jim Remsen Historical
11 The Sea Is a Thief David Parmalee Historical
12 Murder on the Streetcar Alma Bond Detective Thriller
13 Sipping Whiskey in a Shallow Grave Mark Mitten Western
14 Home Is a Long Time Ago William F Lee Historical
15 Courting Doubt and Darkness Joan West Detective Thriller

Sherry Knowlton’s detective thriller Dead of Spring took the top spot due to author activities.  Mark Mitten’s western Hard to Quit grabbed the second spot due to regional sales. Marie Sontag’s The Silver Coin placed third due to author activities.  Jess Steven Hughes had two titles on the list from his historical novels set in Roman times. Two of Alma Bond’s and two of Joan West’s detective thrillers made the list due to author activities.

Former Congressman Jason Altmire’s “Dead Center” repeats as the Sunbury Press bestseller for September

Former Congressman Jason Altmire’s “Dead Center” repeats as the Sunbury Press bestseller for September

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. —  Sunbury Press has released the bestsellers list for September. Former Congressman Jason Altmire’s Dead Center: How Political Polarization Divided America and What We Can Do About It took the top spot. Tigers by the River by Wylie McLallen was runner-up.

SUNBURY PRESS – Bestsellers for September, 2017 (by Revenue)
Rank Title Author Category
1 Dead Center: How Political Polarization Divided America and What We Can Do About It Jason Altmire Political Science
2 Tigers by the River Wylie McLallen Sports History
3 Call Sign Dracula Joe Fair Military Memoir
4 A Pennsylvania Mennonite and the California Gold Rush Lawrence Knorr History
5 Wonder Boy: The Story of Carl Scheib Lawrence Knorr Sports Biography
6 The Relations of Dwight D. Eisenhower, 2nd Ed. Lawrence Knorr Genealogy
7 The Relations of Isaac F. Stiely, Minister of the Mahantongo Valley Lawrence Knorr Genealogy
8 Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last, 2nd Ed. Mike Campbell History
9 General John Fulton Reynolds: His Biography, Words, and Relations Lawrence Knorr, Michael Riley, & Diane Watson Genealogy
10 Chasing Understanding in the Jungles of Vietnam Doug Beed Military Memoir
11 The BANG Story Lawrence Knorr & BANG Music Biography
12 Freemasons at Gettysburg Sheldon Munn History
13 The Ripper’s Haunts Michael Hawley True Crime
14 Seinsoth Steven Wagner Sports Biography
15 American Berserk Bill Morris History
16 History of Lykens Township, Volume 2 Gratz Historical Society History
17 Forts, Forests, and Flintlocks John L Moore History
18 Bows, Bullets, and Bears John L Moore History
19 Cannons, Cattle, and Campfires John L Moore History
20 Letters from a Shoebox James Dohren History
21 Warriors, Wampum, and Wolves John L Moore History
22 Settlers, Soldiers, and Scalps John L Moore History
23 Traders, Travelers, and Tomahawks John L Moore History
24 Rivers, Raiders, and Renegades John L Moore History
25 Pioneers, Prisoners, and Peacepipes John L Moore History

Jason Altmire’s Dead Center: How Political Polarization Divided America and What We Can Do About It was #1 due to brisk advance sales prior  to the October release. Wylie McLallen’s Tigers by the River took #2 due to author appearances and due to seasonal interest in professional football.  Joe Fair’s Call Sign Dracula placed #3 due to the sales of the Kindle version. A Pennsylvania Mennonite and the California Gold Rush by Lawrence Knorr placed fourth due to regional sales. Wonder Boy: The Story of Carl Scheib by Lawrence Knorr grabbed the fifth spot thanks to seasonal interest.