In 1996, Michael Blutrich was a successful attorney and former law partner of future New York governor Andrew Cuomo as well as the owner of the iconic gentlemen’s club SCORES, which was frequented by high-power patrons ranging from A-list celebrities to members of the Mafia (notoriously, the New York Rangers visited SCORES on the night they won the Stanley Cup, filled the Stanley Cup with champagne, and left it behind at the end of the night). To say the least, things …
It has been a pleasure working with BenBella Books. Glenn Yeffeth, the Publisher, and his entire team have done an outstanding job editing, promoting, and distributing my books, The Miami Mediterranean Diet and The Great American Heart Hoax. I highly recommend BenBella Books and I give them a 5-star rating!
Michael D. Ozner, M.D., FACC, FAHA
Dear Potential BenBella Author,
Thank you for taking this time to learn a bit more about BenBella Books acquisitions. This letter tells you everything you need to know to submit your project to BenBella Books.
BenBella Books is a publishing boutique that publishes 30 to 40 books a year, is very selective in what it acquires, and works with great diligence to publish each book to its maximum potential.
We are actively acquiring strong nonfiction manuscripts. We are not looking for fiction at this time.
Our approach to publishing is very straightforward:
- We are a marketing-focused house that prides itself on creative and diligent marketing of our titles. We have a team of seven full-time marketers for our relatively small list of titles, and we work with a range of top-notch outside publicists, as well.
- We pay relatively modest advances ($5K-$10K) for most books, but for books we really want we pay extraordinarily high royalties, either in the form of dramatic royalty escalators or profit-sharing. For all of our books, we pay standard big-house royalties or better, including full royalties on most special sales and author sales.
- We operate in a true partnership model, providing our authors with a level of collaboration, flexibility, and partnership that is rare in the publishing industry.
- We have superior distribution through Perseus Distribution. Perseus is the largest independent distributor and is a top-20 publisher nationally. They have a strong and significant sales force in every area of distribution, including national accounts, field, mass merchandisers and clubs, special sales, and gift sales. They provide strong distribution worldwide.
We strive to be the publishing partner of choice for the author looking for a personalized, careful, and marketing-focused approach.
First and foremost, BenBella is a publisher that places a strong value on marketing. We are strong marketers, and each of our books has a customized marketing plan and approach. Publicity is key for most of our titles, and we – and our authors – work hard at it. We have a strong team here, and we (or our authors) often bring in strong outside publicists as well. You can see a list of our recent press hits in our Press Room; you’ll see our books get a lot of publicity.
Our marketing extends well beyond publicity, and we work with each author to design marketing initiatives to support each title, extensive mailings to a list of important influencers and/or creative social media campaigns.
We expect our authors to actively support the marketing of their books, both at the time they are published and in the months (and years) thereafter. Towards this end, we work closely with our authors to educate them in book marketing approaches, including bringing in outside experts and trainers to work with our authors.
Together, BenBella and I have published three bestselling cookbooks. It is the collaborative effort―that partnership between publisher and author that is unique to BenBella―that has allowed my books to be so successful. I am not a faceless author to BenBella. We work closely as both colleagues and friends. My books are also not forced into some corporate mold. My thoughts and opinions are respected. My books are MY books and I know I would not be given as much creative input elsewhere. We have grown together and I am delighted to be publishing another three books with BenBella.
Lindsay Nixon, author of the bestselling Happy Herbivore series
What We Are Looking For
The success of a book is often a result of a good match between author and publisher. Every publisher is better at some things than others. So please consider the types of books we publish as described below and whether we are a good fit for your project before pitching us.
BenBella is open to looking at any non-fiction proposal, but we’re particularly excited about books that have one or more of these characteristics:
- Brand – Books that leverage a strong brand are particularly appealing, whether the brand is national or niche. For example, our book Rock Your Business, by the founder/owner of Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp™, leverages a great, nationally known brand. As a subset of this, we welcome books linked to well-known charities as part of our BenBella Cause line, in which we donate half our profits back to the charity. Made With Love, our upcoming Meals On Wheels celebrity cookbook, is a good example of this.
- Brilliant in Niche – We love books that are unique or clearly the best in their narrow niche. Our book The China Study had potential for broad appeal but had particular appeal to niche readers, and, in this niche, was truly unique and superior to anything else out there. The China Study has sold over 1 million copies and is still going strong. Our upcoming memoir, But Now I See, is by a gold medal Olympian who was secretly going blind from keratoconus even as he competed in the highly dangerous sport of bobsledding. This fascinating story has potential broad interest, but will be particularly interesting to fans of bobsledding, the Olympics, and the keratoconus community.
- Celebrity – Selectively, we like interesting books by celebrities and can offer very attractive royalty packages for the right titles. An example is our New York Times bestseller Presumed Guilty by Jose Baez, a page-turner with fascinating revelations on the Casey Anthony trial and a story that could be a John Grisham novel.
- Powerful Entrepreneurs and Professionals – These tend to be books by entrepreneurs with big ambitions. They not only want to sell many copies of their book, but they also want to sell other products, raise their profile in their industry, increase their speaking fees, etc. Often these authors are considering self-publishing, because they want to move fast and they want a high degree of control over the process. If these authors bring a strong book and an impressive marketing plan/budget to the table, they are often a good fit for us. Our New York Times bestseller The Entrepreneur Equation is a good example of this type of title.
- Expert’s Life Work – Books by real experts, representing their life’s work, are always appealing to us. Our books Health at Every Size and The Zen of Social Media Marketing, both very successful, fall into this category.
- Fannish Pop Culture – We look carefully at pop culture books that specifically appeal to powerful and current fan communities, especially television, film and literary fans. Our Smart Pop line, which has 50+ titles, has a built-in fan base and some major successes. Examples include The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook, Ender’s World: Fresh Perspectives on the SF Classic Ender’s Game (edited by Orson Scott Card), and The Psychology of Harry Potter.
BenBella Books has far exceeded all expectations I’d had based on comments from other authors I know. They have been very accommodating with needs that have arisen and clearly understand the bigger business picture involved with publishing. All staff with whom I’ve come into contact have been outstanding and I look forward to working with them on other projects in the future.
Duke Johnson, MD, author of The Optimal Health Revolution
Pitching BenBella is easy. In the initial pitch, we are looking for three things:
- A clear understanding of what your book is about and how it distinguishes itself from other titles.
- A compelling statement of your qualifications to write the book.
- Anything you can tell us about why you believe the book will sell.
This initial pitch should be only a few pages long. If it’s appealing, I’ll get back to you with a request for more information.
I look forward to hearing from you!