A prayer for UK publishing’s Billy Beane

By   John Bond 1 min read

Reading the engaging, if patchy, The Numbers Game: Why Everything You Know About Soccer is Wrong (yes, it is the US edition), I’m reminded again of our friend and trusted Digital Advisor, Peter Collingridge.

When Peter left to live in California last year, my youngest daughter gave him a picture she’d made with a quote from the film Moneyball. The part where the owner of the Red Sox says to Billy Beane,

“I know you’ve taken it in the teeth out there, but the first guy through the wall. It always gets bloody, always.”

I think about Peter, about his Bookseer analytics and his endless rounds of meetings with publishers a lot. Why? Because every week more and more writers who want to self-publish are contacting whitefox. They might want a broad service from us or just to cherry-pick specific elements. They might be planning something ambitious or simply uploading their manuscript to KDP. But what most want is a way of knowing how effective any potential marketing and PR will be on their behalf given their limited budgets. And there’s no space in these conversations for the fudge and filler which publishers have made their stock in trade over the years. The overuse of the words ‘quantifiable’, ‘brand’, ‘target’, ‘attempt to’, ‘submit’ or ‘pitch for x slots’, or even floppy old ‘hopefully’. There’s every space to talk ROI and how do I know (as opposed to the channels and platforms) what to do and when to do it to get the biggest bang for my dollar.

Budding authors, what you really need is Bookseer; a tool which will help you sell more books but which no publisher saw fit to invest in. Amen.