Jessica Dawson, CEO of Maven Publishing USA, answers our 5 questions and gives insight into the world of book publishing and how being a published author can benefit the small business owner seeking to stand out from their competition.
What are the primary service(s) or product(s) that your business provides?
Maven Publishing USA is a boutique publishing house for small business owners and entrepreneurs. We help our clients create and publish books that help position them as industry experts and that connect them with their customers and colleagues in a unique way.
Who’s your perfect customer? Do you work with other business (B2B), or consumers (B2C), or both?
We work directly with businesses, but the readers of the books we create for our clients are also extremely important. They could be customers of our clients, or they could be other business owners in our clients’ industries. Sometimes, they are people who have no direct connection to our clients but who found our clients’ books on Amazon.
In other words, we make sure our clients are happy by collaborating to create books that communicate their message in the way they want it communicated. We also want to be sure that we are broadcasting that message in a way that will be received well by readers, wherever they happen to come from.
When did you start your company? Share a little about your professional history leading up to starting your company.
Maven officially started at the beginning of 2015. I had been working for a publishing company that was also helping people create books to use as positioning and marketing pieces, but the company severely lacked in customer service. There were quality issues with the books, and the company was generally more interested in making more sales than nurturing the relationships it already had. Clients were unhappy more often than not.
I saw the value in the idea behind the business—books are an amazing tool for a business owner or entrepreneur to have. That said, I knew there was a better way to serve those clients. Maven was born out of the idea that a small number of clients would allow for better quality control and more personal attention for each client. Writing and publishing a book can seem like a complicated process, especially for someone who has never done it before, and our goal is to de-mystify the process and to be there to help and answer questions when needed.
My partner, Sean, comes from the fiction publishing world, and he has brought with him years of experience in professional editing, printing, and distribution. We also work with dedicated editors and designers, who round out the team and make our books shine. Maven may be a small publishing house, but our team’s skills combine perfectly to cover everything a larger publishing house can do.
What are one or two things that you’ve learned the hard way?
There are always going to be surprises. No matter how smooth and simple something seems, there will be a surprising bump in the road along the way. Some surprises are no big deal, while others are truly earth-shattering. You can’t plan for every single possibility, but the best way to mitigate surprises is to give yourself way more time than you think you need.
We recently had a project that met with probably every frustrating surprise possible. Some we saw coming, while others seemed to come out of nowhere. Most people would never know that we encountered so much difficulty in that particular project, but the internal stress was high. We should have given ourselves about three more weeks on it, but we didn’t. We were excited to get it done, and we believed we could do it. We did, but it wasn’t worth the anxiety and frustration that came with it. We know now that it is much better to take extra time, even when it seems unnecessary.
What is one thing that most people don’t know about your business or industry that you wish they did?
When I talk to people about what I do, I’m usually met with one of two responses. People are either completely wowed (“You publish books!? Wow, that’s so cool! How many bestsellers do you guys have?”), or they tell me that they are in the process or writing a book or that they’ve been told they need to write one.
The truth of the publishing industry is very much in between those two sentiments. On one hand, having a book is a prestigious thing, and it can be a very useful tool. That’s what Maven is all about—the credibility and positioning that comes with having written a book on a particular subject. However, it’s not magical. You don’t have to have any special qualifications to write a book; you just need a strong message that you want to communicate to a particular audience.
Publishing is a business. There is no quick path to riches, and there are no shortcuts. We do our business one client and one project at a time, just as our clients do. Would it be cool if one of our books ended up being a bestseller? Sure, but we are just as excited when a client calls us and tells us about the new contract they won because a prospective customer read their book.
Where’s the best place for people to learn more about your company?
You can find out more about Maven Publishing on our website: http://maven-books.com