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Small business chat update – Bob Fowke

11 Jan

mugsMorning! We’re continuing with the updates here with a chat with Bob Fowke from YouCaxton, another mature business steadily building custom and turnover. I first interviewed Bob in 2012, and he updated us on his progress in January 2013. What did he want for the upcoming year? “Steady growth, keeping standards high and retaining respect for our customers”. Fair enough – how did Bob and his print-on-demand publishing company, YouCaxton, do?

Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?

I think so, which is rather amazing. Business has grown and we’ve expanded our range of contacts. Not made a down payment on a yacht as yet, but that’s all for the best, because I don’t sail.

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

We have a vastly improved website. Authors can log on to monitor the progress of their project and to check their account and their sales. We’re creeping up on the big boys when it comes to software and we’ve done it organically. We’ve also gone further in the direction of quality; we want to be known as publishers of the very best self-published books. What’s stayed the same is that it’s still all about books (including e-books) and writing, and that’s still why we’re in the business. We’re probably helping with more e-books than a year ago.

What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?

Looking at my comments of a year ago, I can see the joy of discovery, and unfortunately that can’t be repeated. The greatest pleasure continues to be meeting/interacting with our writers. I’ve learned that writers need a lot of encouragement in the final stages of their project and that most don’t mind being pushed if the end result is a better book. In other words, I’ve learned to be more pushy!

Any more hints and tips for people?

Choose a subject that you’re passionate about and try to write a good book and don’t write with pound signs in your eyes. When it’s finished, get it edited then proofread, proofread and proofread. We still come across too many writers who want to publish before they’re ready.

And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?

We hope that our name will be known for quality at a national level. It’s going to  take more  than a year, but I’d love YouCaxton to be thought of as the Rolls-Royce of self-publishing – and, incidentally, we just published a biography of Charles Rolls and it’s selling very well.

I love this description of a mature business – you can’t repeat the joy of discovery, but there are new, different joys to be found in the long-term and developing relationships with your clients. I know YouCaxton has done a good job producing print-on-demand books for some of my clients (note: I do receive a referral fee if you mention that I’ve sent you over) and I am considering using the company myself if my initial forays into the world of print work out. I look forward to seeing how YouCaxton develops over the coming year, once those authors have been pushed through to publication!

The YouCaxton website is at http://www.youcaxton.co.uk/ and you can find all the requisite contact details there. Bob himself can be found on Twitter.

If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more small business chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured. If you’re considering setting up a new business or have recently done so, why not take a look at my book, Going It Alone At 40: How I Survived my First Year of Full-Time Self-Employment.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on January 11, 2014 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

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5 responses to “Small business chat update – Bob Fowke

  1. Stephen Tiano

    January 11, 2014 at 11:14 am

    Now, look, Bob, I think what you’re doing is great. I’m all for the success of those of us whose business it is to assist self-publishers get into print. However, unless you authored the book on Charles Rolls, for instance, you can’t really be the publisher in SELF-publisher. This loose use of the word “publisher” is one reason why, I think, there’s so much confusion over the whole process.

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  2. Bob Fowke

    January 13, 2014 at 7:43 am

    You’re right of course, but there’s reason for the confusion. We’re unlike most self-publishing services in that we don’t only help writers get into print; we’re intimately involved in the whole process and we continue our involvement after publication, for as long as we feel we can be of use. And in some cases we have a financial involvement and then we’re publishers in the accepted sense of the word, although not self-publishers. We’re also a bit different because we can be quite selective. We discourage people from publishing prematurely and we specialise in memoir and other non-fiction. Nowadays, we’re tending towards the expression ‘independent publishers’ since that covers both self-publishing and other models.

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    • Stephen Tiano

      January 13, 2014 at 4:49 pm

      Yep, good call, Bob–independent publishers is a much better term. And you’d be surprised–actually, I bet you’re not, come to think of it–how many folks seeking to self-publish don’t get the significance of whose name the ISBN is in.

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