Concierge Marketing, Inc. 3/14/13 03/14/13 8:53:12 AM
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President and CEO Lisa Pelto (left) and her team show off some of their design skills at Concierge Marketing, Inc. – Photo by Jim Ferguson
By Dan McCann
Concierge Marketing, Inc.
Omaha ‘Ghost Publisher’ Honored as
Chamber Small Business of the Month
The Daily Record
From concept to keyboard to bookstore shelves, authors have found an ally in the Greater Omaha Chamber’s Small Business of the Month for March. Founded in 2004, Concierge Marketing, Inc. (CMI) is an award-winning and self-described “book shepherd and ghost publisher.”
CMI works with authors to develop, publish and market books that can be distributed and sold anywhere. But, as one of only a handful of “ghost publishers,” it does everything in the client’s name. Authors own their publishing company, the copyright and all of the publishing rights.
“We love creating great books for our clients to share with their readers, and we pride ourselves on our ability to counsel our clients to think of their new publishing venture as a business,” said president and CEO Lisa Pelto.
She added, “Publishing a book is not only a very personal experience, but it is one of the more vulnerable times in a person’s life. There is an almost always-present triangle of fear.”
The first point of the triangle: “Can/should I tell this story?” or “Am I enough of an expert to write this book or will I make a fool of myself?”
The second point: “Will anybody care? Will anyone buy it?”
The third point, which, Pelto said, stops a lot of would-be authors: “Am I a good enough writer? Will I look stupid if I don’t put the commas in the right place?”
“We always say, ‘We can’t tell your story for you, but we can help you with everything else. You tell the story, you drive the car. We’ll be the mechanics and get it onto the showroom floor,’” explained Pelto.
She said CMI does everything a large publishing house does in three major phases: compliance; product development; and marketing, public relations and visibility.
Compliance involves naming and setting up the publishing house, from account setup in all of the selling channels, to complete distribution plans, to ISBNs and copyright forms, to logo design and publishing strategy.
Product Development encompasses everything from concepting, editing, design and layout to ebook programming, audiobooks and printing. CMI also assists with title development, research, endorsements and reviews, award submissions, foreign rights and trade shows.
“We also offer comprehensive marketing and PR services to get the author and his book out to his reader. We help devise marketing plans and teach authors how to execute them,” said Pelto.
Between jobs at the time, Pelto founded CMI in her basement more than eight years ago, harnessing nearly three decades of printing and independent publishing experience. The company has since expanded into office space in southwest Omaha with a staff of five.
“That first year, I had three clients,” she said. “Now, we’re helping around 30 authors a year become small publishers and produce their books in the process, all while maintaining the accounts of our established clients.”
The Concierge team, said Pelto, is dedicated to the success of each client, whatever the author’s definition of success may be.
• JP Hansen had two goals: To be #1 on Amazon (which happened in January with Pink Slips and Glass Slippers); and to sell his book, The Bliss List, to a major publisher (which happened recently to Readers’ Digest Publishing).
• For Tom Becka, success meant getting his book, There’s No Business Without the Show, into print, leading to speaking opportunities.
• Steve Fischer is releasing his second book this year. His previous book, When the Mob Ran Vegas, a London Book Festival winner, is now in its 15th printing. CMI also produced an audiobook and has sold hardcover rights as well as foreign rights in three languages.
Other CMI clients have won numerous prestigious awards – from Jeff Beals’s coveted IBPA Ben Franklin “Bill Fisher Best First Book Award” (among five other national awards) to Janie Peterson’s and Kelly Wels’ seals of approval from numerous parenting organizations.
“There are hundreds of success stories, and hundreds of definitions of success for authors – the key is unlocking what that is for each client,” said Pelto.
Pelto said her fulfillment comes from helping authors define their goals and achieve their success – and from getting to know their hopes and dreams, passions and life stories along the way. Being recognized by the Greater Omaha Chamber is another nice reward.
“It is a huge honor to be among the other innovative businesses that are encouraged to grow and thrive in our great city,” she said. “It’s amazing to be recognized for the thousands of hours we have devoted to our business, our clients, and our community. It feels great!”