Steven Spatz

Steven Spatz
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Steven Spatz is a writer, marketer, and the President of BookBaby, the nation’s leading self publishing services company. Spatz’s professional writing career began at age 13, paid by the word to bang out little league baseball game stories on an ancient manual typewriter for southern Oregon weekly newspapers. His journalism career continued after graduation from the University of Oregon at several daily newspapers in Oregon. When his family took over a direct marketing food business, Spatz redirected his writing and design skills into producing catalogs. The Pinnacle Orchards catalog was named "Best Food Catalog," received dozens of other national awards, and the business grew into one of the nation’s largest gourmet fruit gift businesses. After the company was sold, Spatz continued his direct marketing career with Fortune 500 companies including Mattel and Hasbro. He joined AVL Digital in 2004 to lead the direct-to-consumer marketing teams for music industry-leading brands Disc Makers, Oasis, and CD Baby. After serving as Chief Marketing Officer, Spatz was tapped to lead the company’s new publishing division in late 2014. In 2019, the AVL Digital Management team purchased the New Jersey brands, including BookBaby. The company is headquartered in Pennsauken, NJ (just outside Philadelphia, PA) and meets the printed book and eBook needs of thousands of self-publishing authors around the globe. Spatz lives in Glenside, PA with his two children, a demented cat, and some well-used bicycles. Steven loves to hear from authors, editors, and publishers in the BookBaby community with tales of publishing trials and triumphs. To tell him your story, write to steven@bookbaby.com.

Try before you buy: how BookBaby lets you test drive our book printing services

Print one copy of your bookPrinting a single copy of your book is the best way to proof your text, evaluate your design, and feel assured that you're getting the highest quality book printing available

Try before you buy. There’s not much new about that idea – it’s been out there forever. Test drive that car. Sample that exotic- yet-stinky cheese at the high end deli counter. But how about sampling something personal and unique — like, for instance, your own printed book? That’s what hundreds of authors like Joshua Duttweiler of Houghton College in New York have done. Joshua was the co-founder of a graphic design group called Caffeinated Creative Studio, which provides services for the college and campus users. Joshua is one of many authors who ordered a single copy of their printed book for just $39. And like many others, Joshua placed a much larger print book order as a result of this unique “try before you buy” offer. “Having a chance to buy a hard copy for just $39 was incredibly helpful,” said Joshua. “Our book is a showcase for artists and explaining our mission, and it was important that it looked perfect.” Printing books is a big step for any author. But the stakes are even higher when the product is being used as a tool to help Caffeinated Creative secure more projects. “We were very nervous about buying a lot of printed books. We wanted to see what it would look like in terms of color matching and layouts. We jumped on the deal when we had the chance to get a test copy.” Joshua used the single book to make instant improvements to the project. “We originally chose natural paper color but realized when we saw it in print that it didn’t quite fit, so we changed to white,” he said. “We changed up a few of the layouts after seeing the book. It was really helpful to have a book to mark up.”

The key to your writing career? Ask a faux cable repair guy

Git-R-DoneFor my first post in the new year, here’s a little story for anyone who has yet to publish a book: A failed comic strip artist, a faux cable repair guy, and you walk into a bookstore. OK,OK…so it sounds like the start of a bad joke. It isn’t, I assure you. Just stay with me: The comic strip guy, Jeff Kinney, goes to the children’s book section and sees an entire shelf of his “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series. The books already look well used; probably dozens of kids have already thumbed through them without buying. The cable guy – otherwise known as comic Larry the Cable Guy – walks to the comedy book section. Near the shelf full of Dave Barry, Tina Fey and even Grumpy Cat he finds a single dusty copy of “GIT–R-DONE”, his 2006 New York Times best seller. (Yes, really.) As for you….well, that’s where the story ends. Because your book isn’t on these — or any other — shelves. Because you’re not an author. At least not today. Every time the calendar rolls over and adds a digit, the media is full of ...

All in the family: the powerful connection between CD Baby and BookBaby

5 Star Points for Success“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life.” RICHARD BACH, Illusions When we launched BookBaby back in 2011 we had a strategy to get the word out about our new brand: “Book Barnstorming” – traveling across the country to book fairs, trade shows, author conferences and more. The BookBaby team pitched our products and services to thousands of would-be authors, talking up our global eBook distribution, our payout of 100% of net sales back to authors, and all the rest. Most folks listened politely, nodded pleasantly – and little more than that. Invariably there was one key line in our pitch that turned the conversation around: “Our sister company is CD Baby, the indie music giant….” “Oh! CD Baby!,” they would exclaim, suddenly more engaged. “Of course! I know them!” And the lights would go on. People would launch into their own stories about buying music from CD Baby or how their brother’s band has their music on the website, and a 100 more stories like it. Connection made: BookBaby was already part of the family.

BookBaby leaves eBook authors with no choice. Thank goodness!

Self publishing for authorsRed, blue or green? Large, medium or small? No matter what we’re talking about, most people love having choices. Fifty seven varieties. Thirty one flavors. Bring it on! In fact, the more the choices, the better. Right? Well, not always. And that’s why BookBaby has decided to go against the grain this week with our new and improved eBook publishing offer. We’ve gone from three eBook packages to just one. And authors will be better off because of it. People who make it their business to study stuff like this have long known that having too many choices is a bad thing. Psychologist Barry Schwartz coined the term “The Paradox of Choice" in his 2004 book and theorized why more is less when confronted with too many options. But were three options too many? Yes - at least it was for the authors we serve best, and here’s why:
BookBaby customer service

You’ve got questions? We’ve got answers.

Here’s a small sample of some of the questions received at BookBaby customer service:

Giving back via technology

Giving back: cloud-based library lending and literacy programs My post a few weeks ago about “Giving Back” within the author community received a few nice messages. I thought I’d share one with you all:
Hi Steven, I just read your wonderful article on the Book Baby Blog. You are correct in your assessment in that there are many ways authors can give back. We have incredible author ambassadors that do a lot of good to promote our work. One of our authors recently donated all of her royalties to our work and ensured the publisher added details of our work to the dust jacket which has given us great exposure. I was wondering if you could make special mention of the fact that as a digital library they no longer need to go to the expense of providing hard copies. They can simply donate their digital book files and we protect them and distribute to our readers across the developing world. People are so used to donating physical books that it’s not something they think too much about yet.

Have your say – the DBW Writer’s Survey

Want to know how authors are coping in today’s changing publishing landscape? Yeah, so do we! So that’s why we’re inviting BookBaby authors to have their say in the annual Author Survey. Conducted each year by our friends at Digital Book World, the survey has helped discover and explore some of the new emerging trends and patterns in both traditional and self publishing. You can click HERE to start the survey. It’s about 65 questions long and takes 15 minutes or so to complete. (Psst — Be sure to list the BookBaby Blog as how you found out about it!)

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