I mentioned Savas Beatie in a recent post and said that its prospects seemed good based on the titles whose sales I follow through the wholesaler Ingram.
Founder Theodore Savas was, as it happens, interviewed by a blogger earlier this month and said then that he tries to do the bulk of his selling outside of bookstore channels. That would be outside of my Ingram metric, my way of measuring success. Put another way, I inadvertently looked at the least part of his sales and pronounced them stronger than the main part of some trade titles' sales.
I'm not sure he is giving the whole recipe for his secret sauce in this interview, but the points that struck me were:
* Identify the lack first and then hunt up or commission the best ms
* Work only with hard-working authors
* Maintain a collaborative culture
* Insist on an author's website with fresh content
* Craft better books - in terms of total package - than competitors
* Leverage small networks
* Treat the bookstore as your venue of last resort
* Leave "remainders" out of your plans.
An aside: I have noticed that since Savas Beatie picked up the Army of the Potomac series, Da Capo, publisher of the first two titles in the series, has kept the series in stock in the major chains. When they first came out, it was hit or miss to find either volume. But in the last six months I have never been in a store where both are not on the shelf together. It takes attention, nagging, and muscle to keep books shelved in retail outlets and Da Capo seems to be working for a payoff riding sales strength to be provided by Savas Beatie when the third volume comes out next month.
Look at the interview. This Q&A was a multipart posting: part 1, part2, part3, part4.