Living its Values

Posted by Peggy Holman

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I feel spoiled. As an author, all I've known is a great publisher who approaches its work so that all involved benefit. With three books (well, two editions of one book plus a second book), I've had the pleasure of working with Berrett-Koehler since 1997. I've known other publishers only through stories from friends who have published with them. The contrast is startling. A story from another BK author illustrates the difference: He was talking to two potential publishers. One stuck to questions related to marketability. While BK asked those questions too, they began by getting to know him, his motivations, what the book was about and why it mattered. In short, BK considered not just marketability but also the humanity behind the books it publishes.

What I respect most about BK is that they live the values of the books they publish. With Steve Piersanti's stewardship, BK tries stuff, learns from it, and continually evolves. They've hosted Open Space meetings, World Cafes, Future Searches, and more. All processes in books they've published.

I particularly value BK's author day and reader review process. What important investments in the people and books! The author day made the staff real people to me so that I knew more about the folks I worked with. And they got to know something about me and my book. That human touch makes for a better product in the short run and a healthier relationship in the long run. I know my books are better because the drafts went through the 4 or 5 readers BK worked with me to select on their way to completion.

What other publisher supports a community of its authors to meet every year? BK grows not just by being willing to experiment with new forms, like magazines or pamphlets (which didn't ultimately work out) and digital (which did). It also grows because of the relationships it fosters among its authors and other stakeholders.

One last area of appreciation that comes to mind: feedback to would-be authors. I've lost count of the number of writer friends with a worthy book looking for a publisher that I've referred to BK. Whether interested in publishing them or not, Jeevan has always made the time to provide specific feedback. What a generous gift in a field where there's far more material than time to consider it.

In sum, BK rocks. I feel blessed to have stumbled into them almost 20 years ago.

 

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Steve Piersanti
Steve Piersanti
December 23, 2015 Thank you, Peggy. You've touched on a lot of the things that matter to BK. We appreciate the many other authors you've referred to BK, and we're glad that they found value in our interactions even if we were not able to publish their books.