April 7, 2013

Author Q & A: Leisurely talk

Two new books from Sellers Publishing in South Portland aim to help people make the most of their retirement years.

By Bob Keyes bkeyes@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

Q: So you assembled some books to help?

A: Yes, we did. Exactly. 

Q: When you launch a project like this, how do you identify contributors you would like to use? And after you do that, how do you recruit them? What is your pitch? In other words, how do you get people like Jimmy Carter and Gloria Steinem on board?

A: I go on the Internet looking at every retirement website I can find. I am looking for retirees who have compelling, inspiring stories and who also have the ability to write well. And I also find retirement experts who have something new to say.

It takes about nine months for each book, and I send out 200 requests. Many do not know me at all. I am calling cold. I just ask if they would be interested in contributing an essay. With Jimmy Carter, I found an essay he had written 10 years ago about his stellar retirement for Business Week. I asked his press secretary if we could use it, and she said not only could we use it, but he would update it. So that was obviously great. It was something fresh and different. 

Q: You seem to be getting some national attention. What sort of buzz is there about these books right now?

A: The Wall Street Journal did a story after the first book came out last year. The story ran in December 2012, and when that story hit, we were already in our fourth printing. But it brought a lot of national attention to this book as well as the travel book. We've done a lot of media lately. We're getting a lot of attention. We're hearing from a lot of media sources, which makes sense. The topic is timely and interesting to a lot of people right now. 

Q: It must be good for Sellers Publishing. I know you used to be on Commercial Street in Portland, because I drove by your building almost every day. Where are you now? How long have you worked for Sellers? What is its niche?

A: We're out on John Roberts Road in South Portland now. We're comprised of three divisions: Books, calendars and greeting cards. In our book division, we do only nonfiction, and our categories include lifestyles, gift books, craft books and books that could be given as gifts, things like that.

I started with Sellers in January 2008. We're an independent publisher, and we were cited by Publishers Weekly for being the among the fastest-growing independent publishers in the country, four years in a row. So things are going pretty well right now.

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or:



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