Stay tuned! Oak Tree Press authors, as well as Simon & Schuster authors, will be receiving an e-mail later today further elaborating the terms of a new deal Publisher Billie Johnson negotiated.
A new ship is a-sail in the business world with a new name: The S.S. Oak Tree Press is the name Billie Johnson registered for her newly expanded company. Now you know what’s really behind the OTP website’s new look!
In a bold move that stunned the publishing world, Johnson acquired Simon and Schuster, a subsidiary of the CBS Corporation. This acquisition will allow her to further develop the paranormal branch of Oak Tree Press by adding author Stephen King to her line-up. She expects a bump in that small line that will help support other lines she will be adding.
Lisa Genova’s Still Alice will be a cornerstone of the new women’s fiction line, Strong Oak. Oak Branches is a new line for writing craft/writing-as-business books. Development is underway for Oak Chips, a new line for hobbies and crafts.
A small company acquiring a larger press is virtually unheard of, but Ms. Johnson went straight to Simon and Schuster’s Board of Directors with her proposal, and with her acknowledged powers of persuasion showed them how to increase the value of their company through her acquisition. In New York, the bottom line is always the bottom line.
It is no secret in the NY publishing world that major companies are struggling to survive. Out-of-proportion advances have nearly bankrupted some companies and the small percentage of sales revenue given authors have caused some authors to seek other publishers and even turn to indie publishing.
In a move meant to stave off desertion of major writers, Johnson is bringing her business plan to New York.
The major elements of the business plan, include a fair royalty rate for all authors because the massive overhead and bloat of the NY business model will be eliminated. Small coordinated teams will provide support services from acquisition through publication for a particular group of authors, replicating on a large scale how Ms. Johnson has operated OTP from its inception.
Additionally, authors will have Ms. Johnson’s e-mail address for ready access to the highest-level officer of the company. By taking Simon and Schuster to a privately-held company again, it returns to its roots as an author-focused publisher.
Another feature of the new company is a 12-month marketing plan from every author every time a new title is signed. “Authors should not be allowed to coast on name alone. All authors should participate in the marketing and promotion of his or her works,” Johnson said.
“We can provide support services for authors through the talents of Jeana Lomprez, Marilyn Olsen, and Jesus Martinez. Each will head a division of the larger company, with the more talented New York workers retained and others let go. We can do more with less because we always have.”
The stock price for ticker CBS reached a five-year high yesterday after leaks of the acquisition reverberated in the marketplace.