Sharing Techniques of Publishing

Hancox, Ralph
June 2005
Nieman Reports;Summer2005, Vol. 59 Issue 2, p108
This article presents a narrative of how the author in assisted Indonesian nonprofit book publisher Yayasan Obor Indonesia (YOI) to identify its training needs and help develop business strategies to bring the enterprise to self-sufficiency. Through interviews in 1996 of people involved in the Indonesian publishing industry, we established the focus for this training endeavor. Two training sessions were then set up in 1997, with a concluding off-site workshop in 1998. Seven managers attended the initial organizational seminar in preparation for the staff workshop to follow. It opened with an analysis of the purpose and mission of YOI, as well as its publishing and business strategies. What became clear is that careful team management was required for the entire publishing process to be efficient. I was to get across to these managers the notion that bad communications was not a disease but rather a symptom of rigid division of functions and the urge to blame others for failure. Our discussions dealt with the publishing process from the acquisition of intellectual property to its production and sale and the need for every segment of the operation to fit in the total sequence required to get the publication out on time. The editorial tasks and deadlines involved had to take an integrated critical path approach if sales and marketing were to reach the designated reading public on time. Reducing unit costs by upping the print run was the road to certain perdition. The following staff workshop produced drafts of business requirements and human resource work summaries. Statistical analysis and title break-even techniques were used to determine what sales levels would have been and would, in the future, be needed to cover both fixed and production costs for every title published so far and for those already planned for.


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