Nearly two years after its acquisition of Davies-Black and a decade after its purchase of Intercultural Press in Yarmouth, Maine, London-based Nicholas Brealey Publishing is coming into its own as a full-fledged U.S. publisher acquiring books on this side of the ocean. "Davies-Black was the puzzle piece that made everything fit, and it made the Nicholas Brealey footprint bigger," said v-p and editorial director Erika Heilman. As a result in 2009, Brealey's Boston-based U.S. operation not only doubled its list but nearly doubled its revenue.
As it happens, one of Brealey's big books for the fall, the second edition of Scott Eblin's The Next Level, which coaches executives how to succeed in their new roles by knowing what behaviors to let go of, is one the press originally lost to Davies-Black. For the Brealey edition, Eblin did a new round of interviews with international executives and revised 30% to 40% of the material. Since its release in hardcover on October 19 with a 5,000-copy first printing, The Next Level has already gone back to press for another 3,000–5,000 copies. Kevin Small of Result Source and Daniel Decker of Higher Level Group are doing a marketing campaign that includes a blitz to the top 500 business Web sites, social networking, and e-mail promotions to 300,000 book buyers.
Heilman anticipates more big books as Brealey establishes itself as a publishing center in the U.S., albeit a small one, with 28 titles across the U.S./U.K. group this year, up from 15 in 2009. "Post Davies-Black," said Heilman, "we've been able to get new projects in leadership, coaching, and the big ideas in business. That opened up some doors for us; it was a tipping point." One example she cites is Chuck Martin's The Third Screen: Marketing to Your Customers in a World Gone Mobile, due out next spring with a 10,000-copy first printing. "It's nice to see interesting projects coming our way from all kinds of sources: authors, agents, and referrals," said Heilman. "And one of the things that has struck me is how many projects seem to come down to the choice between our small international indie house and a large one. We win some, we lose some. But it's gratifying to be in the running."
Despite the boost that Brealey has gotten from its latest acquisition, the press is in the midst of phasing out the Davies-Black name. Backlist titles will continue to be sold under the imprint, but as they are reissued they will have the Brealey name and colophon, as will new business titles. However, Brealey will continue to publish intercultural titles under Intercultural Press, especially books with a business tie. In fact, Brealey is trying to broaden IP's reach by making it available to the trade for the first time through National Book Network, which has represented Brealey books for a number of years.
Brealey is also promoting all of its books through its revamped Web site, which will go live in November and will offer customers a chance to buy e-books and print books, and to buy both in bulk. In addition, the press is active on both Facebook and Twitter, and has made its blog more relevant by focusing on the challenges of being an independent publisher. It is also one of the few presses to provide oversight for its authors' Web sites.
All in all, said NBN president Rich Freese, "what Brealey has shown is nice, organic growth. By bringing in the Boston office and layering Davies-Black on top of that, they're behaving like an American publisher. And they've established the credibility in the marketplace to get bigger books."