A small publisher with a string of bestselling business books has hopes for similar success in the diet arena. Bard Press, based in Austin, Tex., with a full-time staff of exactly one (Ray Bard), will release The Full Plate Diet: Slim Down, Look Great, Be Healthy! in time for the diet book crunch, on January 4. The book, written by two physicians and a nutritionist who are all affiliated with the nonprofit Lifestyle Center of America, advocates eating a fiber-heavy diet in order to lose weight. Bard tried it himself and lost 30 pounds, and is banking on Full Plate's success—he plans to ship some 85,000 copies.
Bard Press author Roy Williams (The Wizard of Ads and other books), who is also the marketing strategist for the Lifestyle Center of America, introduced Full Plate authors Stuart A. Seale, Teresa Sherard, and Diana Fleming to Bard. “I said, 'I do business books, I don't do diet books,'” Bard told PW. But he was attracted to the book's simple premise, and after reviewing the proposal with Michael Sullivan, v-p of sales at National Book Network, which distributes Bard's books, he signed the authors. Full Plate is Seale and Fleming's third book together, after having published two books with Penguin, The 30-Day Diabetes Miracle and its companion cookbook. Although they and Sherard may not initially seem to align with Bard's stable of authors—many of whom have established business platforms—they have built an impressive Web site and are connected to social networking outlets; Bard has sent out thousands of galleys to help raise their profile.
The 13-year-old company publishes only one or two books a year, many of them business bestsellers, topped by The Little Red Book of Selling, released in 2004, which has sold more than one million copies through the trade and special markets. Fourteen of the 27 new titles Bard has published have hit national bestseller lists, despite his being the press's only full-time employee.
NBN's early projection for Full Plate, priced at $19.95, was 40,000 copies, but with orders approaching 70,000, Bard has now gone back to press (in China—the book is a full-color hardcover) three times and plans to ship between 80,000 and 85,000 copies. Bard said Sullivan told him, “This has been an unusual book; most every account has come in higher than expected.”