No Limit Publishers -- Chris J Snook and Jeremy Brown are a dynamic duo: each is a successful entrepreneur, having created and sold companies before the age of 30.
Now hooked on the Vook, they are pioneers in the video book industry. A Vook blends the text of a book, with video, audio, and Internet linking to enhance the content. With this innovation, a user can read the book, listen to narration, watch videos, connect with the author and friends -- all on one device -- without switching between platforms. Vooks can be viewed on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad by downloading as an app through the Apple iTunes store. Or view it on any web brower by purchasing it through the Vook online store. As Chris says,
We are proud to have been one of the first few publishing partners of Vook and we felt as though they were well poised to become for rich media video books what "Kleenex" is for tissues, and wanted to be one of their major content providers.
We have launched He Calls Me Magpie by Amy Gerber as our inaugural effort and have four more in release stage for Fall 2010. We have more than 20 new titles in production or planned for early 2011 with Vook.
Vook was started by entrepreneur Bradley Inman and launched in October 1, 2009 with four debut titles. One year later, Vook boasts some 100 titles. Partners include No Limit Publishing, Filipacchi publishing, Woman's Day Brand Group, Simon & Schuster, Atria Books, HarperStudio, HarperCollins Publishers, Perseus Books Group, Lark Productions, The Chopra Foundation, Vanguard Press, Waxman Literary Agency, and TurnHere Internet Video.
NLP was founded by Jeremy in December 2008; Chris joined the management team and his TLEC Ventures took a controlling interest January 2010. Since then, the company has opened offices in NY, AZ, CA, added 25 full-time and contract employees, generated more than $1.6 million in new revenues, and added key partnerships with Vook, Google, Perseus Distribution, Baker & Taylor BLIO. NLP is planning to release 25 new titles in the first half of 2011. According to Chris,
No Limit Publishing fills the gaping void in publishing with a full-service model to POSITION, PRODUCTIZE, PROMOTE, and PROFIT with their authors.
How do they do it? With R.A.M.M.P.
R.A.M.M.P. is our proprietary Rising Author Modern Media Program, developed as a collaborative effort with our sister company Parallel6. It customizes a social media and mobile strategy to build crowds, promote and monitor conversations around their brand, and executes on a 12-month campaign pre and post-book launch to maximize transactions of the book, derivative products, and author engagements. When NLP selects an author for our roster and agrees to make the six-figure investment to cover all costs related to the creation, publishing, and positioning of the author, their book(s), and brand, we require that they are committed to invest in their own marketing.
Instead of sending them out to the numerous marketing black holes that aren't working anymore with that budget, we ask that they give our company the contract. We can ensure that not one dime of their often limited, but important budget, is wasted on things that don't move crowds to buy books or products. We expect a double or triple return on their marketing spend as a minimum result over the first 12 months. We won't sign or co-invest in a brand or author we don't expect can clear that minimum hurdle. We are not transactional in our DNA as a company and want to earn long-term relationships that expand over time with our author base. The author's engagement on the R.A.M.M.P side is our way of protecting NLP's simultaneous investment of hard costs into the production of the author, while aligning our interests with our authors' for the mutual success of the endeavor.
The author investment for a team of up to 17 people dedicated to creating, managing, reporting, and executing the strategy starts as low as $5000 per month.
What books have been promoted using R.A.M.M.P?
The funny thing is that although we are in the early stages of launching a R.A.M.M.P. for about five of our new releases as we speak, our best case studies have come from the R.A.M.M.P.ing of other publisher's authors including Susan Whitman Helfgot who is actually published by Simon & Schuster but chose us to do all her modern media marketing after they told her to go find it on her own.
Getting down to dollar and cents of publishing a Vook, one wonders, how does an author make money when the Vook is expensive to create and sells at such low price? According to Chris, NLP pays for the cost of development and distribution related to their author's Vook and co-invests with the author in the overall positioning and marketing of the brand and product suite, of which the Vook is central to the strategy of NLP's viral efforts. The author earns a very strong royalty from NLP on net revenues from each download, but essentially they look at it as a way to engage new readers, new awareness, and create more value for existing readers as a means to further expand their mutual opportunity to build the author's cross-media platform.
What does Chris see in the next year or two for the Vook?
I see more competition from small and large competitors and I see a lot of price testing and volatility on rich-media style books as consumers, publishers, and technology partners establish a sustainable 'market' for these types of derivatives. In the next five years, I see more stability to pricing, a standardizing of digital platforms, every book and author in a rich-media and mobile format, and most importantly, the market for readers/watchers and consumers being expanded because of our mutual industry efforts to bring content to consumers in the ways they wish to consume it.
With new high-profile and debut "thought-leader" authors signing on, such as J. Doug Pruitt, Richard Condit, Jeff Broin, Mike F. Richardson, Rex Gibson, Jonathan Hopp, Chace Unruh, and Amy Gerber, the Vook may be the future version of books and NLP may become a game changer in the publishing world.