Good day, my new friends. I’m Rick Benzel, a publishing veteran with 40+ years in the book industry. Thanks for taking the time to check in with my blog. Let me introduce myself.
I began my career in educational publishing with Houghton Mifflin and Allyn & Bacon back in the 1970s and 1980s. I am perhaps one of the few editors to have started my career in textbooks and transitioned into trade publishing. After moving from Boston to Los Angeles, I spent five years at Jeremy P. Tarcher, learning from Jeremy himself, one of the most noted publishing visionaries of that era. His team created some of the leading New Age books of the 1980s and 90s, including Women Who Love Too Much, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, and The Artist’s Way, the last of which I edited.
Since 1992, I’ve run my own company doing editing, ghostwriting and helping new authors produce great book proposals that have sold to companies like Jossey Bass, Wiley, Palgrave Macmillan, Contemporary, Kensington, McGraw Hill, and a few publishers that are no longer around. I’ve helped my authors get advances ranging from 5K to 50K.
In recent years, I’ve moved increasingly towards helping authors self-publish—because the business logic of self-publishing makes a lot of sense. You get your book out 3x to 5x as fast (months compared to years), you control everything from your title to your cover design to your marketing strategy, and you keep far more of the profits. The technology behind self-publishing keeps getting better, giving you more opportunities to become as successful an author as any traditional New York publisher would do for you.
I’m starting this blog to share with my readers the insights and, if you will, wisdom I’ve gained about books over my decades in the publishing world. I’ve edited literally hundreds of books, ghostwritten about fifteen, and authored a few of my own as well. I will be sharing my perspectives as a highly seasoned editor, ghostwriter, and now self-publishing company founder to help you write and publish your book. But I’m also not against traditional publishing—so what you will get from me are insights into both options. I like to say I can bring New York style traditional publishing thinking into the self-publishing world – and not very many editors can do that for you.
What I especially love are new ideas and stories that have the power to improve the world, to teach us to be smarter, more effective, more productive, more creative, or just better people. My years in traditional publishing molded me as an editor who cannot stop searching for great ideas that have the potential to become the next bestseller that impacts tens or hundreds of thousands of people. My favorite expression is “There’s a book idea in that.” My strengths are helping authors flesh out the germ of their idea into the chapters of a real book, and teaching you how to write fantastic prose that engages readers, tells a great story, and/or persuades people to take action to build a better world.
Feel free to post a comment here, send me a note about your great ideas, or shoot me an email question about your book project or about traditional vs. self-publishing. Stay tuned for my next blog: Should You Self-Publish Your Great Idea—or Get an Agent?
- authoring a book
- book design
- building reputation
- manuscript development
- online content
- PDF articles
- strategic use of publishing
- thought leadership
- value of publishing
- writing coach
- writing retreats