Steve Piersanti: Publishing Hero of the Week

Because it’s Prospect Park’s tenth anniversary, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I got here, and how my co-workers, authors, and I have navigated the many, many obstacles that make book publishing one of the most challenging businesses out there. Other than trial and error, I’ve learned almost everything from others who are smarter and more experienced than me. So for ten weeks, I am thanking ten publishing heroes who have helped me get here—even if I’ve never met him or her. Here’s the first: Steve Piersanti.
stevepiersanti

Who He Is

The founder and president of Berrett-Koehler, a trade publisher in Oakland that focuses on business, personal-finance, and personal growth books. I met Steve at a PubWest conference a few years back—he gave a stirring and profoundly inspirational talk and was generous enough to share more wisdom privately afterwards.

What He’s Known For

Strong ethics; author focus and partnerships; outstanding communications; and collegiality.

Three Things He Taught Me

1. Just because Simon & Schuster has a 12-page contract jammed with complicated language doesn’t mean all publishers need to do that. Be clear, use simple language, and be author-friendly.
2. Coach and support your authors so they become better marketers and support each other in the process. B-K offers on-site marketing training, off-site guidance, and an annual retreat for all of its authors.
3. Be heartfelt and honest in your communications. Steve is famous for this post: The 10 Awful Truths About Book Publishing. And despite all those negativities, his publishing house has thrived—and he’s helped inspire Prospect Park to grow.

One Book to Buy

Overcoming Bias, by Tiffany Jana and Matthew Freeman

 

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