Peter Beren

Peter Beren - Marketer

San Francisco, CA, USA

Publisher, Marketing, Director, Acquisitions Editor & Agent: I've been helping authors achieve their goals for more than four decades .

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Overview

"Peter is a problem solver. He has an extraordinary depth of experience, as well as innate street smarts, a fabulous mind, a great contact network and, above all, creativity and integrity, it's a pleasure to work with him." ---Lena Tabori, Publisher.

Today, authors need to collaborate with publishers in marketing their books. I will put my 42 years of publishing experience to work for you, developing effective marketing strategies to support your books.

I'm a Literary Agent and Publishing and Marketing Consultant, a former Publisher and Marketing Director (Sierra Club Books), Acquisitions Editor and Marketing Consultant (Jeremy Tarcher), and Author (The Writers Legal Companion). I have been on both sides of the desk.

16 years experience working with Random House (Sierra Club's co-publisher and master distributor), 10 years experience as a literary agent and publishing and marketing consultant, with projects published by leading houses like Random House, Simon & Schuster, Harmony and Penguin as well as mid-sized houses like Chronicle Books, New World Library and Avalon.

Authors included musician Jerry Garcia, photographers Art Wolfe, Frans Lanting and Galen Rowell; Chakra expert Anodea Judith and world-class, UFO authority Jacques Vallee, recently a host for the Project Blue Book documentary series for the History Channel, currently a technical advisor to a UFO documenatry film slated for theatrical release, and author of more than a dozen books on the subject.

Building on my in-depth experience, we will work together, tie-in with current trends, relevant organizations, key media and opinion leaders. We will lead with your strengths and I will put you out there with a strategic marketing plan in place.
<>After all, as Zero Mostel said: "If you got it, flaunt it."
Non-Fiction
Biographies & Memoirs
Entertainment
Music
Nature
Photography
Religion & Spirituality
Self-help & Self-improvement
Sex & Relationships

Certifications

  • BACT in email marketing.

Awards

  • IABC Merit Award for Communication Excellence

Work experience

CEO

An Independent Publishing Company
May, 2008 – Present (over 11 years)

Agent and Publishing/Marketing Consultant helping authors clarify and achieve their publishing goals.

Worked on such robust projects as, Zen and the Art of Making a Living (275,00 copies sold, Penguin) and Raising a Daughter ( 235,000 copies sold, Ten Speed Press/Random House). Over the years, I have performed 100 free-lance publishing and marketing consultations, each lasting from 1 Hour to several months.

Vice-President

Insight Editions
June, 2003 – May, 2008 (almost 5 years)

Responsible for all marketing functions of this San Rafael, California-based publisher, distributed by Simon & Schuster. Publisher of such entertainment titles as Born to Run: The Unseen Photos, Jerry Garcia: Collected Artwork, Dressing A Galaxy: The Costumes of Star Wars. Developed tie-in books with Lucasfilm, Ltd., Dreamworks, Twentieth Century Fox and the Jerry Garcia Estate. Insight's cutting-edge marketing approach applied fine art production values to pop culture subjects. Boomer nostalgia was another powerful marketing engine for Insight. Boomers have reached a stage in life where they have disposable income and a great longing for their glory days in the Sixties and Seventies. And there are 78 million Boomers, more or less.

Publisher

VIA Books
November, 1999 – April, 2003 (over 3 years)

Founding Director of VIA Books, I was responsible for marketing the book publishing division's new releases to the 4 million members of the California State Automobile Association (CSAA). Distributed to the Trade by Andrews McMeel, VIA Books' award-winning publications were also on sale in general bookstores and used as premiums for the Travel, Membership and Insurance departments.

Acquisitions Editor & Marketing Consultant (Independent Contractor)

Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc.
August, 1986 – June, 1991 (almost 5 years)

Retained as a consultant for business development by this leading Los Angeles-based publisher of 'Best-Sellers from the West Coast' ( Women who Love Too Much, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, The Aquarian Conspiracy, The Artist's Way) for a period of 5 years while I was also employed by Sierra Club Books. I worked as an independent contractor, freelancing on weekends, nights and vacation days (with my employer's permission).

My titles included many 100,000 + copy-sellers: When Someone You Love Has a Mental Illness, A Time to Heal: The Road to Recovery for Adult Children of Alcoholics, Smart Love, The Art and Practice of Love and Dream Wisdom, .

Jeremy Tarcher was an acknowledged marketing genius. Just look at the way he titled his mega-hit, Women Who Love Too Much, a NYTBR best-seller. This self-help guide was titled in such a way that women who suffered from this condition would not be ashamed to be seen carrying the book (especially up to the cash register). He was my mentor.

Publisher & Marketing Director

Sierra Club Books
May, 1981 – January, 1998 (over 16 years)

Positions held at Sierra Club (16 years): Marketing Director, Licensing Director, Publisher. Published 65 new titles each year with a staff of 24. Managed all activities of Sierra Club Books, the publishing division of one of the nation's oldest and largest grassroots environmental organizations.

Co-published one million Sierra Club Calendars annually with Random House. Responsible for marketing San Francisco Chronicle Bay Area best-sellers: Material World (140,00 copies sold), Women in the Material World (110,000 copies sold) and Bay Area Wild (125,000 copies sold).

We hit several regional best-seller lists (including San Francisco, Denver and Los Angeles) with our (pardon the pun) groundbreaking titles, Edible Landscaping and Cooking from the Garden, both by Roz Creasy, these two titles sold between 100,000 and 200,000 copies each and were well-received and widely reviewsed. Other best-sellers included Dream of the Earth , the first book on Eco-Theology, Mountain Light and Mountains of the Middle Kingdom by Galen Rowell ( often called "the new Ansel Adams") plus the perennial guidebook favorites: Hiking the Grand Canyon, Walking Softly in the Wilderness and Adventuring in San Francisco.

Working in conjunction with the licensing division of Lucasfilm, Ltd., I spearheaded an innovative program to create educational and stationery products under license to such companies as Microsoft, Milton-Bradley, and Random House, Inc. to tie-in with the Club's Centennial in 1992. This initiative resulted in a significant new income stream for the Club and the title "Licensing Director" was added to my portfolio along with Publisher and Marketing Director.

Projects

Earth Is My Witness

The title of this retrospective of master photographer, Art Wolfe, is a statement attributed to the Buddha at the moment of his enlightenment. Retailing for $95.00, it still sold out its first printing within 6 months of publication. Essentially, "Art Wolfe's Greatest Hits", it had numerous small and large gallery exhibits, here and abroad., in San Francisco a launch event was held at the prestigious California Academy of Sciences and the title was translated into several languages through multi-national co-editions that were all printed at the same time with black-and-white text plate changes for each language. There were several editions of tie-in calendars here and abroad, and last, but not least, four major excerpts in national magazines including American Photographer and Outdoor Photographer. These excerpts ran to several pages of photos each and were on-stand before publication, creating a lot of advance "buzz" for the book. Earth is my Witness was named one of the "Best Photo Books of the Year" by American Photographer. The following year it was followed up by a smaller format, abridged edition which sold for less than half the price of the original, and also sold out.

Zen and the Art of Making a Living

Taoist scholar and life coach, Laurence Boldt, has assembled a definitive career guide that eases the transition into the work force. More than 250,000 copies sold and published by Penguin Arkana. I found this book in a bookstore in Berkeley in a self-published edition with a slightly different title (Zen and the Art of Making a Living in the Post-Modern World). I wrote to the author and he agreed to let me find a traditional publishing deal for him. I made a marketing pitch for Penguin to take a pre-emptive bid based on the demographics of the audience and Penguin went for it. Laurence went on to publish two other best-sellers with Penguin: Zen Soup and How to Find The Work You Love, each selling over 100,000 copies.

Trolls

Considered to be two of the world's leading fantasy artists, the husband and wife team of Brian and Wendy Froud, present portraits of the dark, yet somehow familiar, visages of Trolls. Packaged by Insight for Abrams Books. The Frouds' classic work, Dark Crystal, is now a major motion picture. Because they are world-class, they have a large following. To reach the core markets and enlist their following to support the book, I hooked up with Robert Gould. His company, Imaginosis, puts on fantasy cons and fairs in cities around the U.S.

Uncommon Sense for Parents with Teens

This breakout volume of parenting wisdom by the charismatic teen counselor, Michael Riera, a guest on Oprah, has more than 125,000 copies in print. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House. In creating the marketing brief, I worked closely with Mike's publicist (he hired his own). The plan called for a regional broadcast media approach to capitalize and amplify his charisma. Mike showed Boomer Parents, dealing with their own teenagers ,how to balance their desire to be more liberal than their parents were and, yet, still prod their kids into high achievement.

Raising a Son and Raising a Daughter

Two titles from parenting gurus, Don and Jeanne Elium. Each one has more than 200,000 copies in print. The couple also authored Raising a Teen and Raising a Family in the same series. All published by Ten Speed Press, now a division of Random House, Inc, The marketing plan called for live appearances as well as TV and Radio. The Eliums were successful because they spoke to their audiences as they would to friends in their kitchen. I encouraged them to be folksy and direct, to do what they did best, tell great stories. And, it worked.

Eastern Body, Western Mind

With more than 200,000 copies in print, this is Chakra expert Anodea Judith's best-selling guide combining Eastern wisdom with Western psychology. Published by Ten Speed Press/Random House. The credit for the marketing success of this title, must go to the author who does over 180 live presentations and workshops throughout North America each year. I had a supportive role as in the marketing of this title which was published by the Ten speed Press imprint of Random House, and also suggested adding her "Ph.D." to her book ''s cover because the subject matter was a bit "New Age" and the use of her doctorate would ground her image and help establish her authority. Eastern Body, Western Mind is a superstar in Ten Speed's backlist and a good example of how an author can support their own book.

Into Africa

Exhibited at the Smithsonian by National Geographic in conjunction with the National Wildlife Federation, this collection of the best of Frans Lanting's 30 years of African photography showcases some of the most outstanding wildlife photos ever taken. Published by Insight Editions. I helped set-up a launch reception at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, working in conjunction with the author who was in Santa Cruz.

California the Beautiful

Galen Rowell's stunning photography complements quotes from residents and visitors to the Golden State. Published by Rizzoli, 75,000 copies in print. I am the co-author of this book., I supplied the text. It was originally published by Welcome Books and later sold to Rizzoli.

I mounted a regional tour and arranged for a special sale to the California State Department of Tourism, who continued to carry the book year in and year out; and promote it as well. Galen (often called "the new Ansel Adams") died in a private plane crash, with his wife Barbara, just as the book came out. When they died it was front page news in the San Francisco Chronicle, the Los Angeles Times as well as the New York Times. Condolence messages flooded in from around the world, directed to the Rowell's famous gallery, Mountain Light, then located in the Eastern Sierra region. The Tibetan Parliament declared a period of mourning and issued a pronouncement that began, "The Tibetan people have lost a great friend."

Jerry Garcia: Collected Artwork

A compendium of the legendary musician's paintings, drawings and prints with editorial contributions by Bob Dylan, Santana, Paul Pena, Jon Carroll and Herb Gold. Published by Insight Editions/Avalon. After Jerry Garcia passed, sales of consumer products based on his paintings zoomed. More than a million "Jerry Garcia Neckties were sold" plus sheets, shower curtains, PJ's, underwear and so forth. I was the project director for the House and wrote the marketing plan.

Highlights of my marketing plan included special sales to the Jerry Garcia web site (run by the Estate) as well as the Grateful Dead web site, hitting the core market. If you can energize the hard-core fans, they can become ambassadors for the book and that's what happened here.

I was also the point person for a lavish launch party which was held at night at San Francisco City Hall with the Mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom, as the guest of honor. All City flags (and many private ones) were flown at half mast after Jerry passed, by the way. We invited local and national media, opinion leaders and Deadhead personalities (like Wavy Gravy). Mickey Hart ran a drum circle. We had an open bar for beer and wine. It was a memorable evening and a great launch.

Dressing a Galaxy: The Costumes of Star Wars

A complete collection, with more than 300 color images, of the costumes of the first three Star Wars classic movies (Star Wars, Revenge of the Jedi, The Empire Strikes Back) by the master costume designer, Tricia Biggar. Packaged by Insight for publication by Abrams.

Originally, this was supposed to be a biography of Tricia Biggar. My idea was to move it to personal memoir, changing the market by giving it a more "you are there" approach, and moving it out of the biography category. This made it more appealing to Star Wars fans because it was a first person memoir by the actual person who designed all the costumes.

Tricia was in Scotland and we were in California. We hired a free-lance editor who worked closely with Lucasfilm and recorded Tricia over the phone for a period of months. We transcribed the tapes and edited them into personal stories and included a color photo of every costume used in first three films, making the book a "must-have" for the hard-core fan. Using my marketing plan, we sold more than 100,000 copies at $50.00 a pop and sold out 2,500 copies of a signed and numbered Limited Editon at $225.00 each. The Limited had lots of bonus material including a prop replica Wookie belt buckle and a swatch of the same material that Darth Vader's cape was made from. The Limited Edition is highly collectible now.

My Generation

Portraits of classic rock stars by Rolling Stone's first chief photographer, Baron Wolman. Published by Omnibus in the U.K., distributed in the U.S. by IPG, features candid portraits and performance shots of artists like Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin. Rod Stewart, Joni Mitchell, the Rolling Stones, George Harrison, Mick Jagger, The Who, Chuck Berry, the Grateful Dead and Johnny Cash. Rock On!

Having worked on a magazine with Baron, he sent me his instagram postings of rock stars.
I was absolutely blown away by his candid portrait of Janis Joplin and her cat in her living room. I called Baron immediately and convinced him to do this book and helped him shape it. I then arranged publication by supplying a detailed market analysis, along with a marketing plan, to Omnibus in the U.K. , and became the Agent-of-Record.

The Writers Legal Companion: The Complete Handbook for the Working Writer

A classic author's guide, in-print for more than 35 years. The Writers Legal Companion. aimed at novice and veteran alike, was a selection of both the Quality Paperback Book Club (a division of BOMC) and the Writers Digest Book Club. With more than 70,000 copies in-print, Basic Books , Addison-Wesley, Perseus and NOLO have all issued an edition at one time or another.

As the co-author of the book, I contributed a section, "The Author and the Business of Publishing" where I explained the publishing process and how book marketing works. On this foundation, I went on to give tips and techniques that any author could employ, working in concert with their publisher, to have a successful publishing outcome by enhancing their book's marketing.

This is the sort of author every publisher loves to have, one who skillfully and actively participates in the publishing process. Such participation often means the difference between success and failure. Many reviewers, including PW, commented on the usefulness of this section: "An extremely useful book for writers entering the sometimes incomprehensible world of publishing."

Portfolio (2 selected works)

California the Beautiful

As America stands to the rest of the world, so stands California to America - a shining promise of endless possibility. This exquisite celebration of the Golden State has been updated with a new introduction, new cover design, and an enlarged size to suit the grandeur of its subject. California the Beautiful is both a portrait of the state's diverse natural beauty and, through the incredible v... read more

As America stands to the rest of the world, so stands California to America - a shining promise of endless possibility. This exquisite celebration of the Golden State has been updated with a new introduction, new cover design, and an enlarged size to suit the grandeur of its subject. California the Beautiful is both a portrait of the state's diverse natural beauty and, through the incredible v... read more

The First Kingdom Vol. 1: The Birth of Tundran

Jack Katz

An unforgettable epic, the work of a lifetime, is finally collected in an ultimate, six-part library!"Our choice: the caves or the starsÉ" Ð Jack KatzVisionary. Maverick. Rebel. Master storyteller. Iconoclast. Genius.Jack Katz has been called all of these things since he began his illustrated magnum opus in 1974, creating a tale that follows in the vein of a futuristic, post-civilization The O... read more

An unforgettable epic, the work of a lifetime, is finally collected in an ultimate, six-part library!"Our choice: the caves or the starsÉ" Ð Jack KatzVisionary. Maverick. Rebel. Master storyteller. Iconoclast. Genius.Jack Katz has been called all of these things since he began his illustrated magnum opus in 1974, creating a tale that follows in the vein of a futuristic, post-civilization The O... read more

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