Preface: We recently re-branded Sellbox.com as AuthorImprints.com and thought our partners, clients and prospective clients might like to understand the origin of the change, and the philosophy behind the name. Here is the backstory, written by founder David Wogahn.
How we got here
Although unplanned, I am writing this as the 2016 Rio Olympics are in full-swing; relevant because it was my experience working for the 1984 LA Olympics that first introduced me to the power and importance of controlling one’s brand. It was also an event that no other city wanted, and no one in Los Angeles was willing to pay for. You might say we had no choice but to “self-publish.”
What I learned from my 16-month job-of-a-lifetime was that controlling your brand can provide enormous flexibility and long-term value for the future. And when you control your destiny, it’s surprising what you can accomplish. You can read here how that worked out for future generations of Los Angeles residents. (That’s me below in the Olympic Arrival Center at LAX using an AT&T terminal to send an email to my staff.)
After a ten-year stint at the parent company of the Los Angeles Times, I had an opportunity to put my brand management education into practice, again in the sports world but this time for college athletics. In 1995 my partner Dick Beedon and I launched a company to create branded websites for university athletic departments. We bought up domains like calbears.com, und.com and umterps.com, literally gave them to the schools, and then licensed them back to create what we dubbed an “OAS,” or Official Athletic Site. (This business is now known as the CBS College Network.)
We figured that in a future world where anyone could have a website, these athletic departments—creators of content for news organizations, and the ones with a vested interest in marketing it—would be in the best position to benefit from a new direct-to-fan publishing future. Instead of serving the media, they could be the media. Little did we know that in time, this would become the model for every team, in every sport that has a fan base.
Today, as Internet, mobile and social media permeates every nook of our society, we are facing both risks and opportunities. Nowhere is this more evident than in media, and most especially in publishing. The stigma of self-publishing is rapidly giving way to become a business imperative as we—our personal brands—increasingly shoulder the responsibility for marketing, and recognize the benefits of controlling our business affairs.
AuthorImprints is founded on the belief that authors and businesses can and should benefit from establishing their own publishing brand. Properly established and maintained, there is no reason why an author’s imprint cannot publish books that are as professionally presented as books from the largest publishers in the world. And with this control comes opportunity.
Just like we learned in 1984.
Founder and manager of AuthorImprints: Your Books, Your Brand.
Btw, Sellbox, our corporate moniker, was founded in 2002 as the behind-the-scenes manager of eCommerce services for retailers. As time went on it was clear that online retailing was a service that businesses would manage directly so our focus turned to publishing and media. Sellbox continues to be the corporate name of the company that makes AuthorImprints possible.