Monday, November 27, 1995

Africa Book Services seek to sell SSS titles

News and Notes

Year End News & Notes from the SSS

Business Plan Update

A 50-page first draft of a business plan for the SSS including SportSurf.Net was sent to insiders in early October.

The second draft, now available has an electronic book version and printed version. The third draft needs to be banker ready and should have plenty of financial history and projections for venture capital investigators.

Management team members need to get a one-page resume to Mark ASAP. The listing of the management team is on-line in the AUTO-RESPONDER, but it is password protected for insiders only.

If you want to see part of the plan and help to work to its eventual completion, and you didn't get a copy, contact Mark. We can send you part of the plan via fax or e-mail. The opening letter is three pages and the Executive Summary is less than five pages.

Authors Booked at Big Book Events

Kevin DeForrest was booked for two presentations at the Rocky Mountain Book Festival in Denver this fall, and Mike Collins got invited to the Sacramento Reads event.

Judd Biasiotto had a book autograph session at the past American Booksellers Assn meeting in Chicago and three other SSS authors visited the windy city at that time.

The publisher attended Internet World in Boston in November.

Future events include:

NorCal / Pacific Swimming Coaches Clinic in Napa in January
MacWorld & MacActivity in SF in January
Chicago visit for ISHA in January
Visit to Denmark in January
The Sports SuperShow in Atlanta in February
Utah for AAA in March
Volleyball Clinics with The Sports Group - held throughout the first half of 1996
American Booksellers Association Show in Chicago in June
Olympic Games in Atlanta in July!

New Swim Book and Visiting Kona

Ruth Kazez, a world championship racer in the triathlon and IronMan Competitor, plus a brilliant painter, will be publishing a new swim book with the SSS in 1996. She was featured in an article this summer in Triathlete magazine as someone who has a life outside of the sport.

Ruth's book will have a different format and its artwork is outstanding. Like all of our books, this one will let the author's personality exude from its pages.

Ruth made it to the IronMan in Hawaii in 95, turning in a great swim by the way, just as other books were being rushed to the event 2nd Day UPS. That book, The Road to Kona Never Ends is by Patrick McCary. Dr. McCary is on the IronMan Foundation Board and one day we hope to get his book into the organization's hands for use as a major fundraising tool.

If anyone wants to volunteer to deliver books to Kona, please let us know. There are no book printers in the state.

Equipment Arrives -- Installation Pending

We picked up a used 20-inch paper cutter recently -- all eight of us and in pieces at that. Presently, the massive, manual cutter is unassembled, but is expected to come in handy for many jobs in the future. Jerry O'Neil swears the cutter would make a great boat anchor. The off-on "switch" is 6-foot tall and weighs 140 pounds. Assembly is expected the next time our weightlifting friends come to town.

Additional equipment includes 2 Multi presses and the regular assistance of Mr. David Smith, retired printer from Penn Hills.

News of Water Polo in Pittsburgh

A local newspaper, The Post Gazette, did a feature story on Bucknell swimmer and water polo player, Jay O'Neil. Jay was a team captain when Mark coached swimming at Plum High School. Jay played in the experimental water polo program Mark conducted. Both were mentioned in the article.

Chapters have arrived in-house for the second water polo, a more basic book to accompany the existing technical one. Photos are being taken now in California.

Get an advanced peek at the pending book, Water Polo -- Learning and Teaching the Basics, by using our e-mail on demand AUTO-RESPONDERSUBJECT: 6025
Note: You must type the 4-digits shown above into the header (SUBJECT) part of the e-mail message.

Monte Nitzkowski has been busy. Monte is the head of the World Water Polo Coaches Association. Many rule changes are about to impact the game and behind the scenes work is being done for the good of the sport. Monte has visited 20 different countries and states in the past 2 years, writing a new chapter for the next book whenever the opportunity exists.

See the testimonial letter from a customer / coach from the UK. His postal letter arrived to our office in September.

Radial Saw & Fixtures

In the heat of the summer, the offices were closed for custom construction of five birch, 7-foot-tall, free-standing book cases for the publishing office. Plus the mail-order table and room was finished. The self-help construction team continued the building fix-up and mastered the new radial saw and router. A production room was built in the past. Next job: Finishing the Publisher's Showroom.

New Office Help Arrives

Three new office helpers have come aboard in temporary capacities in the past number of weeks: Linda Ryan, former librarian and customer service helper; Mary Byram, BS from RIT in photography and experienced desk-top-publisher is learning HTML and pdf; Chuck Farah is the printing, physical space and inventory/binding assistant.

"We are making some great progress, but we have a long way to go. Each person has a real chance of becoming a full-time employee," reports Mark Rauterkus.

Insider Newsletter

Insider E-newsletters, called Strokes, are now being delivered by the Sports Support Syndicate. Short, sweet and simple news goes out onto the net and via fax.

The SSS is in a tremendous position and is embarking on rapid grow with a network of vendors, managers, investors, and insiders. Hopefully this news can extend our reach into your office and help to generate more business for us all.

Thursday, November 23, 1995

Sports Reader . com - to other publishers

From: Sports Support Syndicate
To: Publishers & Other Content Providers
Date: Last updated December 1, 1995

Dear Fellow Publisher,

You are invited to join the Sports Support Syndicate in our efforts to sell more titles. We want to be able to sell your books, videos, audios and even computer software/multi-media titles.

We are contacting small, independent publishers, much like yourself, and asking them to consider our plans. By putting all of our books into one, colorful, attractive, impressive, catalog, we'll all increase sales.

Our sales mission includes book trade sales reps, international book shows, retail sales and, of course, sales to our consumer lists, plus internet sales.

Our plan is comprehensive, and together, with you and all the other publishers working with our sales efforts, we can all be stronger and more profitable. The full text of our 50-page plan is now on-line. I hope you enjoy its review. Most of the details are presented in the option parts, and they are found as part of our E-MAIL ON DEMAND / AUTO RESPONDER. If you requrie a printed version of the plan, please contact me. It is okay to leave your name and address with our voice mail system.

Plus, please send us samples of your titles right away. We need to close the next catalog with a firm deadline by October 25. Please pass the word to other publisher with titles of interest too. We are looking forward to hearing from you should you be interested. Thanks for the consideration.

Sincerely yours,
Mark Rauterkus, Publisher


How Other Publishers*
Increase Sales and Interact with the
Sports Support Syndicate

*Henceforth, Other Publisher = Original Publisher

I. Cover Letter Notes

    A. The enclosed plan explains our mission and serves as the tool to engage Original Publishers, such as yourself, in a close business relationship.
    B. Examine the spreadsheet chart to compare and contrast the various plans.

II. Exercise:
A Simple Test for Publishers:

Directions: Please answer each of the following yes-or-no questions. If you answer "no," then proceed to the next question. If you answer, "yes," then stop taking the test. A "yes" answer means we should not do business together.

A. Does your company presently employ book trade sales reps?

  1. No - Next question please.
  2. Yes - Are you happy with their results? -- If you are happy, exit test. If you are not happy with the book trade sales reps results, then go on to the next question please.

B. Are you a publisher in North America with 50 or more titles?

  1. No - Next question please.
  2. Yes - Your company is too large and would over power the SSS catalog at this time. Please wait one year and allow for SSS growth, then reconsider. Exit test.

C. Are all of your titles presently in multi-media formats?

  1. No - Next question please.
  2. Yes - Exit test. Our priority this year is to deal with smaller and medium sized publishers.

D. Are you a publisher that already has its own, in-house, internet server with a T1 line?

  1. No - Next question please.
  2. Yes - Exit test.

E. Does your company already exhibit at more than 10 different book trade shows?

  1. No - Next question please.
  2. Yes - Exit test.

F. Are your titles bland like rule-books and written by faceless authors who just sit and are only spectators?

  1. No - Next question please.
  2. Yes - Exit test.

G. Do your backlist titles go out of print after a season or two?

  1. No - Exit test and continue reading this plan. The Sports Support Syndicate is please to welcome you into the examination process with the hopes you'll join and fully understand our publishing team and its mission of cooperation and outlook for increased successes.
  2. Yes - Exit test. We need to sell titles that are continually available as our customers preserve our catalogs and order for years to come.

III. Exercise:
Written Goals help in understanding one another.
A. The Unique Selling Slogan for the SSS
Intelligence Products and Progressive Publishing Sales, Distribution & Development
B. Long Term Goals for the SSS
1. To help others reach their goals by providing cutting-edge tools and information that impacts upon performance in and beyond the athletic arena.
2. To organize and construct number of sport-publishing projects that generate sales into the millions of copies.
3. To publish more than ten new titles each year.
C. Short Term Goals for the SSS
1. To build relationships with 10 to 30 different publishers and grow the SSS sales catalog to 80 pages.
2. To fully support book-trade reps in all regions of the world.
3. To enter the sporting goods markets with commissioned sales rep groups and strategic alliances if possible.
D. The Unique Selling Slogan for:
(company name) ________________________
E. Long Term Goals include:
F. Short Term Goals include:

IV. Benefits & Highlights for Selling with the SSS
A. The SSS catalog and sales team can be another outlet for the sale of your titles and create another revenue stream for your business.

    1. Make More Money
    2. Sell More Books
    3. Get onto the Internet
    4. Get Multi-Media Title Development without Charges
B. The SSS publishing team can provide valuable networking assistance and create additional opportunities.
    1. Share Customer Referrals
    2. Get Business Leads
    3. Play upon and influence the Sports Publishing Trends by joining an organization with additional clout
C. Share insider secrets, tips and knowledge and resources that can save money and prevent mistakes.
    1. Get increased purchasing power by using shared resources and proven vendors.
    2. Utilize others in our team for consulting and sharing of ideas.

V. How to Use This Plan
A. Don't read everything enclosed in this plan. Many points are repeated within each option enabling that option to serve as a stand-alone document.
B. Read the sections that apply to your situation.
C. Everyone should read:

    1. Cover letter
    2. The Call to Participate
    3. Executive Summary
    4. Read one or more of the following solution options: Exclusive Alliance, Non-Exclusive Relationship, Imprint Program, Life-Sustaining Title Program
D. If you are going to participate, then you might wish to read:
    1. Benefits
    2. Goals
    3. How to Begin
    4. Background Info
E. If you are new to publishing and are still uncertain about this plan and our unique offer to you, then read how other distributors operate.
F. In the near future, this plan will be available in electronic media formats and accessible via the internet. Call, write or send e-mail to get the latest versions. The Hyper-Text presentation works for this plan.

VI. A Call for Participation with the Sports Support Syndicate
A. The SSS seeks original publishers with interesting titles to join our mutually-beneficial sales activities. The SSS welcomes other independent publishers and organizations to consider these plans. Putting your titles in the the SSS selection could become the pathway to increased sales and more-profitable, long-term successes.

    1. Titles from original publishers enter the SSS sales process through one of the four solutions presented in this business plan.
    2. The four solutions are diverse and each is designed to serve the specific needs of a select set of businesses. We hope you find the one, perfect solution that is most appropriate for your company and its titles.
    3. The four solutions options for increased sales are:
    a) The Exclusive Alliance
    b) The Non-Exclusive Relationship
    c) The Imprint Program
    d) The Life-Sustaining Title Program
B. The SSS is searching for certain types of publishing businesses:
    1. Small-publishers in the United States and Canada with valuable messages for cutting-edge, sports participants.
    2. Large or small publishers from around the world with sports titles that might have an appeal with some US customers.
C. Sporting topics are the top priority for the SSS catalog. However, the SSS catalog will include other topics beyond sports.
    1. Preferred subject areas included:
    a) how-to sports, fitness, health, wellness, recreation, education, travel, psychology, technical
    2. Acceptable subject areas include:
    a) spectator sports, business, lifestyle, children, outdoors

VII. Executive Summary
A. Universal Components of the SSS sales mission:

    1. The SSS produces a catalog.
    2. The SSS hires, communicates and pays commissions to independent trade sales representatives.
    3. SSS titles are shown at book trade-shows.
    4. The SSS maintains and develops an internet presence.
    5. The SSS develops multi-media titles.
    6. The SSS markets the speaker's bureau for author presentations and lectures.
    7. The SSS maintains sales activities for consumers and the trade.
    a) 1-800 service for USA and Canada
    b) voice-message system
    c) every-day UPS service
    d) UPS hundred-weight shipping
    e) credit card payments for VISA, MasterCard & American Express
    f) warehouse
    g) shipping center
    h) computerized sales reports and order processing
    i) internet sales
    j) 24-hour fax communications and fax broadcasting
    k) credit limits, invoicing and account receivables
    l) return authorization
    m) publisher's showroom
    n) trade-show displays
    o) postage meter mailings
    p) customized 3-part order forms printed
    q) e-mail on demand system
    8. All parties participate in a lead-generation and follow-up program conducted by the SSS to coordinate and further disseminate the mailing of the semi-annual catalogs.
    9. Each player is expected to do one service project each year for the benefit of the group.
B. The Exclusive Alliance (Executive Summary)
    1. The SSS purchases titles from the Original Publisher at a 75% discount.
    2. The SSS sells the titles in the Exclusive Alliance just as vigorously as its own titles.
    3. The SSS sells titles in the Exclusive Alliance option to all markets, including other wholesalers, distributors, book-clubs, and specialty markets.
    a) With the full-range of sales outlets, some re-sellers can demand the highest of possible percentage discounts (exceeding 60% off the cover price plus sales commission payments).
    b) For the sake of comparison, the maximum possible discount for re-sellers never exceeds 40% under the Non-Exclusive Relationship. Hence, the Exclusive Alliance facilitates sales to wholesalers.
    4. The barter for front-list, full-color, single-title catalog display space averages 200 free books.
    5. Other stipulations are rare.
C. The Non-Exclusive Relationship (Executive Summary)
    1. The SSS purchases titles from the Original Publisher at a 60% discount.
    2. The SSS sells titles from the Original Publishers to: bookstores, specialty stores and consumers; and does not cater to wholesalers, distributors, book-clubs, and premium markets.
    a) This limited-range of marketing outlets puts the re-seller discount to 40% off the cover price, and still allows for commissions to the independent trade-sales reps.
    b) In the SSS catalog, the titles in the Non-Exclusive Relationship option are marked with a "short discount" symbol.
    3. The barter for front-list, full-color, single-title catalog display space averages 200 free books.
    4. Other stipulations are rare.
D. The Imprint Program (Executive Summary)
    1. Present imprints include:
    a) Sports Support Syndicate
    b) Support Syndicate for Audiology
    c) Cooperstown Review
    d) Water Polo Consulting
    e) Other imprints are probable for the future.
    (1) Sports Language Outfitters
    (2) Sports Mind Outfitters
    (3) Monongahela Rapids Uni Press
    (4) A is for Athlete
    (5) Spittsburg Sun
    (6) Getout Sports
    2. Most likely candidates for the Imprint Program
    a) Authors with manuscripts or outlines ready for consideration
    b) Expert coaches who want to work with the SSS editors and publisher to further promote their ideas
    c) Self-published authors
    d) Authors or organizations with a title(s) that has gone out-of-print and if that title is not scheduled for re-printing in its prior arrangement
    e) Original Publishers that want to form a joint-venture with the SSS with terms and scope beyond the boundaries of this business plan
    f) Publishers from outside of North America that want their titles sold in the USA for the increased exposure and profits
    3. The SSS pays all costs for the title’s printing, promotions and sales.
    4. The author(s) supply the manuscript and get royalties based upon sales.
E. The Life-Sustaining Title Program (Executive Summary)
    1. The SSS obtains existing inventory along with the publishing rights to titles that, for whatever reason, are not expected to yield lucrative returns at their prior home.
    2. The SSS takes over the title, re-establishes goals for the title and keeps the ideas, project and/or titles alive in a viable presence.
    3. Depending upon the existing surplus of inventory, location,
    4. Other stipulations are rare.
F. The Testing Options (Executive Summary)
    1. Testing new services, products, formats, price-points and countless of other elements in a sales organization such as ours is one way to continue our growth.
    2. One area of testing just about to begin deals with the re-sale of college text books in the SSS catalog.
    3. A few college text book publishers with interesting titles are considering options at this time. We might put these titles into the SSS catalog on a trial basis, and the exact terms of these interactions are not fully explained in the scope of this plan.

    Select : 

Thursday, November 02, 1995

Napa, here we come

Letter from NorCal Swim Shop and Craig Dillingham, Clinic Director said, in part:
Dear Mark and Catherine,

Thanks very much for agreeing to speak at the 17th Annual Pacific Swi Coaches Clinic. We are looking forward to your presentations.

We reserved a room for the Saturday night at the clinic site, the Marriott Hotel in Napa. On Saturday evening the clinic will be hosting a special dinner for the speakers and vendors. This is a very special tradition that many of our past speakers have enjoyed tremendously. Since this is a catered affair, we must know if you are NOT planning to attend.

Yes, it was special!

Wednesday, September 27, 1995

Testimonial letter from reader in the UK about SSS Water Polo book

Snail Mail Letter -- Testimonial

89 Hambleton Road,
B63 1JT,
West Midlands,
27th September, 1995.

Dear Mark,

I write to you concerning the First Edition of the book entitled United States Tactical Water Polo by four-time Olympic Coach Monte Nitzkowski which I have now read no less than three times from cover to cover this summer.

At the age of 31, I have achieved success in competitive swimming having competed at International level in Europe, but I now take a more active role in the Sport of Water Polo. I still compete at Masters level but a serious switch from swimming to Polo over a decade ago. By profession, I am a serving Police Officer working on the Traffic Division in Birmingham, West Midlands & I Captain the Midlands Police Team and still play the game at senior Club level.

I have recently formed a Junior Under 17 Water Polo Squad within my local Swimming Club at Stourbridge, West Midlands and they start league competition in October 1995 and conclude in March, 1996.

My first impressions of the text are highly favourable and the ideas and techniques as illustrated have formed the backbone of my training sessions in the run-up to the new season. I've been inspired by the content which is clear, concise and is written and explained in an easy to understand, practical and common sense approach designed at enhancing the role of the Coach's teaching strategy. Other books on the subject, by comparison, fail to achieve a basic comprehension in "getting the message across" due to the complexity of the script.

I am both apprehensive yet excited at the challenge that I am about to face with these young individuals. Water Polo is a team game and it is the first time in the Clubs 95 year history that a Junior Water Polo Team has been established. Hopes are high of achieving success in their first year of competition , but personally speaking, if the experience gained, coupled with the knowledge and application of the rules together with their "sportsmanship" that can be developed in a positive manner and used constructively next season - then their individuals and team performance and status will be enhanced for the benefit of the sport in the future.

That having been said, being armed with the knowledge that I have gained in reading and digesting U.S.T.W.P., it has given me the confidence and inspiration to tackle my duties as Coach knowing that the techniques have proven themselves at the highest possible level within the sport.

It is also true to say that my own personal standards of play have benefited greatly too, as a direct result of the book, and rewarded me with more time and space in creating that high percentage shot! The Police Team has also grown in confidence and results have improved to the extent of reaching the Semi-Final stage of the A.S.A Knockout Cup for the first time in their 40 year history. This came about following the implementation of one or two ideas!!

Furthermore, the recognition and respect shown by fellow players has also improved sporting relationships in my official capacity as an A.S.A Water Polo Referee.

I will write to you again in the Spring and let you know how these techniques have worked out at a Junior level in Europe, and what alternations and adaptions that I had to make, if any, to develop the team in a positive and collaborative way.

My ideas are aimed at improving the tactical side of the sport for the yield of others and, I hope, in the long-term, material produced and processed can assist you with the future editions of your book and develop the growth of the great sport of Water Polo on both sides of the Atlantic!

Best Wishes foe the future!

Yours sincerely,

Dave Swift
Coach-Stourbridge Water Polo Club,
West Midlands, England

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Sunday, September 17, 1995

Partnerships with other publishers. Plans from SSS.

This plan was a big effort with the SSS. Sales reps were hired. Then this 50+ business plan went out via the mail. The other publishers were contacted based upon past interactions. Dozens of publishers came to consider the plans. 
All in all, the economic business conditions for sales to independent book stores were headed south. Bookstores were going out of business more and more. Printing costs spiked too. 

I was doing Amazon before Amazon was doing Amazon, sorta. The internet was just starting to get into gear. I had, SportSurf.Net and, among some other domains. too.