Is Social Motion Publishing a non-profit?
No. We are part of The 180 Lab Inc., a benefit corporation, which is something of a hybrid between a non-profit and for-profit business. (Read the Wikipedia article on benefit corporations for more details.) We’re very excited to be part of this relatively new and growing movement toward the merging of social responsibility and entrepreneurship.
How do you benefit causes and non-profits?
1) Our focus is developing books for causes, non-profits, social enterprises, and social entrepreneurs. This is all we do, and we’re the only company specializing in this area (what we call “cause-related publishing”). As such, we are uniquely positioned to address our clients’ and cause partners’ needs and goals.
2) Every sale of our books generates a donation to a specific related organization and often for a specific purpose. Furthermore, we promote and publicize our partner organizations through our website, our authors, our books, and other means.
Is this one of those vague things like “a portion of proceeds goes to charity”?
Not at all. In fact, we believe in very specific and transparent action. For every product, we spell out exactly what the benefit is and to what organization. This meets the Better Business Bureau’s recommendations for best practices when it comes to cause marketing.
Why not just donate some of your overall profits to one cause—wouldn’t that be a simpler concept?
1) It wouldn’t be very progressive or unique; many companies have been doing this for some time, and we wanted to break new ground.
2) Part of our mission is to connect our publishing projects to related causes, in order to create the benefit of awareness and understanding in a more organic way. Revenues from multiple disparate projects going to one organization diffuses the connection.
3) Our program creates greater excitement and involvement for our authors because their efforts directly benefit a cause they believe in.
4) We want to raise overall awareness of social entrepreneurship and cause-based businesses, which wouldn’t happen by benefiting just one cause.
5) We could probably never settle on helping only one cause!
Are you a vanity publisher?
We are not. Social Motion Publishing is a combination book developer and publishing-services provider. We handle all the aspects of developing a book from start to finish or just the specific tasks needed by the client.
How do you work with sponsor partners?
Primarily through underwriting the development of our titles. So, for example, XYZ Corporation funds $35,000 to develop The Great Cause-Related Book. This money covers the cost of a writing collaborator (if needed), editing, design, layout, typesetting, and (in some cases) printing. In return, we provide prominent message space in the book, include mention of the sponsor in our promotion and publicity, and encourage the benefiting cause to return the love somehow as well. In other situations, the sponsor partner may fund a book in exchange for receiving a certain number of copies to give to its employees, strategic partners, clients, and customers. Or last, a sponsor partner may fund a book printing that is donated to a cause partner, which can use the copies to raise funds or give away. These are just some basic examples, and we’re certainly open to other mutually beneficial arrangements.
Do your sponsor partners have any control regarding the content of the book?
Not really. Ultimately, it is the work of the author, and so our authors retain final say. However, if an author is open to the sponsor’s input and feels it wouldn’t harm their work, then we won’t necessarily stand in the way. Our goal is simply to maintain integrity in the process. So, if a prospective sponsor feels it will be necessary to exert significant influence over the project or retain final control, then it will not find our program useful.
What guarantee, then, does a sponsor have that the final product will not conflict with or harm its brand?
Our prospective sponsors have the opportunity to review the final manuscript prior to committing to their sponsorship. Likewise, they are given the chance to review the design of the book to ensure nothing is in conflict with their expectations. But naturally, as we explore the partnership potential in the first place, we seek to uncover and address any concerns that may arise prior to the production process.
Now, what about cause partners?
Essentially, the same thing as with sponsor partners—they are given the chance to review the manuscript before any agreement is made, and they have the opportunity to review the final design of the book before publication. It’s in our best interest to ensure satisfaction all the way around, or eventually we would be out of business and unable to create any good or be much of a changemaker.