In the end, it came down to two great offers from two great publishers. Thomas Nelson is the world's 9th largest publisher and one of its most prosperous. Wiley is the world's leading business book publisher, with four of the top 25 books on last year's New York Times best-seller list. People we know and trust gave us sterling endorsements of both houses.
Both publishers made us offers that we considered more than generous. Nelson's CEO, Mike Hyatt blogs. emailed us notes on his enthusiasm for this project and posted comments on The Red Couch. Brian Hampton, who courted us, was steady and persuasive in arguing for Nelson. His most compelling theme: Nelson understands blogging and is committed to evangelizing the category.
In the end, we chose Wiley. They made us a better offer. They went through great extremes to close the deal and in so doing, made an impressive closing-minutes play to land us. It worked.
On Monday, Valentine's Day, three senior Wiley team members flew out to Scottsdale, to meet up with Robert and I, who were attending DEMO. It was sweetheart's night at Scottsdale Mason's and here we were, five guys trying to talk business amid a roomful of sweethearts, whose drinking and noise levels were continuously elevating.
As Robert enjoyed a fresh Maine lobster about the size of the combined New England states and I savored one of the best Porterhouses I've had in years, we talked--or rather shouted business, it being the only way we could hear each other. David Mayhew, a "big books" marketing guy explaimed how the book would be promoted and advertised on a global level. Jim Minatel, the senior acquisitions editor who has managed our relationshio, made us extremely comfortable and we found ourselves believing that this relationship would really be a partnership.
In all, we raised about ten issues and the satisfoed us on each. Yet one issue remained and it could have been a deal breaker. "How can we write a book saying that businesses need to blog if they are to survive," I asked, "if our own publisher didn't blog."
After some discussion, Joe Wikert, vice president and publisher agreed to start blogging, if Robert would teach him the finer points. We would write about the experience as a case for "The Red Couch."
That was it. We clinked glasses. We had a deal. The contract details have been discussed and all barriers seem to be resolved. It feels like we are on the same team. "This could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship," as Bogie once said.
Next week, we start Chapter One.