Meet the Publishers: Cedar Fort Celebrates Fastest-Growing Ranking with Pancake Breakfast!

Do you ever have a day when you just need to celebrate? We did.

On March 9, 2015, Publisher’s Weekly ran an article on the fastest-growing publishers in the country, and Cedar Fort made it into the top 10!

We were so thrilled! After lots of growth in the past few years and many growing pains along the way, it was fantastic to have our efforts recognized by the industry at large.

We knew it was time to celebrate, so that morning we had a big pancake breakfast for everyone in the company.Lyle

But not just any pancakes. We wanted to make them extra awesome by incorporating recipes from Karly Campbell’s recently published Stack Happy—an entire cookbook stuffed with delicious pancake and topping recipes.

So, in keeping with our signature Cedar Fort style of collaboration and cooperation, we each brought a topping or side to share.

With tables of bacon, eggs, potato pancakes, browned butter drizzle, cinnamon streusel, and more awaiting us, we said a quick prayer and dug in! We spent the next hour eating and talking.

Bacon-and-eggsThe food was delicious. Lauren Error, the graphic designer who worked on Stack Happy said, “It felt good to see the very first book I worked on come to life—or come to the table.”

As we ate, we asked each other a series of questions like, “If you could remove any one person’s vocal chords for a year, who would you choose?” and “Which person from the past are you most looking forward to meeting after you die?” As you can imagine, the answers were both funny and illuminating. Here at Cedar Fort, many of us are divided into specific genre groups and don’t work much with those outside our team. We wanted to give everyone a chance to spend time with each other.

KellyEmily Chambers said, “It was fun to get to know my coworkers in a relaxed, unusual way—a way I don’t normally get to interact with them. My favorite part was everyone’s answer to the question, ‘If you could suddenly discover that one fictional book was actually real, which book would you want it to be?’ Most everyone answered something like Harry Potter, but one person said Jurassic Park and I thought that was both awesome and terrifying.”

Lauren said, “I enjoyed getting to know people I don’t normally talk to and having conversations about topics that wouldn’t normally come up.”

BryceEven though we know we still have a lot of work ahead of us, we loved taking the time to recognize our success and realize how far we’ve come as a company. Zane Phillips, who works in our warehouse, said, “It’s encouraging. [Before the breakfast] I didn’t know we were one of the fastest-growing publishers.” This news gives each of us extra motivation to produce and deliver the best possible products to our customers.

As Lyle Mortimer, our CEO, put it, “[With this article], we’re invited to the big dance.” We have a real opportunity to have a voice in publishing. We can make a difference and spread positive, inspiring messages in a time when they’re sorely needed.questions

We invite you to celebrate this achievement with us as part of our Cedar Fort family, and we’d especially like to thank all of our authors, illustrators, and friends who helped us to reach this point.

To read the full text of the Publisher’s Weekly article, click here.

Stack-Happy_9781462115372

 

For more information about the pancakes and toppings we enjoyed, check out Stack Happy by Karly Campbell, available now for purchase on our Books & Things website. Click here!

We’d love to hear your answers to some of the questions we asked at our breakfast. Just leave us a comment below!

  1. If you could remove one person’s vocal chords for one year, who would you choose?
  2. Which person from the past are you most looking forward to meeting after you die?
  3. If you could suddenly discover that one fictional book was actually real, which book would you want it to be?
  4. If you could live in a hotel in any city in the world for one year, which city would you pick?

Meet the Publishers: A Brief History of Cedar Fort

Today we’re starting a new feature on our blog that we’re calling “Meet the Publishers.”

In this series we’ll introduce you to the business buffs, the innovative thinkers, and the practical jokers who have kept Cedar Fort in business for so long. We’ll also discuss some of the principles and ideas that have helped us succeed. We feel blessed to have grown so much, especially in the past few years while publishing as an industry has faced some serious challenges.

There will always be obstacles ahead, but we’ve found that when we combine new ideas and technology with the proven principles of the book business, we continually recreate our own niche in the market and develop products that significantly change lives.

In essence, we take the best of both the old and new and put those ideas to work for our customers: our authors, our readers, our buyers, and our employees.

Cedar Fort, Inc. officially began operating on May 23, 1986, off Geneva Road in Orem, Utah. At the time, we had only two employees. We started as a printing broker and distributor. After working with other publishers, we realized that we could produce books more efficiently than the competition. By our second year of business, we were setting and exceeding goals in the sales and production of our own titles.

Check out these highlights in our timeline below:

1986 – Cedar Fort, Inc., began business with the idea of serving our customers more efficiently.

1987 – Lyle Mortimer became the first publisher in Utah, possibly in the nation, to typeset a book on a Mac.

1988 – Beyond the Veil Vol. 1 by Lee Nelson debuted to instant success.

1992 – Moved to a new location on Main Street in Springville.

1993 – Began using Acumen software to track inventory, calculate author royalties, and manage payroll.

1994 – Began using Adobe Photoshop to create covers.

1996 – Incorporated the idea of short runs and print-on-demand for our backlist titles by collaborating with a local printer.

1996 – Began selling to Barnes and Noble.

1997 – Hired our first bookkeeper for AP/AR, Cindy Bunce. She still works with us but will retire in 2015.

1998 – Put heavier emphasis on publishing and increased number of titles published annually.

2000 – Began selling to Walmart.

2001 – Hired our sales manager, Angie Harris.

2002 – Published Isaiah Made Easier by David Ridges, which resulted in the Gospels Made Easier series.

May 2004 – Acquired Horizon Publishers, which was then the oldest existing independent LDS publisher.

Nov. 2004 – Acquired Pioneer Plus Gifts, which was the oldest LDS jewelry company in the marketplace.

June 2006 – Bryce returned from London England, after serving a full-time mission for the LDS church and began working full-time at Cedar Fort as the PR manager.

 Nov. 2006 – Moved into our own building at 2373 W 700 S, Springville.

2007 – Grew to roughly 13 employees.

2008 – Published The Shell Game by Steve Alten, selling 40,000 copies in one month. Reached #31 on NYT Bestseller list.

2009 – Published Shattered Silence by Melissa Moore, who was featured three times on Oprah, three times on Dr. Phil, and also featured on Gerald, 20/20 and Good Morning America.

2010 – Bryce Mortimer named as Vice President.

2011 – Welcomed New York Times bestselling romance writer Carla Kelly as a Cedar Fort author.

2011 – Bryce Mortimer named as President and Katreina Eden as Vice President.

Aug. 2011 – Divided our team into genre facets (work groups) to provide a better experience for our authors and increase workflow efficiency.

Nov. 2013 – Completed construction on an additional 16,000 square feet of warehouse space.

2014 – Distributed The Saratov Approach on Blu-ray and DVD as our debut in the film industry. Pre-sold 100,000 copies, non-returnable.

2014 – Grew to 62 employees.

2015 – Listed in Publisher’s Weekly as one of the top 12 fastest-growing publishing companies.

 


 

As we look to the future, we know it will require us to think creatively and continue to innovate. We’re excited to keep growing and developing a wide range of products that will entertain, enlighten, and educate.

You may have noticed a few familiar names in the timeline above. Cedar Fort’s vision and execution would not have been possible without Lyle Mortimer, Lee Nelson, Bryce Mortimer, and Katreina Eden. They and their families have contributed countless hours to the success of our company. At our core, Cedar Fort is a family business, so we’d like to introduce you to our publishers and their families.

Lyle photo

Lyle and Sheila Mortimer have seven children and 22 grandchildren. They have lived in Springville for 25 years. Lyle is a marathon runner and recorded personal records for the last two years in a row.  Lyle is also passionate about scouting. In February 2015, he was awarded The District Award of Merit for his work on a Klondike that included 600 scouts and leaders. We think he picked up his skills as a rubber-band shooter from his boy scouts. As a young man, Lyle served an LDS mission in Samoa, serving his entire mission on the island of Niue; he and Sheila look forward to serving a mission together. Each of Lyle’s children has worked for Cedar Fort in some capacity.

Lee Nelson

Lee and Sharon Nelson are the parents of eight children. They live in Mapleton, Utah. As a bestselling author, Lee has long enjoyed working in publishing and helping others succeed in telling their own stories. His historical novels have sold hundreds of thousands of copies since his first novel was released in 1981. Lee has also published a score of non-fiction works including the top-selling Beyond the Veil series. He was born in Logan, Utah, but spent most of his childhood in California. After serving an LDS mission in Germany, he earned a bachelor’s degree in English and a Masters Degree in Business, both from Brigham Young University. Each of Lee’s children has spent time working for Cedar Fort.

Bryce

Bryce Mortimer and his wife, Jessica, have one son, Lyam. They have been married since 2007 and recently moved from Spanish Fork to Santaquin. Like his dad, Bryce loves scouting and spending time outdoors. He’s also passionate about aviation and is close to getting his pilot’s license. Bryce served a mission in London, England. We all look forward to the day we can put Lyam to work at Cedar Fort, just like his father and grandfather before him. But for now he serves as our unofficial mascot and chief cuteness officer.

Kat Eden photo2

Katreina Eden grew up in the Midwest, eventually landing in California where she went to law school and then ran her own law firm for a number of years. In addition to working as Cedar Fort’s executive vice president, Katreina also owns and operates Organiwic, LLC, an all-natural candle company, with her sister. She enjoys being out in nature and spending time with family. In 2014, Katreina published her first book with Cedar Fort, Bible Bands.

 

Cedar Fort Ground Breaking040


 

Whether you’re an author, a book seller, a reviewer, or just a fan stopping by to read our blog, we want to welcome you into our Cedar Fort family and invite you to join us as we continue to combine the best of the old and new in publishing and look forward to a future full of opportunity.

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PR Tool Box

Today I would like to talk about putting together a media package. This should be the tool box from which you can pull things when media professionals come calling. I will be listing and explaining each item in this toolbox to you. If you need any help with any of these items, feel free to contact me. Building-your-PR-Toolbox

Tools:

Press Release:

The press release can be used multiple times. It is a living document that can and should be changed with current events. If there is a news story for which you could be considered an expert, it is time to change your release to reflect the change. The release has a short life cycle on the news-desks. If you don’t resubmit it multiple times you will be passing up a possible interview and opportunity. See the marketing guide on how to write one.

Here is an article on how to write an effective press release.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/zach-cutler/press-release-tips_b_2120630.html

Pitch-letter:

The pitch letter is used to gain the attention of show producers. The intent is to engage and show the producer that you are both informative and engaging. The pitch should be no longer than two paragraphs. This is also a living document you will want to modify for each show.

Here is a article on writing a effective pitch letter.

http://www.verticalresponse.com/blog/how-to-write-a-great-pr-pitch-and-get-the-medias-attention/

Q&A:

Having a list of 25 questions you can answer is a big bonus for producers. This helps make their job easier. It will also allow you to guide the interview where you would like it to go. You could also use it to make sure there is no awkward silence during the interviewing process.

Here is a article on a Q&A sheet.

http://www.prleads.com/tips-for-writing-fact-sheets/

Book:

You should always take two copies of your book to each interview. You should also have a picture of the cover in your toolbox as well.

Social Media:

These are the channels you need to be on for Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, and Amazon. You should also be familiar with the unique characteristics of each of these channels. Remember you should have an author bio on both Amazon and Goodreads.

http://www.ragan.com/SocialMedia/Articles/47044.aspx

Blog:

In addition to your website, you should have a blog. It is recommended that you have a well-written and engaging post. It is advisable to learn about SEO and to use it when posting on your blog.

Here is an article on how to write an effective blog.

http://www.ragan.com/Main/Articles/47085.aspx

Finally, here is an article that lists 89 things you should be doing to market your book. http://www.authormedia.com/89-book-marketing-ideas-that-will-change-your-life/

 

Five tips to writing a pitch letter that can increase your chances of getting on the show

5_Tips_to_writing_a_Pitch_Letter_that_gets_you_on_the_ShowAs an author, your biggest questions for Cedar Fort may be “How do I get my story in the press?” or “How can I get the attention I need?” Producers and managing editors are swamped by hundreds and sometimes even thousands of review and interview requests and are always on a deadline. With these constraints, producers are likely to spend just five to 10 seconds reading each pitch letter. Below are five tips that increase your odds of getting past the gate keepers and getting a producer’s attention:

1. Keep it short.The producer does not want to read your entire book in the pitch letter. Remember to use impactful words that will leave an impression. This also allows you to use fewer words. It is a delicate art–you need to deliver vital information while keeping it brief.

2. Be passionate.Write your pitch with the same passion you had when you wrote your manuscript. Nothing turns producers off more than a canned sales pitch. Your publicist may ask you to write a pitch template. This is a blueprint to refer to each time you submit a pitch. Remember to adjust the pitch to be personal to each person you send it to.

3. Consider different angles.Remember that your recipient is receiving hundreds to thousands of similar ideas. First, title your pitch something catchy. Then present your angle within the first couple sentences. Don’t forget to portray excitement in your pitch. Do not write yourself in a corner; explore all the themes and ideas of your book.

4. Edit your pitch.Grammar errors will have your hard work thrown into the “circular file.” If you need to, seek the help of a trusted friend or esteemed professional. Pay attention to syntax as well. How does the pitch read? Many producers read your pitch on the air when they introduce you. Make sure you wouldn’t be embarrassed by them doing so.

5. Send artwork.If you have a copy of your cover, include it with your pitch. If there are pictures in your book, attach them to your email. Pictures are worth a thousand words, and well done graphics may tip you over into the call pile.

Each Cedar Fort author is assigned a marketer. Each of our marketers is an expert in his or her particular genre. If you are a CFI author and do not know who your marketer is, refer to the list below and be sure to contact them for help with marketing ideas and resources.

Taking Advantage of Social Media for Your Writing

Taking Advantage of Social Media for Your Writing

This is a guest post by Heather Ostler, author of The Shapeshifter’s Secret.

Marketing yourself and your writing is an important step to do before, during, and after your book gets published. With so many different social media sites, jumping into the internet marketing pool and immersing yourself can be intimidating. However, building up followers takes time, and it’s important to start now. Here are just some of the benefits to online marketing.Social media is free. There are some sites out there that charge, but the biggest ones””Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and blog accounts””are all free. Most of these sites also have an easy set up process so you can get started quickly and effortlessly.Worldwide audience. You can connect with thousands of different readers, writers, and friends all over the world. I’ve been able to promote The Shapeshifter’s Secret to readers from numerous countries, receiving feedback from England, Australia, South Korea, Canada, and Romania. I never would have had that opportunity without online social media.Used with permission by OpenClipArt.org
  • Prove yourself. Social media is also a way to show literary agents, editors, and publishers that you are serious about promoting your book. When someone is looking at buying the rights to your book, it’s a lot more appealing if you already have thousands of followers and are working daily to promote your work.

My advice to fellow writers is always the same, start your social media promoting now. You don’t get followers overnight (unless you’re a celebrity), and it can take months, or even years to build up an online presence.

Used with permission by OpenClipArt.org

Once you have followers, you don’t want to instantly start promoting yourself either. Online readers are weary of those who are only on the internet to push their product. It’s the same way in real life. If you meet a stranger and they immediately start talking about their product and why you need to buy it””you’re going to try and get away from them quickly without it being too awkward. However, if a trusted friend approaches you with a product, you’re more likely to listen. You want to build online friendships and connections that result in others trusting your opinion.

If you’re serious about getting your work out there and promoting your writing, marketing through social media is a must. It’s free, it’s a great way to connect with readers all over the globe, and it’s a way to show the publishing industry that you’re serious about promoting your work. It may seem like a daunting task getting started, but the benefits are definitely worth it!

What benefits have you seen from social media?

Bio: Heather Ostler grew up near the mountains with a rambunctiously entertaining family. She majored in English at Utah Valley University, and soon began composing stories about masquerades, water nymphs, and shapeshifters. She and her husband, Kellen, reside in Highland, Utah with two remarkably pleasant pugs.

How to connect with Heather:

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