Publishing, from A to Z, with Pauline Neuwirth
Ask any author and they’ll tell you that publishing is a tough business.
At the end of the day, the painstaking process of actually writing and completing a book can feel like the easy part. Finding and convincing someone to invest in producing and distributing the content is an entirely other uphill battle.
Increasingly competitive, modern publishing has become an industry reliant on reach and cost-cutting measures, says East End Press publisher Pauline Neuwirth. The sad truth is that for many decision makers, an author’s social media presence can be more important than the quality of their material.
“Mainstream publishers are very reluctant to take risks. They won’t touch somebody’s book if they don’t have a built-in platform,” she says. “Under 15,000 followers — they laugh.”
Carving a distinctly different path, the boutique publisher — who started out as an editorial coordinator at Dell Publishing, then moved on to a role as production manager at Avon Books and then rose to vice president of manufacturing at Pinnacle — set up her own shop some 35 years ago. Her nimble approach and hybrid business model is based on a keen understanding of the industry, a deep well of contacts and Neuwirth’s own unique background and entrepreneurial talents.
“It’s important to know how to get a book into someone’s hands,” she says.
Intent on making that process as painless as possible for authors, the founder of East End Press and of Neuwirth Associates — a Manhattan-based book design and production company — works with everyone from “the big five” publishing houses to independent presses, academic, business and University presses to get quality books into the hands of readers. Her approach to publishing has resulted in projects ranging from Hampton Weekends by Ellen Wright to the Montauk Mike series by Nina Ross.
Using her resources to make the experience better for emerging talent, the Bridgehampton resident reports working with East End-based writers and artists and guiding them through the process of publishing brings her immense joy.
“There’s so much talent out here,” says Neuwirth. “I know how to get the book made, and I love celebrating the East End.”
Business has been very good, especially in the past year, as people’s priorities have shifted during the pandemic. With a healthy pipeline of approximately 500 projects in the works, including a compelling soon-to-be-released memoir by a Sag Harbor-based Holocaust survivor, Neuwirth reports that she’s been enjoying some of the benefits of time spent out east.
“Being out here and working remotely pretty much full time, it’s the best of both worlds,” she says.
Loving what you do is a key to success, she says, but making time for mental and physical health is also an important part of the equation. In spite of her loaded schedule, she tries to do just that every single day — starting with getting up early to meditate and work on a jigsaw puzzle before she spends hours in front of a computer screen.
The nature lover and wildlife rescue volunteer also makes an effort to get outside and moving daily — whether it’s “spending time on the farm” or taking advantage of the Greenbelt outside her door. She especially loves walks and rides with her horse, Teddy, a chocolate brown Thoroughbred, and dog, Chase, “a beautiful mutt who loves to sing” and is often requested to do so at birthday parties.
Especially in the past year, Neuwirth has been counting her blessings, she adds.
“I’m so grateful to have this beautiful place, which is filled with so many talented people who are passionate about where they live and are filled with the energy to create,” she says. After all, in writing and in life, it’s all about the essence of discovery, adventure and cultivating joy.
“Get out there, be curious and aware,” she says. “You never know where good things are going to come from.”