Firebrand Technologies is excited to share the following news with our loyal customers and extended community!

Firebrand is now the North American distributor for Book2Look, an innovative widget for reading and sharing book content online. The Book2Look widget will be offered alongside Firebrand’s Content Services, offering users faster setup and implementation than mainstream commercial offerings and as a promotion option for NetGalley customers. Book2Look is also available for non-Firebrand customers.

untethered-soulPlease take a moment to view a sample of the widget implemented for “Untethered Soul,” from New Harbinger Publications. The book – already a breakaway success – was recently featured on Good Morning America by Oprah, and is a New York Times bestseller. Untethered Soul is expected to see high volume use of this newly featured content view tool.

Please view and download a copy of our brochure, or Contact Firebrand for more information.

Sign up for an informative overview webinar on Book2Look being offered on Wednesday, January 9th from 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EST. Register here.



Congratulations Globe Pequot Press

Firebrand would like to congratulate Globe Pequot Press for the recent nomination of their New York Times Bestseller – Domingo Martinez’ The Boy Kings of Texas: A Memoir – as a National Book Award Finalist in the nonfiction category.

Globe Pequot have been a part of the Firebrand family for years; both as Title Management and Content Services users. We’re thrilled to have them aboard, and are elated to pass along our congratulations on this fine achievement.

First-time author Martinez is included alongside four renowned journalists in the nonfiction category. All four of Martinez’s fellow finalists are Pulitzer Prize winners: Anthony Shadid, House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East (Houghton Mifflin); past National Book Award winner Robert A. Caro, The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Volume 4 (Knopf); Katherine Boo, Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity (Random House); and Anne Applebaum, Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1945-1956 (Doubleday).

Partly a reflection on the culture of machismo and partly an exploration of the author’s boyhood spent in his sister’s hand-me-downs, The Boy Kings of Texas: A Memoir delves into the enduring and complex bond between Martinez and his deeply flawed but fiercely protective older brother, Daniel, and features a cast of memorable characters—including his gun-hoarding former farmhand Gramma and “the Mimis,” two of his older sisters who for a short, glorious time, manage to transform themselves from poor Latina adolescents into upper-class white girls. In telling his story, Martinez provides a real glimpse into a society where children are traded like commerce, physical altercations routinely solve problems, drugs are rampant, sex is often crude, and people depend on the family witch doctor for advice. In short, there is never a dull moment within the covers of The Boy Kings of Texas: A Memoir. The book was published in July 2012.

“This award has given deserved exposure for such an eloquent writer, Domingo Martinez,” said Globe Pequot President, Jim Joseph. “The other finalists in the nonfiction category all have a Pulitzer Prize to their name and this is Domingo’s debut work. The book is so deserving of the attention and it’s great to see that others recognize it too. Having an author as a finalist in the National Book Awards is the highest honor for Globe Pequot Press. We have the most talented and committed people here. We’re excited that a piece of the fine publishing we do every day will be seen and recognized by so many others as a result of this.”

Commendable work, Globe! We’re happy for you in your achievement here, and are continually grateful and proud to be able to serve you.

For more information on The Boy Kings of Texas: A Memoir, and Domingo Martinez, click here.

We love hearing Firebrand Community success stories. If you’ve got something you’d like to share, we’d love to hear from you!

The Truth About Cats and Dogs: Navigating the Digital vs. Print Publishing “Debate”

In the world of pets, the two major players are cats and dogs. Some of us refer to ourselves as cat lovers, some as dog lovers, and there are even some that walk both sides of the line, which is totally acceptable. And yes, it would be remiss if we didn’t report that there are even folks that don’t care for any of the aforementioned descriptions.

In the world of publishing, the two major players that have been debated at great lengths in recent times are digital and print.

Some of us refer to ourselves as digital consumers. Like a cat, digital publications are seemingly independent entities. They don’t need much in the way of care, and they’re there when you’re ready for them in an instant. If you’re not in need, they’re just as happy hanging out tableside, taking up little space, and making little noise. Digital publications, in many ways, are easier, and cheaper to obtain. If you’ve got one, you’ve likely got two or more, as merchants are constantly waving “sale” flags. In some cases they’re virtually giving ‘em away.

Some of us refer to ourselves as print consumers. Like a dog, the print publication generally takes up a bit more space. You’re more apt to trip over them. Wherever you’re at in a room, they’re there staring back at you, yearning to be picked up. They don’t want to be banished to the book shelf, where they’re doomed to collect dust and not bask in the glory of being touched by their owner. Fact is, they demand far more care than that of their counterpart, and investing in a book takes a bit more work at the outset.

Of course, there are some of us that appreciate the benefits and features of both digital and print publications. And furthermore, there are even folks that don’t like reading at all. To each their own…

No matter what category you fall into, the truth can be boiled down into simple terms (and without any debate whatsoever): There is no right and/or wrong.

The importance of this notion for publishers is that you must pay attention to, and focus on “all of the above,” which many have been working to achieve for quite some time now (this is not “new” news by any means, and if it is, you’ve been spending a bit too much time walking the dog).

eBook architect (and guru) Joshua Tallent summed it up best during his presentation at this year’s Firebrand Community Conference (#Fire2012). He claimed that no matter the track – digital or print – the end result is merely a container. The container is either a bunch of pages bound together with glue, or an ePub file. Simple as that.

For publishers, it’s important to think of yourself as not merely a book publisher, but as a content publisher. Content, as they say, is king. Your audience is filled with folks that walk on both sides of the line (and even on it), and thus, it’s imperative to the lifeblood of your organization that they’re all equally accounted for and taken seriously.

For readers, there are many exciting developments in the world of publishing, and in the way you consume content. The idea that you can cross back and forth between formats and pick up where you left off is a convenience and a revelation that is worth looking into. The future, as it stands now, is an intriguing study with an uncertain, but exciting landscape. It’s okay if you’re not willing to walk both sides of the line. It’s just an option. And whether you’re a cat lover, or a dog lover (or both), options are good. We can all agree on that. Oh, and if you leave a dog and a cat in room together for long enough, they’ll eventually get along (right?)

The bottom line is, all of this boils down to content, or the personality of an entity that will either make or break a story and whatever “container” it’s presented in. The truth about cats and dogs is; truth is in the eye of the beholder. In truth there may exist variety. In variety the point is not found in debate; it’s found in executing both sides of the coin effectively. Adapting to this variety and rewriting a bit of your own story in the process should be considered a fruitful and engaging endeavor. The story (on all levels), and that quest for truth, is, quite frankly, all that matters.

How are you managing your digital vs. print initiatives?

The Answer is…

The 2012 Firebrand Community Conference (#Fire2102) was an eye and mind opening experience for all in attendance. The publishing industry has been in a state of flux for a number of years now with debates looming large over the battle between digital and print formats, how to market effectively and efficiently amidst a stream of ostensibly relevant channels, and who to turn to for answers in one’s attempt to navigate the myriad of other issues, advancements, and new noisy terrain present in the publishing world today.

The answer that seemed to prevail was: There is no answer.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes having an answer detracts from the exploration of other avenues, and those other avenues happen to be the present beauty within a scene in flux. Sure, not having one true answer can feel uncomfortable. But what good is comfort when there is literally no time for rest? What the Community Conference successfully accomplished was the notion that everyone in the room is in the same boat. There’s no such thing as smooth sailing. Power in numbers will allow you to steady the boat to some extent… The answers are in our uncertainties; they’re present in every campaign we launch, for better or worse. They’re in experimenting with new ways to conduct antiquated practices. They’re in harnessing the power of technology and using that power to better put forth a message or task. They’re in accepting change and welcoming that change into our daily routine(s). They’re in communicating with your peers to listen and hear stories of success and/or failure. And that’s what we’re all doing, isn’t it? We’re telling stories, and we’re hoping to get those stories heard.

When Firebrand’s Chief Igniter, Fran Toolan stepped on stage to welcome the crowd to “the show,” he stood in front of a projected quote from famed musician and songwriter David Crosby. This is how it read:

“Bands work, on the highest level, when there’s submission to a greater thing.”

The idea and overall validation that was found at the Conference is that we’re all an integral part of the band. Sure we represent a vast array of different organizations, but at the end of the day, we’re all in the publishing industry facing the same issues. By working together we’re strengthening the industry’s means of survival. The overwhelming participation by all in attendance during the two days that made up #Fire2012 is staggering proof that the sentiment outlined in Crosby’s quote seemingly rings true amongst publishing professionals. We may not have the answer, but collectively we have the answers to help construct the bridge that will get each of us from point A to point B. Without a doubt there was some beautiful, thought-provoking music made at the 2012 Firebrand Community Conference. As Brian O’Leary mentioned in his keynote presentation, “There’s plenty to do. Let’s keep working on it.” We’re all here due to a mutual admiration of what it means to be in publishing and working amidst a group of rousing individuals. In crazy, turbulent times the best work comes out of those that keep plugging away and keeping the lines of communication open. If we keep hitting the right notes and practice hard every day, both as individuals and as a member of the greater whole, we’ll be hard pressed to fall. It’ll be interesting to see where the band takes it from here.

Traveling to Newburyport for the Community Conference #Fire2012

Hey All!

We’ve received a few inquiries into the best ways to get to Newburyport, Mass via plane, train, and automobile. Here’s a bit of info:

Airports and Train Stations

Boston Logan Airport and Manchester, New Hampshire are suitable for visiting Newburyport. Both airports are about 45 minutes from the office.

Also, for those traveling by train From anywhere along the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak can be taken into South Station (Boston). The Acela is 3.5 hours from Penn Station to South Station, and runs hourly until 7pm.

Transportation from Airports

Regal Limo was recommended by one of the inns. They have sedans, vans and other vehicles that can accommodate up to 10-14 passengers and even other larger vehicles for more passengers.

Our Friends at the University of Alabama Press found a reasonable shuttle service to and from the Manchester Airport. They also serve the Boston airport. They are a shared van service called Flightline. They have to be notified and paid a week in advance. After certain hours there is an extra charge, but it looks like they will pick up any time.

Other Local Transportation Services

C&J Trailways Bus Service – from Boston Logan Airport (and South Station adjacent to the Train station) to Newburyport.
Newburyport Taxi Service – Seacoast Taxi (978) 499-9990

Port Taxi978-465-2333

For those that are driving to our event there is parking available at the inns. There is also a public parking lot between the Firebrand Technologies office and the Firehouse Center and another lot located to the right and behind the Firehouse. The access road for this is just beyond the Firehouse when you are leaving the office. These parking lots are within walking distance of the inns in Newburyport. Another public lot is available across the street from the Firehouse but that is limited to 2 hour parking so parking there is not suggested.

Feel free to give us a shout with any further questions: 978.465.7755

Extracurricular Activities Add Extra Excitement to Firebrand Community Conference (#Fire2012)

While the goal of the Firebrand Community Conference is to convene in a single location and chat about the daily challenges we’re all facing in the publishing industry, the underlying theme of said event stretches beyond the conference room, and resides right in the title: Community.

What does this mean?

Firebrand takes great pride in cultivating a tight-knit community with all of our clients and friends in the industry, and the notion that the lines of communication remain open at all times. If we’re all working together towards a common goal, we all win – plain and simple. Community is important in any endeavor you pursue. If there’s no community to fall back on, all you’ll do is fall. And a free-fall can be quite uncomfortable.

In the spirit of community and in building relationships within our network of industry contacts, we’ve got two extracurricular activities that we want to make you aware of that will be taking place around normal conference hours. Building relationships outside of the daily grind is beneficial practice, and the sentiment of being friendly with those that you work with on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis can offer great reward and stronger working bonds.

On Wednesday evening we’ve reserved David’s Tavern (part of the Garrison Inn where some of you may be staying), for a night of rousing camaraderie in the guise of an open-mic Community Jam. The goal is to pull together some of the musicians from our community, provide some instruments for anyone who is interested, and see what happens. What better way to strengthen tight-knit communal bonds than to make music together?

Whether you play guitar, drums, bass, harmonica, bassoon… (I know, it’s a stretch), we would love to have you join us for the fun. Let us emphasize… FUN! We’ll put together a few chords and play some classics. Rock n’ Roll, Folk Rock, Blues, Country, whatever.

Thursday morning will be the Firebrand Run, which will be split into two groups – runners and hikers.  The run and hike will start at the Garrison statue in front of Garrison Inn. We will meet at 6:00am and be on the road by 6:15, returning by 7:00am. The run/hike route will take us up over  the Merrimac River draw bridge and follow the Old Eastern Marsh Trail through the beautiful early morning wetlands of Salisbury. The route will be out and back on the same course. The run will be 4 miles at an easy pace and the hike will be approximately 2+ miles, but anyone who wants to stop and enjoy the view is welcome to.  We can collect you on the return, so you can pick whatever length you are interested in.  Except for the bridge portion, the trail is straight and flat on an even asphalt foot path.  Sneakers or hiking shoes are fine – there is no off-road trails.

Anyone who joins is officially indoctrinated into the Firebrand Endurance Team and will receive a team shirt.

See you at 6:00am at the Garrison – Rain or Shine! As mentioned, we’ll be back to the Garrison by 7:00am in time to shower up, and hit day two of the conference, where breakfast will be available!

Please come and join in on the fun! And again we stress… FUN!

Join us at the conference, and keep the conversation going on Facebook and  Twitter: #Fire2012

Firebrand Community Conference Inside Edition: Q&A with Firebrand Founder, Fran Toolan

Firebrand’s  Chief Igniter, Fran Toolan sounds off on what the annual Community Conference means to him, and the sentiment about being a part of the Firebrand family – which takes a lot of pride in cultivating a cohesive working community within the publishing industry. He promises he won’t completely re-introduce the branding of the company this time around, and will leave the floor wide open for industry professionals to sound off on what they’re challenges are and how we can work together to make the ever-changing pace of the industry a bit smoother to navigate. Chris Hislop is back to his investigative ways, this time sending Toolan to press.

Chris Hislop: In your own words, what is the goal of the Community Conference?

Fran Toolan: There are several objectives of the conference as far as I am concerned:

  • To inform our community about what we are doing
  • To educate them about new technologies in publishing
  • To bring them together to work on common problems
  • To foster relationships between the Firebrand Team and our customers as well as foster relationships between our customers
  • To have everyone leave with actionable ideas that they can put into practice when they get back to their respective offices
  • To have fun
  • To feel proud to be part of the Firebrand Community

CH: What excites you about hosting this event?

FT: The positive energy that is produced both in preparation and in the execution of the event.  It’s a time where we really get to enjoy the camaraderie of our clients and partners and to engage in dialogs on topics where we share a common passion. It’s also a time where the Firebrand team gets really excited.  Everyone in the company gets involved in this, from showcasing development, to helping with logistics, to planning sessions.

CH: You’ve used the conference in the past as a platform to completely rebrand your business. Any big moves up for announcement this time around?

FT: [Laughs] Nothing as big as that, no. This year’s focus is on demonstrating how we’ve listened to our customers. There are many new developments in Title Management, Eloquence, Content Services, and NetGalley (that will be just rolling out a new website if all goes according to plan), and these major developments all reflect what we believe our clients want from us.  We’re very excited to show these off and get feedback from our customers.

CH: The adoption of Social Media in Publishing is becoming more and more prevalent when it comes to industry marketing/outreach. How important is this skill for the contemporary publishing world?

FT: The handwriting is on the wall. Social Media is not a fad, it’s the manifestation of the promise of the internet, and it will be with us for generations.  Our generation is getting to write the original rules on how it is used, and there’s a lot of experimentation going on.  I don’t think Social Media is a “skill” yet because it’s a moving target.  But, I agree that understanding it’s capabilities and making the most of those capabilities are important for any business that wants to be around for the long term.  For publishing the goal has always been to get a product message in front of a customer when they are ready to hear that message. Social Media gives publishers all kinds of tools to help achieve that objective.

CH: You set out on a quest to slay the “Rights Dragon” at the last Community Conference. How is that quest going? Can you weigh in on the metadata issues related to selling books internationally?

FT: Well, those are a couple of loaded questions, and all I can say is that they will be answered at the conference – so anyone really interested needs to attend. We’ve already held a preliminary webinar on what we’re doing with slaying the rights dragon, and it was very well received. We expect to unveil the finished product at the conference.  With regard to metadata issues for selling eBooks internationally, we are currently working with a couple of customers on solving that dilemma, and we expect to demonstrate that as part of the show as well.

CH: Who inspires you in the world of publishing? 

FT: The people that inspire me most are honest, have integrity, and let their actions speak more than their words.  (We are fortunate to have many people in our organization that have such qualities.) In publishing specifically, those people who back up their passion for the industry with actions and hard work – even though they go down the road less travelled – are very inspirational to me.

CH: How did you get into the industry?

FT: I came to publishing as a general IT consultant many years ago and worked with companies like William Morrow, Random House, Prentice Hall, Harper & Row, and Addison Wesley. In working with these companies I simply fell in love with the book business. I started Quality Solutions (Firebrand’s previous brand name), in 1987 because I thought that having in-depth knowledge of the industry that we serve would improve the quality of what we delivered and lower the cost. I believe that we are still here today because the market agreed with that philosophy.

Join us at the Conference! Click here for more information and to register.