Was I in my prime? Or at the end of my power curve? I wasn’t sure! The year 1995 would nevertheless surely emerge as the pivotal juncture of my career.
Why? I now headed up a company growing like a weed in a rain forest, and I required help. Ill equipped to direct the activities of 30 people, I hired a general manager. Charlie Drucker came on board with solid experience in the corporate world. I loved Charlie; he was the perfect GM! However, the choice angered my right hand man, who would in time depart to start his own business. Personal dynamics can be tough at a critical juncture or size transition. That said, Charlie’s skill and direction empowered me to focus on product again.
We began to experience distributor-based limitations. Our books were simply not marking up sales in the chains that we required. We appealed to them for a better rate, so we could direct more funding into advertising. No dice.
Next, we considered a dynamic partnership with a larger publisher. The goal? To leverage a larger entity so as to move our books into the chains in greater quantity. To my surprise, Charlie approached our biggest competitor—which now owned Sams—Macmillan. Sams responded positively: they were “green” on the prospect of distributing of our book line, but “double-green” on the possibility of purchasing Waite Group Press outright.
I had never anticipated such a direct offer!
1995 is the year I determined I wanted a child. Selling Waite Group appeared to be the logical life choice to empower my choice to start my own family. 1995 was also the year we created a New Media division (an imprint inside Waite Group Press) to address the reality that CD-ROM based programs and courses were proving to stand as an increasing cornerstone of our business model.
- Certified Course in C, a New Media title, facilitated students to earn a graded / certified degree from the University of Phoenix.
- Virtual Reality BASIC emerged as our first software product. The balance of our line of titles built on the foundations of previous Waite Group efforts.
- Internet How To was produced as the second editions of our ray tracing, visual basic, and image lab books.
- Engines of Creation was our first shelf offering to address the Macintosh platform as a base on which to construct virtual reality realms.
- We also jumped into the world of Photoshop with our Photoshop Special Effects How To title.
- DOOM Construction Kit served as our first game book.
- Finally, 1995 stands as the year we discovered Andre Lamothe. Andre authored his first book on programming video games in C, called Black Art of 3D Game Programming. He then evolved his career to become the world’s best selling computer game programming author. Andre’s new company is called Extreme Games. Don’t miss investigating this one!
We had anticipated that our book sales at the chains would fall, and our output of titles had in fact diminished. With shifting market realities before us, the prospect of a deal, with a capital “D”, with Macmillan was looking ever more attractive.