Saturday, April 29, 2006

bdb statement of intent

Inspired by being absent while travelling I put down some thoughts about where black dog might have got to in five and something years and came up with these ideas. Now mission and vision statements are out of fashion it is time we had one. This is in part a description of who and what we are, and in part what we are, hopefully, becoming:

We’re about communication. The communication of ideas. Of making people think, and hopeful of thinking in new ways, of seeing things a little differently. We’re about shifting people’s perspective a little.
We communicate through words and pictures and the way they are put together on the pages of books
We pursue excellence in everything we do, but especially in the books we produce. Excellence is an end in itself. Excellence is more important than profitabillity but we believe if our books are excellent profit will follow.
Our core skill is editorial. First and foremost we are at the end, all of us, a group of editors. So, editorial excellence.
We are an opportunity for our people to pursue editorial excellence.
A very important part of excellence is innovation. So we experiment. We try new things.
We recognise that books aren’t just words. They are an arrangement of words on pages and of words and images on pages, and an arrangement of pages between covers. Each book is an object in itself and we create books that are beautiful and satisfying in themselves. We want people to love the content and to love the form in which it is presented. Therefore we pursue design and illustration excellence.
We recognize and celebrate the book as a highly sophisticated product of some 1000 of years of evolution. It’s a compact and efficient and unique form of communication that gives readers an enormous amount of pleasure.
We produce books where the form follows function. They’re not just pretty for the sake of being pretty.
We want to reach the maximum number of the readers for every book that we can. The point of making a book is so that it is read. We want our books not just bought but read – and re-read.
We make books that move people and enlarge their understanding of the world.
We want to create books that other people are passionate about.
We are profitable as that is the life blood of the business. Without profit we die. We’re not here for tomorrow. We’re idealistic and pragmatic.
We’re an Australian publisher first and foremost, even when we are bringing books to an international market, and bringing books from other places to the Australian market. Every location has something special to offer and we recognise and explore the opportunities our location offers in terms of producing excellent, innovative books.
We recognize that we bring a different perspective to our books than businesses who are not owned within Australia, and that perspective is an opportunity.
We don’t patronize readers, especially children. We talk to them not down to them.
Our books reflect the quirky irreverence of childhood. In our books we recognize the freshness that exists before people are fully enculturated into the mainstream adult world. We bring this freshness into both the children and adults books we produce. This freshness leads to innovation.
We recognize that our scale is an opportunity. We are independent, flexible and passionate. Decisions can be made quickly and the person making the decision is responsible for it. Each of us is accessible and everybody working at black dog has an influence of the workings of the whole.
We bring passion to what we do. We are passionate about every book we do.
We want to build authors, not just publish single manuscripts. We want to build relationships with authors and illustrators and designers.
We want to be part of a broader community of books, writing and publishing, and we want to build a community around black dog books.
We want to give give opportunities for people whose talents may otherwise have been overlooked. A lot of creativity is about the opportunity.
Last and perhaps most importantly we want to do our best by our authors and illustrators. We want to turn their words and pictures into the best book they can be, a book that will reach the maximum audience for them and touch the heart of their readers.

Comments welcome. PS: I'd love someone to come up with a better word than excellence.


Mike Shuttleworth said...

Andrew, I think you could throw in 'originality' too. Without it, there is no risk, no innovation and no excellence. Books like Dragonkeeper, Dog Wars, the Drum series, Michael Pankridge's books, all do something new. So the nimbleness of being a smaller organisation may have something to do with the ways an organisation can work creatively and bring the new to an audience. I wonder if we shy away from the idea of originality, fearing that it travels with the downside of risk. But therein lies the excitement and the pleasure of books.

Andrew's black dog blog said...

"Nimbleness?" - yes, that sounds very appealing. And I like the way you expressed: originality traveling with the downside of risk. That's food for thought. The upside of risk being first with something new that's fresh and appealing?

Kelly G said...