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Gay Moroccan Poetry Is Not Going To Save Our Publishing Business - Khan Manka, Jr. - The Chairman's Blog

Gay Moroccan Poetry Is Not Going To Save Our Publishing Business

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cyrus_weinstein.jpgGood morning.  Last night, I had dinner with Cyrus Weinstein - President of the Manka Bros. Publishing Group.  He informed me that the publishing business is in danger - books, magazines and newspaper sales are way down.  And it's not just because of the recession - it's a full-scale shift in the way people consume media.  The increase in digital downloads and advertising from online publishing sites (including our own Mankazines and Manka Books websites) are not making up the difference.  The only glimmer of a bright spot was our MC Comics division which we continue to mine for feature film franchises.

As we proceeded to eat our $200 steaks at Cut in Beverly Hills (which I hope Cyrus will not attempt to put through in his expense report!), I asked him what he thought, if anything, could turn things around.  He told me one word... "niche."  He has developed a "long tail" niche publishing strategy that will focus completely on his target audience - people who buy books (i.e., old people, gay people, lonely widows, etc.). 

awake_in_my_dreams.jpgHe punctuated his thought by telling me that Manka Iambic (our Poetry Publishing imprint - who knew?) had just signed gay Moroccan poet Ahmet Ghary Cool to a two book deal worth over $1 million dollars.  His first book for us will be called Awake In My Dreams and will come out this fall.

"How many poetry books by this guy do you expect to sell?", I asked.

As Cyrus drank from his glass of 1982 Mouton-Rothchild, he said... "Two to three thousand in the first year and then a few hundred every year after that - mostly to gay Moroccan college students.  It's not about sales.  It's about prestige.  We'll win awards with that guy and that will drive other authors to our labels."

After a long pause and a couple of shots of Slivovitz, I asked him what else was on the drawing board.

"We have a terrific new cook book coming out called Great Recipes By Unknown Chefs and a user-generated travel book called Best Of The Internet Travel Blogs."

For some reason, I thought I was on some sort of Gotcha/Punk'd television show where the host would come out and Cyrus would say it was all a joke.

But it wasn't a joke.  This is the future of our Publishing Group and it seriously scares the shit out of me. 

Cyrus Weinstein has been a trailblazing executive in the world of publishing for over 40 years but I think his dinosaur bones are starting to show and it may be time to bury him so that future generations can dig him up and say "Oh, so this is what a publishing executive looked like."

But... he has earned my respect over the years and he deserves the shot to make his new strategy work. 

God help us all.

khan_jr1_small.jpgKhan Manka, Jr. - Chairman & CEO - Manka Bros. Studios - The World's Largest Media Company


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10 Comments

John Perry said:

Niche is very difficult to pull off. It doesn't work in the broadcast TV world, only in cable and there it doesn't really work either.

John Perry - MBS Comedy Development

Hollywood Producer said:

I think it's going to take more than 2,000 books sold to make up for that million dollars. Good luck with that shitty strategy, Cyrus.

Molly Glover said:

What makes it gay Moroccan poetry and not just Moroccan poetry? Or just Poetry in general. I agree that it won't sell many copies - but poetry very rarely does. I think you should not market it as gay Moroccan Poetry. If it wins a major literary prize, it would pay for itself.

Gay Moroccan Poet said:

Finally! Thank God!

Miss California said:

In my country we don't approve of Gay Moroccan Poetry.
But we do eat Moroccan food.

Abby Rode said:

How do you know it won't save your publishing business? Do you know how many gay Moroccans there are in the world? [that's a question for you, I don't really know the answer - but it's probably a lot.]

Fred thomas Fred said:

Oh Miss California. The world is your oyster.

Lloyd Grohl said:

You're giving Cyrus way too much latitude for a really fucked up idea!

Lloyd Grohl - President & COO - Manka Bros.

Safae said:

how dare you take the mik out of my home country..i feel violated and hated. Morocco is a beautiful country, and so is everything that made it that way..the music, the clothes, the food EVERYTHING!!

Cyrus Weinstein said:

hey Safae,

Why are you so upset? Manka Bros. is publishing this poetry collection. I think the point of the blog was to say that - that book alone will not bring in the kind of revenue that Manka Bros. needs to survive. We need more popular titles. It has nothing to do with Morocco.

Cyrus Weinstein - President - Manka Bros. Publishing Group

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About Khan Manka, Jr.
Khan Manka, Jr.Khan Manka, Jr. assumed the title of Chairman of the Board of Manka Bros. Studios - The World's Largest Media Company - following his father Harry Manka's death in 1976. Before that he was the member of several Southern California rock bands.



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