Tag Archives: publishing

Three Things Thursday: Familius and Christopher Robbins

Today we are talking with Christopher Robbins (yep, you’ve heard a name like that before) about his company FAMILIUS.

See what he says, below.

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Familius mission: To help families be happy.  

Through the use of current digital technologies, Familius connects families with the books, e-books, videos, articles, and apps they need to build successful marriages and families. Familius is a  transmedia publisher, creating content across multiple platforms that focuses on marriage, parenting, family fun, fiction, education, health and wellness, and children.

1. Christopher, you worked for many years at Gibbs-Smith. What did you do there? How did this time prepare you to launch FAMILIUS?

I’ve been in book and magazine publishing since 1992.  As the CEO of Gibbs Smith during the late nineties and until 2012 I was part of a company that went from a regional, small, western publisher to  one of the most significant illustrated book publishers in the country, outpacing many of the New York houses in design, architecture, business, children’s, and cooking categories. At one point we held 40% of the top spots in design, had a NY Times bestseller, and were publishing over 100 titles a year.  Being part of such growth helped me to experience every area of publishing, from acquisitions to editorial to production to accounting to sales and marketing to fulfillment and more. Further as the industry changed from independents to chains to online to chain bankruptcy, the rise of social media, ebooks, and more, I became very familiar with the need of a publishing company to constantly adapt. The most important thing I learned was that publishing is a product driven business–publishing is about acquiring, not about editing.

2. What makes Familius different than other publishers? And is that difference good for all writers?

Familius is different in that we are not trying to be a traditional book publisher. First, we are what I call a transmedia publisher, a company that tries to publish content in as many ways as possible–books, articles, apps, video, etc. 52 School Lunches is a good example. This book succeeds as an ebook for all devices, an app for all devices, as content for our familius.com and as a print book scheduled for winter 2015. Further, at Familius we work hard and invest significantly in creating a website that attracts a family demographic. We don’t want to delegate the sales and marketing responsibility to stores or reps. We want to have a direct relationship with our customers. So, the third phase of Familius which launches in September is about building a community. As we strengthen our community we can then focus on finding writers for our readers rather than readers for our writers. This strategy inverts the traditional publishing program.

I think Familius is a company for writers who want to explore a new way of publishing and who are very eager to partner with a company who acts as a steward of their content. We don’t do well with authors who just expect us to do everything. Authors who engage with us throughout the process seem to enjoy the company and have more success. And so do we.

3. I know you are launching middle grade and young adult fiction this year. Why did you decide to step into the fiction arena?

We decided to explore fiction for two reasons: first, my kids always complained that I  never published anything they wanted to read. Second, we feel that there’s opportunity to publish very good, intelligent, wholesome, family-friendly fiction. We’d like to be a counterpoint to some of what’s out there. We’ve been working with some of our authors on what I call our fiction constitution, a standard of what we’ll be acquiring and publishing.

4. Are you a writer, too? What do you love to read?

I am a writer. I have published in poetry and nonfiction. My tastes in literature, art, music, and film are very eclectic. One day I’ll reread something like Tale of Two Cities or Pride and Prejudice and the next day I’ll read Edgar Rice Burroughs or one of my children’s picture or JV titles and then I’ll be reading Michael Pollan or a leadership book. Probably ADHD. I just like to explore and learn and discover.
5. Everyone will want to know this, Christopher, so I need to ask–what are you looking for to round out Familius’ line of books?
For our list, we’re looking to flesh out our family categories: marriage, parenting, family fun, education, health and wellness, children’s and fiction. We can be as broad as we want provided that we’re dealing with something that fulfills our mission to help families be happy. I’d personally love to see us publish both lighthearted gift books as well as some hard hitting, well-researched books on why marriage and family are important for society.
6. You work a lot with full-time college students. What do you look for in students who help you and what do you want them to do for Familius?
We work with both experienced and inexperienced people at Familius. We have a very robust international internship program that I have loved. It allows us to stay abreast of new and fresh ideas. Young people are exceptionally talented and energetic. They love to participate. They are grateful  to participate. And we’re grateful to have them. We also work with experienced editors, those who have more than five years of boots-on-the-ground editorial experience. This is clearly necessary to ensure our books have a professionalism to them. That said, I’m confident we can be better and strive to constantly challenge our  quality.
7. What is your hope for Familius in five years?
My hope for Familius in five years is that it is not only publishing around 50 titles annually but that it has a strong staff of family-dedicated employees who sincerely believe that the family is the central unit of society and who know that if we wish to improve the world, we need to work to support the family.

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Accomplishing Your Dreams


[dreem]  noun, verb, dreamed or dreamt, dream·ing, adjective



1. a succession of images, thoughts, or emotions passing through the mind during sleep.–Did you know that creative people have more nightmares than non-creative people? Yup. I read that somewhere.
2. the sleeping state in which this occurs. Once I arose at 5 every morning to write. Chris Crowe can do it (every morning at 4), why couldn’t I? Cheri Earl gets up early and writes. Sometimes. But when I did it I was so sleepy, I couldn’t even remember what I wrote or IF I wrote. Find your best time to write. Stick to it. Write when you can, put best you on the paper.
3. an object seen in a dream. Having something recur in a story makes the object important. It must play a role in the climax of the novel in some way.
4. an involuntary vision occurring to a person when awake. I won’t tell you of my really scary recurring nightmare that had to do with a large man. That I think may have been more real than I want to remember.
5. a vision voluntarily indulged in while awake; daydream; reverie. I used to dream I’d make enough money to live on. Sheesh! There’s nothing to see here! Move on!
6. an aspiration; goal; aim:  This is us, as a group–We’re writers dreaming for something big, something exciting–to hold our published novels in our hands. Can we do it? Will you? Will I keep putting in the hours? Will Ann Dee? Kyra?
7. a wild or vain fancy. Our writing? Is our writing a vain fancy? Or are we really going after the dream and making it a reality?
8. something of an unreal beauty, charm, or excellence. Do you ever write that one great line and think, “Wow! Woweekazowie! That was inspired! No one has written a line like that. I may not have written that line. I think an angel helped me on that gem.”
Just remember, inspiration SHOULD help you form a good, strong thought.
Here’s a dream:
I have a not-so-secret crush on Ryan Reynolds. He is tall and my agent, Steve, has seen Ryan on the streets of New York.

A most beautiful dream, written, recorded and worth listening to often.

‘I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope.’ Martin Luther King, Jr. August 28, 1963

(look for the blue word HERE to hear the speech)
“Every novel should have a dream in it.” Louise Plummer, not an exact quote, but from my memory.
I used to always dream about one house in particular. It was huge. I could go anywhere in the house except behind specific doors because something evil was behind there. I don’t know what it was. But this was a recurring dream. And the house always had glass door knobs.
What do you think about your dreams? Are they attainable?
What about your nightmares?
So there!
I tried to put Johnny Depp on here, but he disappeared off the page.
I guess I won’t be marrying him after all.
(PS I will edit this after I get back from taking Cait to work. Please excuse any mistakes.)


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Hello. It is I, Kyra Leigh Williams.

I haven’t posted in a few weeks. I’m sorry. I’ve gotten a job and I also don’t have a computer.

How has everyone been? Have you all sold novels and such?

Today at work I met a lady who is writing a Harry Potter cook book. The food always did sound good in that book. I said “Bring me a copy to check out if you sell it.” And she was like “Seriously?” and I said, “Yea sure.” Then I went to my register. Later on, she came to my register to ring up and was like, “So should I bring a bunch of my books in to sell when I publish it?”

I didn’t know what to say. I just responded with . . . “Sure” haha.

My novel is almost finished. Does anyone want to read and edit it? Ann Dee, let’s read each others. He he just kidding. But I do want to read yours. I hear it’s awesome. According to me madre.

Really though. Have you ever felt close to publication? Because I feel like I could almost be there. Which is like, the best feeling ever. Not really but it is awesome.

OH! There are new Toaster Melts at Sonic for two bucks and I think you should all go and get one. I am currently addicted to them and they are off the HEEEEZAY good! Yum yum!! I hope you all try them.

Eric took the library card and rented my book for me while I was at work and ended up leaving the card at the library. Luckily we got it mailed to us and I managed to get some books on tape. {How I Live Now, Feed, and Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging. All award winning novels that I suggest you check out.} OH yeah. I’m going to Vegas tomorrow. I am stoked!!!

My cough has come back and I better give this computer back to Chris. Everyone have a great weekend. And check out the cover to Mom’s new book, Waiting.

(Sorry–I can’t figure how to add the picture. But if you go to my Facebook page you can see it there. )


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