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Behind the Pages: A Conversation with David Henley, Founder of Brio Books

David Henley is the Founder of Publisher Brio Books. With a passion for storytelling and a keen eye for literary talent, David has played a role in shaping the landscape of Australian publishing. We got a chance to sit down with David to hear about his business and his thoughts on keeping a ecommerce / publishing company running smoothly.

Could you tell us a bit about your business?

David: Brio has been around for over 10 years. We started as a design company, providing marketing and video/advertising services for the big publishers. Over time, we began working with universities like The University of Technology and independent creators and became a publisher in our own right. Under Brio, we have produced over 1000 covers, spanning both non-fiction, fiction and childrens books, across a range of genres. While our primary focus is on Australian authors, we also work with some international authors and companies.

What was your inspiration to take the leap and start Brio?

David: When we initially started the business, it was just my partner Jon and me, working as freelancers. As we built our independent client list, it gradually grew to a critical mass that could sustain its own entity. While we were making decent money as freelancers, we saw the benefits of having a company, such as the ability to take holidays. So, we decided to create Brio as a company.

Can you share something you wish you knew before starting in the publishing business?

David: One aspect that took us by surprise was the discrepancy between book sales and the return of funds. When a book is sold to a bookstore, for example, we then need to pay royalties to the author. However, if the book is returned, we may need to issue a refund. This aspect caught us off guard in the past. Related to that, we also wish we had a better understanding of cash flow timing. The end of the year is when the majority of books are purchased, and having a better appreciation of cash flow seasonality and when funds are truly ours would have been beneficial.

How is Brio different from major publishers?

David: While the major publishers have a hundred years of market leadership on us, we differentiate ourselves through the speed and client connection we have with our authors. Instead of implementing a factory-line approach where authors are passed from development, production, to sales to marketing, we aim to maintain a strong line of continuity between the publisher and the author. We believe in carrying that relationship throughout the entire journey of production.

What advice would you give to other business owners about managing their bookkeeping, tax, and financial admin?

David: Look at what aspects of your business you can pass on to others. Building partnerships and implementing strong processes is crucial, not just for small businesses but also for sole traders. By establishing good processes, you can ensure that your business continues to run smoothly even when you’re not directly involved.

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Disclaimer: The information on this website is intended for general informational purposes only and may not be specifically relevant to everyone’s personal situation. It should not be considered financial advice or a substitute for professional tax or accounting advice. Each individual’s circumstances are unique, and laws can vary. For tailored advice, please consult a qualified professional. Contact Sleek for further information on how we can help you.

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