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Local Firm Turns Ideas Into Books and More

Buoy Point Media is a content provider and book packaging business owned and operated in part by Barbara Stewart and Warren Schloat of Waccabuc.

Have an idea for a book but aren't sure how to self-publish? Or maybe you're written a book and need a professional to help you edit and market your work. 

Buoy Point Media is a business run by local residents and their partners in Connecticut that helps a range of talent—writers, business executives, educators and more—create and package their ideas. 

The firm was started by Barbara Stewart, a Waccabuc resident, her brother, Lary Rosenblatt, of Weston, CT, and Dan Oehlsen, of Fairfield, CT—who previously developed and produced content mainly in children's publishing through Creative Media Applications, a firm they founded in 1990 after working together at Sesame Street/Children's Television Workshop.

After almost 20 years together, they joined forces in 2010 with Stewart's husband, Warren Schloat—who previously owned Sunburst Communications, an educational publishing company, and was a Katonah Lewisboro school board member—to form Buoy Point, expanding their range of services to include self-publishing, book packaging and marketing.

Patch sat down with Stewart and Rosenblatt to hear more about their media business and how it's adapted to a rapidly changing publishing market.

Patch: Why the name change to Buoy Point Media? How would you describe your business?

Rosenblatt: We renamed the firm to signal an expansion in what we offer. Buoy Point means we're here to help you—like a beacon in the water—we help publishers, authors and designers reach a broad audience. Our talents range from Sesame Street to Wall Street and everything in between.

Stewart: We describe ourselves as content providers—for mobile, gaming devices, magazines, traditional and e-books.

Patch: And how did you get your start?

Rosenblatt: We had our first project idea—this was when we were still Creative Media—when we saw the popularity of Mario, the main character in the hugely successful Nintendo video game. We knew it was a challenge to get boys to read, so we approached Nintendo with the idea of emulating the game in a book. We created stories and we came up with the idea of adding a puzzle to the book whereby different answers lead to jumping to a new chapter—just like the game.

Stewart: We think we were one of the first firms to hook up licensed properties with the publishing world. After that, we developed books around the board game, Clue. We went to Scholastic who bought 18 books right away. We did everything but print and sell the books. In addition to kids books, we created a lot of educational materials like lesson plans, teacher's guides and educational software—we did Richard Scarry's Best Math and Reading Program Ever.

Patch: And then you saw a lot of changes in the publishing world.

Rosenblatt: Yes, and we started to think about what other services we could offer, including working with authors helping them to publish and self-market their work.

Patch: With so many self-publishing platforms online, why does a writer need you?

Rosenblatt: Good question. No doubt there are a lot of services out there. But sometimes you need a good editor, proofreader and grammar expert. You can tell the difference between a work that is professionally designed and one that is self-published. You can do it yourself, but when you work with us, you'll have a piece you can go out and sell.

Stewart: For example, Nancy Schenker, owner of The On Switch, is a professional marketer who wanted a book as a marketing piece. We found each other on LinkedIn, actually. Even though she is a marketer herself, she hired us to illustrate and package her book, Don't Hook Up With the Dude in the Next Cube, an advice book for recent college grads.

Patch: Have you ever told someone their material is...unpublishable?

Rosenblatt:
I never discourage them. I might ask them what sets their manuscript apart from others, and I might suggest they go the self-publishing route. We work with them on goals and what they want to get out of producing a book. We might also recommend they contract with our editor separately.

Patch: What sets you apart then from other publishers?

Stewart: Our personal service and high quality.

Patch: What have been some lessons learned since you launched the business?

Stewart: You never know who is in your community and how you might end up working together. We met David Algire in South Salem, whose company, Source Interlink Media, produces magazines. He wanted to get into single-topic, or special-interest publishing, sort of a “bookizine.” So we just did an edition called "Secondhand Treasures," [on stands now, Rosenblatt adds] which is an insider's guide to buying and selling antiques and "treasures," with tips from The History Channel's American Pickers. We're following this one up with one on desserts and showcase homes.

For more information on Buoy Point Media, visit their website.

Jordie Kern August 09, 2012 at 10:18 AM
Excellent article on a great company. Barbara is honest, hard working and extremely talented. I recommend her wholeheartedly.

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