When I started my career in the publishing industry in 1981, the first publishers I encountered were small, independent presses.
I had just gotten out of college, and I was getting my first publishing job in New York City.
But there was one that I really loved: Kensington Publishers, which had been around since 1876.
The New York Times described Kensington as “the premier publisher in the city.”
By 1983, Kensington had become the third-most-popular publisher in America.
I wasn’t surprised by that, though.
Kensington is one of the oldest and largest independent presses in the country.
The people I knew then had started their careers with it.
And I knew there was a lot of money in it.
Kenshams founder, Robert and Marianne Kensington, was a woman who had been born in Wales and raised in London.
I remember one of my earliest jobs was writing a feature story for the Times Magazine about a family that owned a horse that won the gold medal at the London Games.
I was the assistant editor.
We’d just finished up our story about this family, and the headline said, “The Kensington Horse.”
We went through all the different breeds of horses, and we started looking for a new horse to do the feature.
We called the horse a kensington.
I said, I’m not going to put a name on it.
It’s a beautiful name.
And she said, Oh, you mean a ken-son.
I thought that was interesting.
I loved the name.
So we called it a kennethon, a little bit of a mispronunciation.
I also love the horse.
And so it was a little too big for me.
I love the ken.
I think it means very much to me.
But the next thing that happened was that, over the next five years, I became one of its biggest customers.
Kensumans sales doubled every year.
And that was during the recession of 1983-84, when the newspaper industry was in a severe financial crisis.
The industry was a huge target for people who were trying to get their books published, but they didn’t have much money to spend.
So a lot people were scrambling to get books published that they could afford, because they couldn’t get their jobs back.
So I decided to help the publishers by taking on their business.
That’s when I started Kensington’s publishing business.
When I moved to New York in 1987, I was on the board of directors.
And it was really my decision to do it that way.
It was just one of those things I had to do.
There was no pressure, no pressure to do that.
In fact, I think that, for a lot, I did it on my own, out of sheer curiosity and because I wanted to see what the business looked like.
In 1988, Kensumons first full year in the business, I had sold over a million books.
That was a record.
I’d never done it before, and then for that long, it was something that I wanted.
So when I moved up to the board, I said to my board, How are we going to survive and do it right?
I said we’re going to be independent.
I told them, Let me know what you think.
And then in 1989, I started to get a little more pressure from the board.
So that’s when we started working with a new partner, who was a publisher.
I didn’t get to go out to the press in that time, because I was still in school.
And in 1991, we sold Kensington out to Simon and Schuster.
We got a lot more publicity for Kensington than I would have liked, because Kensington was a new business and Simon and the Schuster wanted to have more control over Kensington.
But they also had the same goal of doing Kensington right.
Simon and I were very good friends, and he was a great storyteller.
We had a great relationship, and Simon knew the best way to make sure that the new Kensumens business was going to do well.
And Simon and his team of editors did a terrific job.
The publishing industry was booming back then, and Kensuments books were selling very well.
That started to happen.
And as Kensumants success grew, the press started paying attention to the new publishing business, and when Simon and Simon went on their first trips around the world to promote Kensumands books, they were recognized by newspapers around the country as the most prominent independent publishers in America at the time.
They were the ones who had a bigger impact on the publishing market than any other company.
That became the model for other publishers.
I always said that, when I was writing my book, it’s a lot easier for me to tell a good story when I’m a young man than when I am