Karen Torres Founds Consulting Firm

A year after leaving Hachette Book Group, where she was a champion of reading and independent bookstores and renowned for her sales and marketing prowess, Karen Torres has launched K T Consulting to officially expand the informal consulting she's done since she took Hachette's voluntary retirement package.

Karen Torres

It's not so much a new chapter as an "ongoing chapter," she emphasized to Shelf Awareness. In the last year, she continued, "People have been reaching out to me in different ways, engaging with me, wanting to know about all kinds of things. Sometimes it's Hachette-specific. Sometimes they're general questions. They've been wonderful conversations that have reinforced my own love of the business and are great opportunities for me to help people. So I thought, why not give consulting a try? I have something to offer, and I want to put it out there that I'm available. I want to continue the conversations."

As she noted on her website, she is happy to speak with bookstores, authors, publishers, literary agents, book clubs, and others. To bookstores, she wrote, "Let's talk about your mission and how to grow your business. We have something for everyone [whether the stores are] brick-and-mortar, pop-ups, B2B, school fairs, non-profits, and community centers."

She said that she wants to help booksellers new to the game as well as veterans. "I can help with bookselling in general, as well as the nuances of the business end." She noted that she has worked with booksellers across the country, with relationships spanning several generations and multiple owners at many stores. At the same time, she emphasized that she wants to help the many bookstores that have opened in the past several years. "We need booksellers who believe in their stores and in what inspired them to open their stores."

To publishers, she wrote: "Let's talk about deepening your relationship with booksellers and how to help them help you and how to support the growth of independent accounts."

Authors: "Let's talk about what you're writing about and why and how to work with your agent, publisher and booksellers to reach your goal and your audience."

And book clubs: "Let's talk about connecting with bookstores, libraries and publishers early in the process. Our team of branding experts will help you develop a unique brand identity that sets you apart from your competitors. We'll work with you to create a brand strategy that resonates with your target audience and builds brand loyalty."

Torres began her 36-year career at Hachette and its predecessor companies as a marketing assistant, then rose to marketing manager, then to marketing director, and then to v-p of account marketing. In 2013, Torres added the responsibility for managing Hachette's field sales team that calls on independent bookstores across the U.S. She also oversaw the library and academic marketing teams for the company.

During her career at Hachette, Torres worked with a range of booksellers, authors, publishers, and literary agents. She was involved with Binc when it launched, served on the boards of the New England Independent Booksellers Association and the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association, and is a trustee of the Professional Booksellers School.

The range of people who have endorsed Torres on her site is striking, including such booksellers as Elaine Petrocelli of Book Passage, Corte Madera, Calif.; Calvin Crosby of the King's English, Salt Lake City, Utah; Noëlle Santos of The Lit. Bar, Bronx, N.Y.; Paul A. Swydan of the Silver Unicorn Bookstore, Acton, Mass.; Sarah Bagby of Watermark Books, Wichita, Kan.; Eileen Dengler, executive director of NAIBA and head of the Professional Booksellers School; and authors Min Jin Lee, Elin Hilderbrand, and Michael Connelly.

All evidence that, as Torres said, "I was blessed working with one company and so many wonderful people. I love the business, and at the very least I can give something back."

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