Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The independent life

Being an independent, small press publisher can be challenging. It becomes even more challenging when you must get a day job to support your publishing, then it ramps up exponentially.

For much of 2006, my small press venture, RiverVision Press, has been on autopilot, shipping books, dabbling in some idea creation, but just maintaining the fort, after a whirlwind year that saw us cope with the marketing and other details that accompany the release of one’s first book and try to figure out exactly where we are headed as a publisher. The road had a few bumps, like the ill-fated anthology that I had hoped to get out in 2006, only to be saddled with a shortage of solid writing. As a result, I had to shelve that for another time.

Independent Publisher, the voice of the independent publishing industry and the awarder of the IPPY’s, of which yours truly was awarded one, for When Towns Had Teams, has many interesting articles on its website about the world of independent publishing, including this one.

While there are certainly independently (or self-published) efforts that are poorly done, filled with typos and lacking any type of consistency of design, you’ll find more and more mainstream, large press offerings that are thrown together for the sake of getting a product to market and often, there is little or no planning regarding the marketing of these books.

Speaking of marketing, I’ve been extremely busy with my holiday advertising push. While having to go back to the 9 to 5 world has been taxing on my time, it has provided RiverVision with some much needed capitalization and I’m using some of this to push When Towns Had Teams hard during the year’s busy book buying season. I’ve been designing a series of ads that are set to run in publications covering a good chunk of the state. I may even be running a few radio spots.

While it has forced me to burn the candle at both ends more often than not, it has also unleashed a well of pent up creativity that I’m channeling back into my publishing. I’m happy to report that 2007 looks like a year when RiverVision will be releasing not one, but two titles! I’ve acquired a great manuscript from a first time author that I think will make a great follow-up book to When Towns Had Teams. I’m currently reading the manuscript and will be sitting down over the next few weeks with this writer to begin discussing terms and hopefully, we’ll have a signed contract soon. On top of that release, set for the spring, I’ve begun research on my second book. While this book will once again highlight the people and places of Maine, I think readers will be pleasantly surprised at how different it will be from my first book. This should be out just in time for next year’s holiday book buying bonanza.

I’m excited again about publishing and this excitement should translate into a very productive year for RiverVision Press, Maine’s unique small press. And don’t forget to pick up copies of When Towns Had Teams for that baseball fan of yours!