Hello my dear bloggy friends. I’m sorry that it’s taken me so very long to post anything new.
Many of you dropped in for the post I did in August that highlighted the idea I’ve been harboring over several years of launching a new independent Christian Press for Speculative Fiction. (If you haven’t read it yet, you can read it here: http://theravenquill.blogspot.com/2011/08/which-way-should-we-turn-ushering-in.html ) In that article I gave my reasons and passions for taking on such a project and how I would strive to make it grow.
Since then, I’ve started researching the process of starting a company, and looking into possible avenues of printing. I’ve been looking for and comparing marketing strategies and the ins and outs of print distribution vs. digital distribution. I’ve been narrowing down my options for a mission statement and have been considering values and principles on which to build this company’s morals. I’ve been considering the cost and preparation time involved with publishing a quality product, marketing it, and actually selling it. I’ve also been talking to friends of mine who are or have studied certain aspects of the publishing world, who are in the publishing world already, and who are working towards careers that could parallel with book publication. And in between all of that, I’m planning out how I will take a business class (hopefully next semester) to help me better understand the business and financial needs of such a company.
This is a dream, yes… but it’s one dream that (along with eventually having SOTD and Eldrei published) I plan to see into its reality (by God’s grace).
The scariest part of all? I have NEVER done anything like this before. :P My experience level in this area is basically zilch, and besides that I’m still pretty young. Twenty-three is not that impressive a number when it comes to age, and it seems that the older you are, the more experience you have. All I have right now is my dream, my research, a bit of passion, and a dash of drive/motivation. Is that enough? I have no idea.
Truthfully, people, I’m terrified. What does this mean, to take on such a large responsibility and see it into fruitarian? I’m only one person… one small dreamer in a vast sea of dreamers. I try desperately not to look at the impossible, but it seems to be staring me right in the face. How can I do this? How can I even try? It seems almost unattainable, yet I feel completely, utterly drawn and bound to the idea; I can’t fight it and I can’t shake it. Eventually something will need to be done.
I guess I’m writing this blog post as a sort of therapy. In truth, I feel like I’m trying to boost my own courage… trying to tell myself that “hey, it’s ok; you know you can do this with God’s help,” when half the time my mind is telling my mouth that those words are bold-faced lies. How can I really do this? It’s so BIG! I’m so small. Can I really pull it off?
Well, not right now and not by myself. “As iron sharpens iron(…)” so the Bible says, and the story of David and Goliath comes to mind. The publishing world is often times cruel and harsh… like a gigantic evil Philistine that wants to rip the heads off of unsuspecting writers. :P I haven’t been around too awful long, but I’ve seen a few small publishers come and go, many dashed to pieces by financial troubles. I don’t plan for Magpie Publications to be one of those… this venture must last and must grow; it’s not just a onetime thing that some upstart girl decides to tackle on her own just because she can. However, the publishing world is now changing: expanding. It’s not as cruel as it used to be, but it’s still a tough little nut to crack. It’s still a rock that stands in the doorway and breaks many young, noble writers who deserve better. I don’t know how one company can make that much of a difference, but there’s no hurt in trying. The more opportunities there are out there for writer’s who deserve them, the better chances those writers’ stories will have of finding a home.
But you see, that’s one of the reasons why I can’t start Magpie Publications right now, and why I can’t handle it alone. Strong businesses last; strong strategies endure; strong missions bring aid. The idea needs time to mature, to grow legs and learn to stand… It’s sort of like giving birth, only in a backwards sort of fashion (in the metaphorical sense, of course). Instead of the baby being born and then learning to stand, I sort of want to make sure that my baby will be able to stand before I give birth to it. Make sense?
The biggest part of the whole idea is that I know that this is not just my dream. I don’t even want it to be ‘just my dream’. Magpie Publications is not an endeavor I’m willing to undergo only for myself; if it were, I’m sure it would never get off the ground. There are so many people out there who have similar ambitions, who strive for parallel goals. I even know some people like this, but I also know that there is strength in numbers. I don’t want to be a single parent!!! I will need help… I will need support and I will need a team. Only then, when there is a group of us working together, can Magpie Publications actually be made into a success. Only then can one dream see the birth of its reality.
So, in keeping with this post’s title, what exactly are the duel aspects of an entrepreneurial spirit? Quite easily enough, “dread” and “drive”. I know lots of people who think I’m crazy for wanting to do this. (Come on writers, how many people do you know who think the same thing about your status as an aspiring author? It’s not such a new thing. ;D) There are plenty who think that I’m way too young to even attempt handling something this big, and I don’t doubt them. Right now I know that I am too young… too young to do everything I want to do, and too young to make this company a reality. I’m scared stiff (there’s your ‘dread’, people) but I’m absolutely determined (and there’s your ‘drive’. :P) In a couple of years, I will hopefully be better prepared. By 2013 or 2014 I will have much more research under my belt than I do now along with the tools I need to see this dream take flight. And hopefully I will have the right people alongside me willing to help.
Though nothing is set in stone just yet, I’m thinking to set the company launch date sometime in late 2013 to early 2014. That gives me around two years to prepare. I can’t explain the feeling very well, but there is an urge in me warning that I shouldn’t delay too long or the opportune moment will be missed and the door closed. At the moment, I believe that two years is a good amount of time to wait. I would be almost 25 by then… still rather young, but hopefully old enough that it matters. And I would have more education and experience under my belt while (hopefully) shopping around a few manuscripts as well.
In the meantime, I will try to keep everything updated around here while I’m working to gather a team and learning all I can about the business. I want to do more author interviews, and hopefully start some publisher interviews as well, both of which will be posted on the P&P, of course (starting with a guest post from Janice Hardy, author of “The Healing War” trilogy, which will be posted within the next couple of weeks, followed by an interview with Port Yonder Press.)
And book reviews!!! Lots of book reviews. After all, one must study the industry in order to join it… right? Right?
Ok, I admit, that may just be my way of saying, “I love to read”. *shrugs* The new CSFF blog tour is on Stephan Lawhead’s “The Bone House”, and I’m also reading through several other good books including Ross Lawhead’s “The Realms Thereunder,” Rick Riordine’s “The Son of Neptune”, and Jill Williamson’s “To Darkness Fled”. That’s not even touching the books I’ve read but have yet to report on. ;)
The main point being, this is no longer just an idea that I’m playing around with… now it’s turning into a goal, which is much more tangible and less fleeting. As I learn things, I will post about them. I’m currently reading several interesting articles and surfing through publishing interviews as well. As always, thoughts and advice from readers are welcomed. Never ever think that what you have to say is not valuable; sometimes its comments on blog posts that I learn the most from. I’m always curious about what readers think of the mad ramblings I sometimes post here. I’m sure that half of the time I must sound like a lunatic. Lol!