7 years ago I had a conversation with my husband that changed my life. Our daughter was about to start school, and the spectre of my old job loomed ever larger. I didn’t want to go back to it. I wanted to go forward, to embark on a new project, one that could potentially lead to a whole new career. The project?
Setting up my own press.
I can quite clearly remember the thrust of my argument: This is my one chance. It might make us some money. It might not. But if I don’t give it a shot I will always regret not giving it a go.
All right, he said. Do it.
So I did.
But you know what? There was no particularly handy guide on how to set up a press or on the basics of publishing. There was just me, the internet and a couple of useful resources. What I had though in bucket loads was my great love of books, which had been there from childhood, as well as a can-do attitude and a very curious mind.
So I set up the press, slowly and haltingly, making various rookie errors along the way, but always, I was learning and acquiring new knowledge about how the complex and ever-changing world of publishing works. As time has passed, and the books I’ve published have found readers and won awards, I’ve been drawn into the world of radio interviews, book reviews, discussion panels, conferences, workshops and writers’ groups. I look back on the winding road I’ve travelled and realize how much I’ve learned.
If I could go back to that earlier version of me, I would share my knowledge with her, offer her some guidance, provide her with encouragement. In short, I would help her out by being her steward – leading her to the right place, quickly and efficiently, and making sure she had all she needed to succeed.
So that’s what I’m doing here, in this blog. Although I can’t help “past me”, I CAN help present you: you the writer, you the potential publisher, you the curious being who wants to learn about the strange and wonderful world of publishing. There’s a big, twinkly bookish world out there, and wherever you are right now on your path through the literary landscape, I’m happy to help give you directions.