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The Publisher’s Life Blog

#1: I plan to introduce the beginning of my life as a Midwestern publisher on Midwest Living and Experiences in several short articles and then explain what I think it means to be an author and/or a book publisher in this day and age.
I wouldn’t say there are any uninteresting jobs in this world, but when I show up in a group of people and the conversation turns to “What do you do?” and I reply, “I’m a book publisher,” you’d think no one had ever met a publisher before. Wait, that’s probably true in this case. There really aren’t many publishers roaming the world anymore, certainly not many in Iowa.
In 1993 I was a few years into trying to become what I thought was a far-fetched, but life-long dream, to be an author. For as long as I could remember I was writing stories, reading books and then writing some more. I was attending a small class on fiction writing class at a local art center and scanning the writer’s market for possible book publishers that I convinced myself were looking for exactly what I was writing. I had no luck until a lightly veiled “vanity” publisher almost convinced me they weren’t a vanity press, saved myself some money and heartache. Then I did what many writers do, I went to plan B, I started checking for magazines to get into. Hey, I got in one right away and was pretty pleased. Then I got in another that was going to pay me, yep, I said, Paid. They took the story, a year passed, then nothing. I discovered that I had little patience. What I really wanted was to share my writing. So I took a look at who I was and began to research newsletters, magazines and publications with the thought I’d consider speeding up the writing process by starting my press. Then the questions and roll of answers began. Not always obvious or straight forward. The questions piled up. The answers came in spurts. What would I call the press? What would I title my newsletter? Did I need to file in papers? Is there a way to save of shipping? Well, I’d written a story about wandering soul who ended up in a cafĂ© in the middle of a desert mirage named the Ice Cube Cafe, not thinking I’d be in business long I went with Ice Cube Press, cause, well it was cool. I named the newsletter Sycamore Roots after my fascination with the Sycamore tree. I discovered an ISSN number was something you used for a magazine and nope, if you’re only mailing 100 or so newsletters out you have to go with normal old postage stamps. How would I share this new publication? What would I call it? Well, one thing I decided to do, which is a lesson I would share with any author known, or unknown, is that you share your writing with some people you don’t know, some people in your “niche” and some people you think are too famous to give you the time of day. (end part one)