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Being An Independent Book Publisher Is More Than Just Working With Words and Being Your Own Boss

For me, deciding to be a book publisher, was not a radical, or especially life changing moment. I didn’t say to myself one day, “I am going to quit my job, become a writer, and start a publishing company.” However, what I did do was unique and, for this day and age, pretty radical. I built my business slowly. I did not and have never taken out a loan. I constantly try to remind myself that I can only work as fast as I can keep going. I am aware that I can not attempt to try all the good ideas that people offer me.

I hear on twitter, or via facebook, or blog comments and in conversations with people how writers agonize over whether to go with self-publishing, or traditional book publishing, as if this were the most vital decision to make. Or that they are going to do an eBook instead of a paperback. These are decisions that mean just about nothing if you plan to live a life of publishing and literature. I witness small businesses putting time and effort into the chairs, desks, signs, doors of their business, rather than concentrating on the power of passion, of the real product they believe to be worth sharing.

The decision to be in the business of writing or any business is how long you hope to do it and how honestly you can do it. I use the phrase Standing By Words as a model. Literally, can I, have I, over time, done what I say I am going to do? In the short-term you may impress a few folks but you gain very little repeat or trust with people. To last you need to have an ability to not exaggerate, or overpromise.

If you’d like to be a writer, or a publisher, just so you won’t have a boss this goal will probably end badly. Turns out that when you’re the boss you suddenly realize how hard it actually is. There are many a day when I wish I had someone who could just tell me what to do. Many times when I would like to have someone else make the hard decisions rather than myself.

Like many small business owners, I am successful because I go cautiously, but confidently. I trust my decisions. I am in the publishing business for the long haul. Next year marks my 20th year. At first I had two and three jobs at the same time, then two, then one, then a part-time job, and only in the last five-six years is it, now, finally all that I do.