by Meredith Maslich
This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of exhibiting at a small indoor “street festival” in Washington, D.C. The space was tight, but the attendees were enthusiastic and friendly, and I had a great time chatting with a steady stream of people for almost two hours.
I met writers and would-be writers and friends of writers. I met bloggers and poets and journalists and storytellers. I even met a few readers, although it’s always interesting how few people identify themselves in that way.
The entire experience was eye-opening and affirming in so many ways.
As the CEO of this tiny, indie publishing company and an introvert, roughly 96% of my time is spent by myself behind a computer. There is always an email to be sent or read—or re-read. Or I’m perusing newsletters and message boards about publishing in between looking at sales reports and budget spreadsheets and updating royalty reports—unless I’m trying to catch up with social media, updating my website, or coming up with new marketing ideas. And after all that is done, I’m often buried deep inside InDesign or PhotoShop, which is where my connection with reality really begins to fray.
I’m not complaining. Quite the opposite actually. I really like doing all those tasks. I like the business of running a publishing company, and I’m fairly content to have all my interpersonal interactions happen “within the cloud.” Basically, I’m an introverted business nerd. There, I said it. BUT the downside is that within this narrow world view, my ideas start to feel like they are bouncing around an echo chamber.
Then last weekend I found myself in an undulating river of people in front of a table decked out with books and free chocolate and having dozens and dozens of five-minute conversations. And my ideas were bouncing around among all those people, and I was reminded of why I started this company and why I decided on a partnership publishing model.
The timing for the event could not have been better. For the past few months, I’ve crawled pretty far inside the bowels of this company, moving within a warren of spreadsheets and financial projections and shared google docs and cloud-based to-do lists, powered by a tunnel vision of all that I want/need to accomplish in the last half of this year. And within that small space, it gets hard to know if your ideas are good.
By the end of the two-hour fair, I had gotten a lot of names for my mailing list and sold a couple of books, and I connected with some potential authors, which was all really exciting and gratifying. But the absolute best moments and most valuable outcomes happened when I mentioned some of the projects I’ve been working on and received enthusiastic and positive reactions.
The first topic was our new Facebook group: Writer2Author that I co-administer with Jessica of Jessica Leigh Coaching. We wanted to create a space for writers to gather and share support, information, and resources as they attempt the journey from being a writer to being a published author. I would explain our motivation by saying “because that transition can be challenging,” and people reacted with wide eyes, nodding heads, and exclamations of “Yessss!!” or “It is SO overwhelming!”
And second was when people asked if we offered classes, and I was able to say that we’re developing some online classes that will be available in late September. Again that beautiful spark of interest would appear on their faces. YES! We were on the right track again! We’re creating one class on how to plan and prepare for a new writing project, especially if you have a set time frame—like a vacation or NaNoWriMo—and need to make every minute count. Another will focus on what to do with that first draft, and how to start editing and moving it toward something you could publish.
And finally, we’re developing a multi-week class that will focus on guiding writers on that transition from sitting behind a computer to launching their books out into the world and emerging as full-blown authors. The excitement, positive responses, and rush to sign up for the mailing list in response to that information was the perfect recharge for my battery (even as the introvert in me was ready to crawl under the table by the time it was over).
I’ll be tied to my computer and the cloud for the next few months as I devote my energy to creating those classes, building the Writer2Author group, and releasing our next novel—”Becoming Jonika“—in September.
Keep an eye on this blog and our social media accounts for more information on all these things.
Meredith Maslich is president and CEO of Possibilities Publishing Company. She is also on the faculty at SpeakeasyDC, where she has been teaching the art of storytelling for more than six years.