This post, from Shaun Kilgore, originally appeared on his site on 3/5/10 and is reprinted here in its entirety with his permission. This is Shaun’s entry in our anniversary contest, in which the winners are selected based on total unique page views. So if you like it, and would like to see Shaun become a regular Publetariat Contributor, spread the word and the link!
Why did I start this publishing company? Here’s the short answer: Because my wife was interested enough in starting a business herself that she volunteered to help me create Founders House Publishing.
You see, just before this happened, I was preparing to work with a friend on a small publishing venture, the first real push in that direction that had any legitimate chances of getting off the ground. (I still hope to work with him in the future.) It was in the process of helping my father find a place to publish his book, Echoes From The Past: A Memoir Of Family Heritage, that my wife and I decided to do it ourselves. Sure, there were other options, but this made sense in a variety of ways. Why do it, you might ask. Let me see if I can answer that.
For the longest time, I’ve loved books and loved reading. In fact, I’ve been on the path to publishing my own books since 2006 when I published a collection of short stories using the author services provider Lulu. It was an awesome step forward for me to put the book together inside and out. When I received that first copy in the mail I was ecstatic. (I saw myself as a publisher even then.) As a writer, I certainly had some satisfaction, but this was definitely a war between my interests as a book designer/artist and the one who wrote all the content. It is satisfying in a whole different way to take the labors of other writers and help package it in nice designs and colorful covers.
I recall putting together some stapled booklets for a small magazine about Christian religious topics about eight years ago. Even then, I was intrigued with the design and look of the magazine and looking for ways to create something special. This was just something I was printing out on my home printer! The feeling has been the same every step of the way. When we received the first copy of Echoes From The Past, that same excitement was there. Even more so since I could see the logo for my own publishing company on the spine.
What I Have Now
So here I am, the co-owner of a brand new book publishing company, busy with the promotion of the first title. You might be asking what makes me think I can be a publisher? Or you may wonder how I did it in the first place. Those are fair questions. Again, the short answer is this: I’m a publisher because I believe I can be one. That’s certainly not enough of a response for most people who will be asking that question in the first place. (I’m talking to writers and agents mostly.) My wife and I have divided up the tasks of this business largely according to our relative strengths. We are going to be building upon these strengths by gathering more knowledge of the industry as well the opportunities that are emerging for self-publishers and independent publishers alike.
We started this like many small presses have began. We formed a business and did all the normal work involved in setting up this company legally. Like many start-up publishers, we are using the largest print-on-demand (P.O.D.) Lightning Source International (LSI) to print our books. That’s basically it. It’s not that complicated a process these days. The accessibility of the technology is a great thing. It’s really leveling the playing field and opening up so many opportunities for new publishers to make their mark in the industry. I know that Founders House is ready to take this step.
This is what I have been waiting for. It’s the chance to stretch both my creative and my entrepreneurial muscles. It’s the time to see whether we have what it takes to success and thrive as publishers. Most importantly, now is the time I get to share my hopes and my vision with other creative people. This post is for the writers, artists, and would-be publishers out there. I wish you luck and I hope I get the chance to work with you in the future. Send me your comments. I welcome your input.