A Different Kind of Shy (Publishing)

Charlie Brown Shyness

Motivation is a dirty word. It’s easy when I’m committed to the team, but not so easy when I’m working for the self. In my life I have achieved some great things, but other than told as a pub anecdote they barely resonate. My focus has always been to help and perhaps inspire others, and somehow that led me to publishing, which is what this part of the blog is all about. It’s a big subject, and there are a few topics I shall cover:

The Book Market – strength, weaknesses, threats, opportunities;
Charity Books – making them and how to make them better;
e-Publishing – just some thoughts;
Events – covering where I sell;
Fringeworks – about my own business;
The Future of Publishing – opinions;
Observations – the catch all… just because.

Ever met an extrovert who shunned the limelight?

You have now.

I produced my first fanzine in 1991 as an exercise in learning about Doctor Who – ‘becoming a fan’. I already was, but I was in denial. It was all a cunning plan to motivate me to write a Doctor Who novel. I came close, but instead I spent the first half if the 1990s editing 300+ fanzines, earning a touch of notoriety, sabotaging my writing career, and consoling myself in the fact that I earned ten times more in my day job than the ‘average’ professional writer.

It wasn’t until 2006-2009 that I returned to the fold, editing not a fanzine, but a charity anthology, Shelf Life, in memory of my dear friend Craig Hinton. After that I planned more, but that would have been for me, not him, and I couldn’t have that. I needed a cause.

Then, in 2011, I left my 25 year career behind me and started to look at the publishing industry. I had a plan, and by 2012 I had set up Fringeworks. Then I made a mistake. I took on board partners who weren’t interested in teamwork, but in self-promotion. I put their needs before my own, their success ahead of that of my business. I set up a charity that never got off the ground. My vision was thrown off course. My health suffered and my plans were shattered, forcing me to practically start all over again. Same business, but picking up the pieces and choosing more wisely for the future. It’s a small world, and doubtless those early years of Fringeworks will come back to haunt me, but I have learned harsh business lessons and am stronger for the setbacks.

Never run before you can walk
Never rely upon the unreliable
Own your mistakes
If you saw it coming don’t blame someone else.

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