A long path

I wanted to title this first post “In the beginning” but withheld for several reasons. First, I wonder how many people title their first post “In the beginning”. I bet it’s a lot. That’s what getting into the publishing industry has done to me; it’s made me think about how many people have gone before me, and how many things they’ve tried, and how many times they’ve failed. And how a few of them have succeeded. But I bet those that have succeeded didn’t do it by doing what everyone else did.

The second reason is that this isn’t the beginning. It’s the beginning of the blog, sure, but it’s actually about year two on the whole Publishing deal. I know, I know. But better late than never. I’ll catch you up.

Part of the reason it’s taken me so long to start this thing is the fact that I’m conflicted. Not about blogging, which I’ve done before and which I find hilariously therapeutic, but about telling random strangers all about my struggles to get this company off the ground. One of the first things I was told about publishing was to hold true to the old adage fake it ’till you make it. This essentially means act like you know exactly what you’re doing and people will believe you actually do, and will give their patronage accordingly. People like to buy from established, wizened professionals, and the theory is that if you pretend like you’re one of those they’ll buy from you too.

A blog throws that whole thing right out the window. Free flowing exposition tends to unearth the truth in things. So as a businessman you can either treat your blog like a propaganda machine, in which case nobody will read it, or you can treat it like a blog and hope something good comes of it. I’ll be taking the latter approach.

First, a bit of background. Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not some emo teenager fresh off his tenth piercing trying to start a fly-by-night, lemonade stand of a company to attention-whore. I meant it when I said I started this two years ago. And not in an “I had a vision while drunk” kind of way, either. I registered my LLC in 2009 with a real honest to god bank, and have been doing prep work and gathering seed money for a general business launch for two years now.

This all stems, as does most everything in this industry, from a love of books. I was an English major in my undergraduate at Washington University in St. Louis and had a whole mess of fabulous professors and workshops out there that planted the seed. I remember thinking how cool it would be to start a publishing company even way back then, but I was naive in the way all college grads are and instead went abroad hoping to fall ass backwards into my fortune somehow, someway. When I eventually came back to earth, I realized I needed a job. After working a few jobs here and there I thought to myself, “Self, you’re a bright enough guy. Why work for people when you could have your own business?” Great idea, right? Except that I was an English major, remember, and while I loved my degree and wouldn’t have gone any other way, I knew about as much of business as I did of engineering, which is to say, that they were both subjects that one could learn, if they were so inclined.

If there is one thing recent grads are really good at, it’s going back to school. So that’s what I did. Although this time, I had a plan. I would get an MBA and learn about this crazy “business” stuff: numbers and money and taxes and power lunches and all that nonsense, in the hopes that I would one day start my own publishing company. There we have it, back full circle.

Three long years later I had my MBA. Fresh off the presses at the University of Denver. Sure, I was saddled with a Santa’s Sack full of student loan debt, but I was also equipped, believe it or not, with a pretty good picture of what a business should look like and how to get there. I thought I could jump right into it and knock it out of the park.

That was a year and a half ago now. Turns out I still had a few things to learn.

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