I’m going to spare a second at the beginning of this long, pseudo-rant/whine post to say we had a wonderful time at the Book Lover’s Bazaar on Saturday and already I can’t wait until we have actual books to sell next year!
Alright, so, down to business. I spent a lot of time today searching around for something to post about on here tonight (if you follow my author blog you’re going to get a double dose tonight because of reasons and I am behind, I know, it’s a shock). I was going to do a lessons learned thing about the event this weekend–but this isn’t really the place for that, and I don’t wanna. I could talk about the slush pile again, but you’re probably about as sick of hearing about it as I am of looking at it (which isn’t near as much as I should be since I haven’t in ages).
I made a vaguely creepy tweet Monday night, and Kate mentioned our twitter feed sounds more like Night Vale or some other horror/comedy/art-house mix more than a business, and how we’re all more or less okay with that.
So tonight we’re going to talk about professionalism.
There are other reasons we’re talking about professionalism, but strangely apropos, they’re reasons I can’t/wont share.
So what marks a business–especially a small start-up like us–professional? I could give you a list. The ridiculous amount of paperwork we filed with the state/IRS. The website and official email signature and business cards and and and.
Personally, I think a good three-quarters of what constitutes professionalism is dedication. Sure, our twitter feed is tongue in cheek and strange. Our Facebook banner is a photograph of our business creation paperwork instead of some slick graphic we contracted out. Our formal rejection letter is snarky and ridiculous (very few people have actually seen that). I don’t have much time for people who judge either people or a business entirely on aesthetics.
So, what makes us professional?
1)A good eighty percent of our rejection letters are written by an actual person, from a blank slate, after they’ve read the piece. I think that’s a professional dedication to respect and honesty and fingers crossed it’ll stay that way as long as we can conceivably manage it.
2)We accept submissions from absolutely anyone. And we look at all of them the same. This seems fairly self-evident, but apparently it’s a concern?
3)We have a ridiculously detailed, extended calendar. Yes, it’s going to change. It has to change. But the point is it’s there. It’s been there since the start. If you’d have asked me in July I could have told you the bare bones of what our catalog was going to look like in Spring 2017.
4)Entire redacted paragraph that’s basically me gritching about receiving business updates that contain no actual business updates and make me want to rage at people like a rabies infested flying monkey in such a way that makes it clear we will never do that. Rant that continues into the extreme unprofessionalism of having to chase someone down to get them to fulfill business obligations that are more than in their best interest. Finishing with tiny little letters about how frustrating it is that my professionalism means I can’t actually share any of this while it’s in process.
4)We’re here, and we have every intention toward pulling for the long haul. It’s not just something fun to occupy us while we’re bored, or an easy way out of the small-press/self-pub debate. It’s not a hobby.
Alright. Rant over. Come back Thursday or Friday where I’ll manage some more professionalism about marketing books that don’t fit neatly into genre lines.