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message 1: by Second Wind (new)

Second Wind Publishing (secondwindpublishing) | 44 comments Mod
What a grand understatement it is, as I stand (well, actually I’m sitting in a ladder back chair) at the end of the first year of Second Wind Publishing, LLC, to say I have learned a few lessons.

In the fall of 2007, a group of writers I knew got tired of hearing me bellyache about the injustice of the publishing industry as it exists today. They challenged me: “If that’s the way you feel about it, why don’t you start your own publishing company.” I began to research the idea. By the spring thaw of 2008, I was committed to starting the company. Simultaneously I acquired equipment, software, authors and the rights to publish novels. By June 1, 2008, the company was officially formed. We had begun finalizing manuscripts for print by mid summer and the first book, Carpet Ride by Norm Brown was published on August 21. By September 1, half a dozen books were being printed. One year later, nearly thirty books are in print and a total of forty probably will be available by Christmas, 2009. Lots of exciting things are happening quietly behind the scenes as well, as we continue to work on promotion, acquiring fine new authors and creating our own bricks-and-mortar bookstore.

Rather than lingering on the numerical realities of what happened in the first business year of 2W, I think it’s more worthwhile to talk about the important lessons I’ve learned in my role as publisher. I made a list and decided to stick just to the top ten:

1. There are a great number of fine writers who aren’t getting read because of the current state of the publishing industry. This was something we suspected before we started and it was the real reason 2W was founded. The publishing industry as it exists today is essentially focused on making money for publishing companies, distributors and big box bookstores and outlets. The greatest injustice this perpetrates is forcing worthy writers to spend their time and energy begging for agents, who in turn must beg publishers on their behalf. Our little outfit, along with many other small, independent publishers, is all about giving writers the chance to be read.

2. Stories are like children. It’s truly amazing that writer can send you a marvelous novel, sign a contract to give you the right to publish it, and then back up and rewrite the whole damn thing twice before you finally get it. Novels have minds of their own. They write themselves and then deconstruct themselves. They haunt their authors and fill them with anxiety, causing their writers to beg their friends for advice (that is almost never taken). Even a published novel is like a late adolescent child—it’s parent is still not quite satisfied and never will be. The only salvation comes from focusing on other kids (writing more books).

3. No two writers are alike. There are truisms about writers we all know: they are drunken louts who pour themselves full of liquor and then pour their creativity into the work, apart from which they’re pretty much useless; they are tortured artists, using their creative angst to deal with the improper potty training that scarred them for life; they are oversensitive neurotics who create worlds in books because they can’t live in the real one; they are poetic schizoids whose only contact with reality is literary expression; they are romantic souls, hopelessly trapped in fantasy relationships because they cannot sustain real ones. Okay, all that is bunk. I remember our first Second Wind National Book Signing, sitting around the table with seven or eight authors and thinking to myself, “No two of these people are remotely alike.” I’ve learned that their writing customs, creative processes and reasons for writing are all equally unique.

4. Real writers are in it to write. All the authors we’ve signed have read over their contracts very closely—not because they think 2W is going to steal their money, but because they want to preserve their ownership of their stories. I bring this up because, in our greedy, venal little world, the authors I’ve come to know are as a group the least greedy, least financially motivated people around. That’s not to say they don’t like their royalty checks or that we’re not trying to sell their books. Selling books for our authors is a way of buying them more time and freedom to write; that’s the only thing they’re greedy for.

5. Everything takes longer than you think. In general, no one is more impatient than an author 1) waiting to hear if a publisher is interested in buying her/his book, 2) waiting for the contract/editing/proofing/etc. to get finished, 3) waiting for the proof copy, or 4) waiting for that first order of books. Another general observation I’d make is that, the more impatient an author is, the more likely something is going to delay the awaited book. On the other hand, the corollary to this rule is: authors tend to be tremendously forgiving and understanding when publication schedules get delayed repeatedly; and grateful when they final get published.

6. Ask for help. One of the reasons things get delayed is because an old timer like me can only get so much done in a twenty-four hour period, not to mention the fact that I have a day job and a family. As work piled up more and more, I began to accept the offers of authors to help with various parts of the publishing process. Surprise, many of them were much better at the work I was doing than I was. Many of them discovered talents they did not know they possessed. How thankful I am for the skilled, generous people who have made the progress of 2W possible—and you all know who you are!

7. Play by the rules. It’s easy, especially in an expanding market and an expanding business, to take short cuts. We’ve learned not to shortchange our authors, our customers, the publishing process or the legal rules. Not long ago we had an incident in which a person tried to post a stolen story in one of our contests. It was a reminder to us of the financial and legal pitfalls that await if we don’t proceed properly.

8. Ride the flow. Julia Cameron calls it “synchronicity.” Bill Strickland calls it “flow.” One of my favorite writers calls it the “creative avalanche.” Of course I’m referring to the amazingly serendipitous fashion in which things tend to fall into place when you’re doing what you love and trying to respond to the opportunities you have. Forty books published in eighteen months is pretty astounding. So many things had to fall into place for all this to occur. Shakespeare famously wrote in Julius Caesar, “There is a tide in the affairs of men which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.” I think I only understood that proverb when 2W came into my life.

9. The publishing industry is in a state of foment. This learning is particularly important in light of the one that proceeds it. Between the financial difficulties of large publishers and large book chains, the explosion of digital printing, the universal communication facilitated by the internet and coming ebook revolution, this is a wonderful, frightening, exhilarating moment to be an alternative publisher.

10. Take the dare. Who is to say that 2W will exist next year at this time? Who is to say that it will not exist twenty-five years from now? Regardless, so many profound, transforming, delightful things have happened as a result of the founding of this publishing company that I have absolutely no hesitation in saying that I would take the dare to start 2W all over again tomorrow! And thanks to all who have been a part of it. —Mike Simpson, Publisher, Second Wind



message 2: by Victor (new)

Victor J. (victorjbanis) | 27 comments Great essay, Mike. I confess I'm going to look you up on the internet and try to learn more about Second Wind. In the meantime, good luck with everything. I am a firm believer that the future of good books may rest in the hands of the small independent presses.

Victor J. Banis
http://www.vjbanis.com


message 3: by Victor (new)

Victor J. (victorjbanis) | 27 comments Oops, forgot to ask, is it okay if I share this?

Victor again


message 4: by Second Wind (new)

Second Wind Publishing (secondwindpublishing) | 44 comments Mod
Victor, feel free to share the article, just be sure to credit it to me. -- Mike Simpson, publisher of Second Wind Publishing, LLC


message 5: by Pat (new)

Pat Bertram (patbertram) | 43 comments Mod
I have no doubts of the success of Second Wind. Mike Simpson has the uncanny ability of getting his authors involved in the business, challenging us to expand our abilities beyond the scope of writing. He’s gotten die-hard thriller writers to edit romances. He’s gotten shy authors to do book signings. And somehow (still don’t know how) he’s gotten me to become Second Wind’s promotion co-ordinator. Okay, I do know how. He genuinely likes the books he publishes, and says the most wonderful things about them. In an introduction to my 100-word stories that were included in the romance anthology, Love is on the Wind, Mike wrote: “Pat Bertram, author of the newly released duo of suspense novels, More Deaths Than One and A Spark of Heavenly Fire, is a writer who defies categories, a literary maverick whose stories transcend genre and transport readers to beguiling worlds filled with compelling characters.”

Congratulations on your first year, Mike. It’s been wonderful for all of us.




message 6: by Jen (new)

Jen I don't mean to be rude, but I have never heard about second wind publishing... Can you give my more info?


message 7: by Joann (new)

Joann Muszynski | 3 comments Thank you for the invite and I appreciated this article for its basic simplicity - the truth - about what the writing world is like, professionally. Small businesses start up every day, some die within the year, others flourish. Independent publishing is just now taking root, and tho' many will wither and die disgracefully, I have hope that those that play smart, stay true to the writer and the reader, and keep in mind that writing is a pleasure, then it will grow sturdy.

Congrats on surviving your first year.
Cheers,
Jo.



message 8: by Paige (new)

Paige (anauthor) Thank you for the invite to this group. I found your article above very interesting and full of information for an author just starting out. Thank you so much. I can't wait to hear more about Second Wind Publishing.

:) Paige


message 9: by Renee (new)

Renee (rjmiller) Thanks for the invite. Your article was definitely interesting. I look forward to learning more about Second Wind.


message 10: by Pat (new)

Pat Bertram (patbertram) | 43 comments Mod
Jen (Annabeth Chase) wrote: "I don't mean to be rude, but I have never heard about second wind publishing... Can you give my more info?"

You can find out more about Second Wind on their website: http://secondwindpublishing.com




message 11: by Jen (new)

Jen allright


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

Pat Bertram wrote: "I have no doubts of the success of Second Wind. Mike Simpson has the uncanny ability of getting his authors involved in the business, challenging us to expand our abilities beyond the scope of writ..."

Dear Pat--thank you the invitation to join this Goodreads group on Second Wind Publishing. I've studied 2W for months, and maybe with some luck and generosity, I'll have a contract one day. If i fail with one, I may try another. whatever happens, I'll follow the 2W authors on Goodreads. Celia Yeary


message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

Second Wind wrote: "What a grand understatement it is, as I stand (well, actually I’m sitting in a ladder back chair) at the end of the first year of Second Wind Publishing, LLC, to say I have learned a few lessons.
..."


Dear Mr. Simpson--Pat and I became acquainted through Goodreads, but I'd already researched Second Wind and accidentlly ran acorss her. Congratulations on your first year--it truly is a milestone worthy of celebration. I liked your essay very much. Good luck for the next year.Celia Yeary


message 14: by Sumner (new)

Sumner Wilson | 13 comments Dear Second Wind:

Break up all that text with white space. Man, I've got a headache from the lack of paragraph breaks, although I did read it all.

Thanks,
Sumner Wilson



message 15: by Pat (last edited Aug 23, 2009 05:35PM) (new)

Pat Bertram (patbertram) | 43 comments Mod
Sumner, you can't see the paragraph breaks on your computer? I see them. Lots of white space between paragraphs. I wonder why I can see them and you can't.


message 16: by Renee (new)

Renee (rjmiller) Me too. I see definite breaks.


message 17: by Paige (new)

Paige (anauthor) As do I. :)


message 18: by Sumner (new)

Sumner Wilson | 13 comments Dear Pat:

I apologize for being abrupt in the post. But when I saw all that text in one big block, it gave me a cold shiver and curled my toes. I also thought I was talking to a fellow, or I wouldn't have been so rude. Men, you know, are used to rudeness, this from work, and the poolhall, golf course, racetrack, and wherever else we might show up--especially the poolhall, where we chew, spit and smoke, drink and brag like idiots.

Still, though, unless I'm suffering yet from my last hangover, 1977, I stand by what I saw. I will go back, read it again, and if it changes by some miracle, I will let you know the good news. Thanks for the reply.

Would you check out this reply for punctuation errors. Is it too heavily punctuated?

Thanks & love to all
Sumner Wilson
sumner_wilson@yahoo.com


message 19: by Sumner (last edited Aug 24, 2009 04:01PM) (new)

Sumner Wilson | 13 comments Dear Pat:

Here's what I read. Tell me if this is your post. It's signed by Mike Simpson. So I might have read a different article.

Thanks,
Sumner Wilson

in a ladder back chair) at the end of the first year of Second Wind Publishing, LLC, to say I have learned a few lessons. In the fall of 2007, a group of writers I knew got tired of hearing me bellyache about the injustice of the publishing industry as it exists today. They challenged me: “If that’s the way you feel about it, why don’t you start your own publishing company.” I began to research the idea. By the spring thaw of 2008, I was committed to starting the company. Simultaneously I acquired equipment, software, authors and the rights to publish novels. By June 1, 2008, the company was officially formed. We had begun finalizing manuscripts for print by mid summer and the first book, Carpet Ride by Norm Brown was published on August 21. By September 1, half a dozen books were being printed. One year later, nearly thirty books are in print and a total of forty probably will be available by Christmas, 2009. Lots of exciting things are happening quietly behind the scenes as well, as we continue to work on promotion, acquiring fine new authors and creating our own bricks-and-mortar bookstore. Rather than lingering on the numerical realities of what happened in the first business year of 2W, I think it’s more worthwhile to talk about the important lessons I’ve learned in my role as publisher. I made a list and decided to stick just to the top ten: 1. There are a great number of fine writers who aren’t getting read because of the current state of the publishing industry. This was something we suspected before we started and it was the real reason 2W was founded. The publishing industry as it exists today is essentially focused on making money for publishing companies, distributors and big box bookstores and outlets. The greatest injustice this perpetrates is forcing worthy writers to spend their time and energy begging for agents, who in turn must beg publishers on their behalf. Our little outfit, along with many other small, independent publishers, is all about giving writers the chance to be read. 2. Stories are like children. It’s truly amazing that writer can send you a marvelous novel, sign a contract to give you the right to publish it, and then back up and rewrite the whole damn thing twice before you finally get it. Novels have minds of their own. They write themselves and then deconstruct themselves. They haunt their authors and fill them with anxiety, causing their writers to beg their friends for advice (that is almost never taken). Even a published novel is like a late adolescent child—it’s parent is still not quite satisfied and never will be. The only salvation comes from focusing on other kids (writing more books). 3. No two writers are alike. There are truisms about writers we all know: they are drunken louts who pour themselves full of liquor and then pour their creativity into the work, apart from which they’re pretty much useless; they are tortured artists, using their creative angst to deal with the improper potty training that scarred them for life; they are oversensitive neurotics who create worlds in books because they can’t live in the real one; they are poetic schizoids whose only contact with reality is literary expression; they are romantic souls, hopelessly trapped in fantasy relationships because they cannot sustain real ones. Okay, all that is bunk. I remember our first Second Wind National Book Signing, sitting around the table with seven or eight authors and thinking to myself, “No two of these people are remotely alike.” I’ve learned that their writing customs, creative processes and reasons for writing are all equally unique. 4. Real writers are in it to write. All the authors we’ve signed have read over their contracts very closely—not because they think 2W is going to steal their money, but because they want to preserve their ownership of their stories. I bring this up because, in our greedy, venal little world, the authors I’ve come to know are as a group the least greedy, least financially motivated people around. That’s not to say they don’t like their royalty checks or that we’re not trying to sell their books. Selling books for our authors is a way of buying them more time and freedom to write; that’s the only thing they’re greedy for. 5. Everything takes longer than you think. In general, no one is more impatient than an author 1) waiting to hear if a publisher is interested in buying her/his book, 2) waiting for the contract/editing/proofing/etc. to get finished, 3) waiting for the proof copy, or 4) waiting for that first order of books. Another general observation I’d make is that, the more impatient an author is, the more likely something is going to delay the awaited book. On the other hand, the corollary to this rule is: authors tend to be tremendously forgiving and understanding when publication schedules get delayed repeatedly; and grateful when they final get published. 6. Ask for help. One of the reasons things get delayed is because an old timer like me can only get so much done in a twenty-four hour period, not to mention the fact that I have a day job and a family. As work piled up more and more, I began to accept the offers of authors to help with various parts of the publishing process. Surprise, many of them were much better at the work I was doing than I was. Many of them discovered talents they did not know they possessed. How thankful I am for the skilled, generous people who have made the progress of 2W possible—and you all know who you are! 7. Play by the rules. It’s easy, especially in an expanding market and an expanding business, to take short cuts. We’ve learned not to shortchange our authors, our customers, the publishing process or the legal rules. Not long ago we had an incident in which a person tried to post a stolen story in one of our contests. It was a reminder to us of the financial and legal pitfalls that await if we don’t proceed properly. 8. Ride the flow. Julia Cameron calls it “synchronicity.” Bill Strickland calls it “flow.” One of my favorite writers calls it the “creative avalanche.” Of course I’m referring to the amazingly serendipitous fashion in which things tend to fall into place when you’re doing what you love and trying to respond to the opportunities you have. Forty books published in eighteen months is pretty astounding. So many things had to fall into place for all this to occur. Shakespeare famously wrote in Julius Caesar, “There is a tide in the affairs of men which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.” I think I only understood that proverb when 2W came into my life. 9. The publishing industry is in a state of foment. This learning is particularly important in light of the one that proceeds it. Between the financial difficulties of large publishers and large book chains, the explosion of digital printing, the universal communication facilitated by the internet and coming ebook revolution, this is a wonderful, frightening, exhilarating moment to be an alternative publisher. 10. Take the dare. Who is to say that 2W will exist next year at this time? Who is to say that it will not exist twenty-five years from now? Regardless, so many profound, transforming, delightful things have happened as a result of the founding of this publishing company that I have absolutely no hesitation in saying that I would take the dare to start 2W all over again tomorrow! And thanks to all who have been a part of it. —Mike Simpson, Publisher, Second Wind 08/21/2009 10:55AM



reply to this post
message by Victor
Great essay, Mike. I confess I'm going




message 20: by Renee (new)

Renee (rjmiller) What I see at the top of this page is broken up into paragraphs, with a white space in between, nothing like what you have there.


message 21: by Sumner (new)

Sumner Wilson | 13 comments Renee:

No big deal. I live in Ozora County. Everthing here is twisted and bent. I suppose I shoudln't be surprised that the air waves sending me these messages are bent and twisted as well. And a cheap computer doesnt help matters.

Thanks,
Sumner Wilson


message 22: by Susan (new)

Susan Gottfried (westofmars) Sumner, if you are reading an e-mail digest, yes, it'll all show up in one big block of text. If you're reading here at the website, it'll look different.


message 23: by Lynn (new)

Lynn Lorenz (lynnlorenz) On my computer - it's all one big paragraph with the numbers in bold.
It's probably just the interface....


message 24: by Lynn (new)

Lynn Lorenz (lynnlorenz) And it shows up in a block in the digest version. Probably just me and my computer again. It didn't bother me. It was a good article.


message 25: by Sumner (new)

Sumner Wilson | 13 comments Dear Susan:

Oh, ho. You've solved the mystery. Thought for sure I'd gone up around the bend as Credence used to say.

Used to be on a site where what you posted came out all slewed and skewed, slanted and off the track if you didn't edit it with great care. This must be a case like that.

Thanks so much for clearing things up for me. I appreciate it. Need all the help I can get.

Sumner Wilson


message 26: by Pat (last edited Aug 25, 2009 11:11PM) (new)

Pat Bertram (patbertram) | 43 comments Mod
Sumner wrote: "Dear Pat:

Here's what I read. Tell me if this is your post. It's signed by Mike Simpson. So I might have read a different article.

Thanks,
Sumner Wilson


Sumner, no, it's not my article. I was just surprised that you didn't see the same thing I did.




message 27: by Sumner (new)

Sumner Wilson | 13 comments Dear Pat:

Susan solved the problem. I read the article from my email page. She explained that when you read it that way, it shows up all in one big block, which is what I did. So the problem is solved. Yippee, and hooray.

Isn't it so nice that the teen girl, Meghan, writes? I think it is wonderful in this age, when most teens won't even look at a book, and rely on video games to get them through their day. Good girl, Meghan, I say. Writing a novel is no easy task. I think she deserves a good deal of praise, what do you say, Pat?

Thanks,
Sumner Wilson


message 28: by Renee (new)

Renee (rjmiller) There are a lot of teens on this site who write and yes, it's wonderful. I know I'm not Pat, I just wanted to weigh in. Some of these teens are very talented.


message 29: by Sumner (new)

Sumner Wilson | 13 comments Dear Renee:

There are a lot of teens on this site who write and yes, it's wonderful. I know I'm not Pat, I just wanted to weigh in. Some of these teens are very talented.

Thanks for the comment, Renee. We should praise them all, then. I was especially involved with Meghan's story, because everyone seemed to want to teach her the cold, hard facts of life. She'll learn this on her own. We all do. But, let's give her all the encouragement we can now. That's what she really needs to continue writing. She'll need it, believe me. I'm sure you know this as well.

Thanks, Renee
Sumner Wilson



message 30: by Pat (new)

Pat Bertram (patbertram) | 43 comments Mod
Sumner, yes it's wonderful to find teens who write. It's also wonderful that they have the internet and the freely dispensed wisdom of those who have gone before. In my experience, one of the best things about the internet is the generosity of people who participate in discussion forums.


message 31: by Sumner (new)

Sumner Wilson | 13 comments Dear Pat:

I agree. The internet is a blessing.

Thanks,
Sumner


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