Confessions of a Garage Publisher

December 2005
by Phyllis Caves Rawley

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Brown Skin Publishing. Brown
Eyed Girl Books. You gotta admit, both names sound sexy and enticing, and I had
a cool logo for the second: a pair of sexy brown eyes peering over the top of
an open book. But what was I thinking? I knew that I was an
about-to-be-discovered-by-Oprah, soon-to-be-insanely-successful nonfiction
author, and the greatest self-help publisher of all time. So for sure I had to
stay away from labels that didn’t match my genre.

Although I am still fantasizing
about publishing some erotica one day, this brief story is about the makings of
Career Tips Books. It started one cool spring Saturday morning with me raising
my hand and clearing my throat in a continuing education class on How to Write
a Book in 52 Weeks. I asked the question I knew everyone wanted to ask, and it
started with the classic line “I have a friend . . . ” I had the audience of
200 waiting. “She writes children’s books and what you might call erotica.” The
room sniggered and turned to see the instructor’s response. “So should
I—um, I mean, should she use a pseudonym for the children’s books or for
the erotica?” The instructor turned two shades of red and stumbled through a
response, but with the smiles from the audience, I knew I was off to a good
start. Clearly, I understood the first important rule: grab the audience’s
attention.

Two months later, my career
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