What We Did Right and What We Did Wrong: A Start-up Story

September 2005
by Janet Chapple

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Inspired by the first
installment of Jan Nathan’s PMA Independent article “The Great Do-Over” [June and
July], I took a critical look at my own publishing company. I wanted to find
which of the mistakes others had reported applied to Granite Peak Publications
LLC, and I wanted to summarize five and a half years of trying to think like a
publisher.

In the beginning, I was driven to
form my own company by a negative and a positive. Thirty-four publishers (not
counting the ones who didn’t respond) had turned down my nearly completed
guidebook to Yellowstone National Park. Those who gave reasons other than “Does
not fit our program” mostly said they could not make the project succeed financially.
Of course, I now know very well what they meant—but that’s getting ahead
of the story.

At about the moment when I was
despairing, my three daughters offered to contribute money from an inheritance
from their paternal grandmother so I could publish the book myself. In
addition, Beth, my freelance editor daughter, volunteered to edit the book.
These extremely touching offers were enough to send me into “Why not?”
territory.

So Granite Peak Publications was
launched. The name has personal significance. Granite Peak is the highest
mountain in Montana, my home state, and my grandfather, Fred Inabnit, organized
the climbing party

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