“Listen to advice from professionals, and from people whom you trust, about your book(s). The more opinions and input you get, the better your books can become.”
Why did you become a book publisher? I wrote and illustrated my first book "A Micro-Chip On My Shoulder" and it won an Indie Award. Authors started giving me their manuscripts to illustrate, after the award. I illustrated "Momma Tree" and it was published by Dragon Tree Press. "Momma Tree" just won a "Mom's Choice" Award. But I wanted more control over the whole process so I started Corn Crib Publishing. I have successfully published the "Chip" book, as a hardcover, as my first trial run. And now I am illustrating and publishing my third book "A Farmer's Alphabet", written by Charles Long. It will be published in softcover, hardcover, and e-book by my new company, Corn Crib Publishing. I have other manuscripts in the pipeline after this book also!
What do you like best about publishing? Having control over the whole process.
What do you publish? Children's illustrated books; Environmental, farm, sustainable homestead themes.
What is the most effective form of marketing for your press? My business as a professional artist for 35+ years and connections to many different communities of interest.
How do you define a successful title? A quality work that doesn't have any pages/sections that I wish I could redo; It stands up after repeated viewings. Sales help too!
Tell us about one of your titles about which you are especially proud. "A Micro-Chip On My Shoulder; The True Story of a Little Poult" is my first book that I "saw" first and did all the paintings of first...then wrote the text. I did the book to help save the rare breed of turkeys that we raise on our farm...and that has been successful! I did not expect to back into book publishing too. But I see the whole book and the only way I can truly realize it to it's potential is to do the whole process myself.
What has been your biggest challenge in achieving success? Technical. I was not into computers much, except as a means to an end. I have had to master a lot of computer work that I wish I could hire out instead. However, after trying four tech-savvy people, I ended up having to go at it myself anyhow. I hope that the industry continues to make the process user-friendly; It is heading that way fortunately.
What advice do you have for newcomers to book publishing? Listen to advice from professionals, and from people whom you trust, about your book(s). The more opinions and input you get, the better your books can become. You don't always have to use someone else's advice, but you might use it as a springboard to ameliorate an existing problem in your book.
How will you and your company be positioned in five years? I hope to publish just one or two books a year...a micro-publishing business. I really enjoy doing the illustrations for them too. So, that is a lot of paintings! But I have been a professional artist for over 35 years and this is my first love. I plan to only choose manuscripts that really appeal to my interests. I do have a couple of non-children's books, written by others, I will want to publish also. But they fit in nicely with my themes of: environmental, sustainable living, organic farming and gardening.
When you're not fully immersed in publishing, what do you do for fun? We have a sustainable organic-practice farm. We raise chickens, rare heritage turkeys, and sheep, as well as almost all our other foods, year-round. We have lots of farm tours, master gardeners, and others come visit our farm and my studios. We are on the Southern Maryland Trails (tourist books for farms, historic sites, and artist studios). I enjoy handspinning the sheep's wool and our home-grown organic cotton. We also enjoy rowing on the beautiful Chesapeake Bay in a 14' mahogany wooden wherry boat I built for my husband.
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