IBPA Member Spotlight: KiCam Projects
Thursday, May 24, 2018
Posted by: Caitlin Walker
KiCam Projects Opens a Brick-and Mortar Bookstore
The Ohio-based independent press is proud to announce the opening of KiCam Books & Gifts, in Mount Orab, just outside of Cincinnati, OH. The town is gradually transitioning from rural to suburban, but until now, there has been no local bookstore to serve the community and act as a cultural hub. Because of this, KiCam plans to start a book club anchored at the store as a way to bring book lovers together. "We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to connect with local readers and to create a gathering place for book lovers," says KiCam founder Lori Highlander.
The 1,100 sq. ft. bookstore will offer all of KiCam’s 16 published titles, gift books, children’s books, award-winning titles from other independent publishers, and staff-selected fiction and nonfiction books from larger publishing houses. The grand opening took place on May 12th, featuring a signing from IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award™-winning author, Kilee Brookbank, whose first children’s book, Digger the Hero Dog, was published by KiCam on May 8th, 2018.
The Inspiration Behind KiCam Projects
After Lori Highlander’s 16-year-old daughter Kilee was seriously burned in a near-fatal accident, the two decided to write a book that provided hope and encouragement to burn survivors, their loved-ones, and other families struggling to rebuild their lives after trauma. Lori, who has always been an entrepreneur, began researching the publishing process during Kilee’s recovery period. She discovered that now, more than ever, indie publishers have the ability to make their unique voices heard. Soon after, KiCam Projects published their first title Beautiful Scars: A Life Redefined which told Kilee’s incredible story of resilience, hope, and recovery. In April 2017, the book was honored with a Gold IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award.
This year, KiCam is making some big transitions. In addition to the opening of their bookstore, the press launched a hybrid publishing program to complement their traditional publishing model. "As with all indie publishers, we’re not immune to concerns about finances and marketability…[but] success isn’t always defined by numbers," explains KiCam Executive Vice President Jennifer Scroggins. "We believe strongly in our mission to empower authors to bring great stories to light. The hybrid program will create a new pathway for authors who feel strongly about using their experience to help [bring hope] to their community."
4 Questions with KiCam's Jennifer Scroggins
IBPA: What is the one thing you wish you’d known when you first got into indie publishing?
JS: Only one thing?! We have learned so much—we still learn something quite literally every day. Maybe that’s the answer: that you’re always learning. Just when you think you have something figured out, you’ll find that a circumstance has changed, or a best practice has been tweaked, or what worked for one title won’t work the same way for the next title. Publishing is truly unlike any other industry; there’s no one formula for success or one definition of “doing it right”. The trick is to embrace the challenge, stay positive, and let your mission drive you forward.
IBPA: What are three core values of KiCam Projects?
JS: Authenticity, Determination, and Compassion: Perhaps that last one—compassion—is a little unexpected. But because of the nature of what we publish, we work with authors who have been through some incredibly difficult experiences. Their stories are so personal and sometimes very painful. We take great care to show our authors love and understanding. We also make it possible for authors to designate a portion of their royalty to be donated to a nonprofit organization if they so choose. Everyone associated with KiCam cares deeply about helping those in need and using our work to create lasting change.
IBPA: Choose any KiCam title. Now give us a quick elevator pitch – ready, go!
JS: Salvation on Death Row: The Pamela Perillo Story. John T. Thorngren writes from the perspective of Pamela, a convicted murderer who initially was sentenced to death by the State of Texas but is now serving a life sentence with hope for parole next year. Pamela has been incarcerated for close to 40 years, and her story combines elements of true-crime reporting, social-justice investigation, and spiritual memoir. This book will make you think—and make you feel. I absolutely love it.
IBPA: And finally, what advice can you give just-starting-out indie publishers?
JS: Indie publishing is about finding balance: balancing mission with financial reality, balancing workload and resources with goals and vision, and balancing professional passion with personal down time (as we heard about at IBPA Publishing University). What works for someone else might not make sense for you, and that’s okay. Indie publishing is a celebration of different perspectives, different voices, and different approaches. Find what works for you and go for it!
IBPA: Thank you for being part of the IBPA community, and for taking the time to share your story with us!
Find out more about KiCam Projects here.
Interested in learning more about hybrid publishing? Take a moment to read IBPA's Hybrid Publisher Criteria.