A Publishing Start-Up: Key Learnings in the First Year

Taking your business to the next level, especially as a start-up, can feel incredibly daunting. It doesn’t matter if you have five years or twenty-five years under your belt  as a corporate executive, new ventures are fickle creatures. I’ve been balancing my time between author and publisher in the past year, which has provided key learnings about time management, focus, and taking on far too much. I don’t recommend it.

As the leader of the Girl on the Write Publishing, it is up to me to set the example that will allow my wonderful team to produce the best work for our authors. If you are spread too thin, unfocused, and simply exhausted, how is it possible to produce the kind of quality books that will ultimately build your reputation as an up and coming independent publisher? Why would any author choose to work with you?

I mentioned the “key learnings” of the past year in the beginning of this post. Here they are:

Do not launch a business and product (a book is a product) at the same time.

Should be obvious, right? Why would anyone take on building a marketing and branding strategy for both at the same time? A crazy, driven, CRAZY entrepreneur, that’s who (raising my hand). I won’t do this again, and from my lips to God’s ears, I won’t ever have to.

Have your branding 100% in place before doing a soft launch of a product of business.

I know, I know, thank you, Captain Obvious. Launching both is an accomplishment and joy. When you have an entrepreneurial spirit, this crunch time and “against all odds” stuff is intoxicating. We love to create and nurture our business babies! Don’t do this. The result of launching before you’re ready is stress, and always running to catch up. Just because you have a kick-butt logo in hand doesn’t mean you are ready to go public. The whole fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants has no place here. Heed my warning, people!

Figure out which comes first – your product or your business.

Usually one is dependent upon the other, as is the case with starting a publishing company. Girl on the Write Publishing is working with a handful of authors as I type this post. Our author partners are excited to share their stories with the world, and for most of them, this is their first time being published. That is important stuff, my friends, and a big deal to us! Of all the publishing routes they could’ve taken, they chose us. It doesn’t matter that we’ve vetted their manuscripts and chose them first. By signing on, they entrusted us with their words, reputation, and establishment in the industry. Again, that’s a big deal! The moral of this learning is that you need to thoroughly and thoughtfully analyze what you need in place before doing the other. For a publisher, there feels like no clear path, which is why I made the choice to launch the business before publishing our first book. Most authors have no desire to sign on with an unknown publisher that lacks a track record, am I right?

I close this post with a heartfelt message: To those who’ve taken on the risk of working with a new, unknown publisher, we humbly and gratefully thank you for your trust, and the opportunity. The Girl on the Write team will work tirelessly to make your book exactly as you’ve envisioned.

– Tina Truax, President




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