How I Started a Publishing Company Today

Last summer, I decided to start taking my writing more seriously. I didn’t want to go back to school, but I knew that I needed to start getting high-quality feedback on my work (and learn from the experience of giving feedback of my own). Plus I wanted the experience for my startup, TypeTribe. Thus I joined the St. Louis Writer’s Guild so they could set me up with a critique group.

There was a guy in the critique group who was just as fascinated about the future of publishing as I was. We started chatting about it, and we realized that we both had similar ideas for a new model of publishing. I later met Jason’s wife, Kristy, who was equally fascinated about trying out some of these ideas in St. Louis.

Thus Blank Slate Press was born.

We had our launch party at Jason and Kristy’s house today. It was awesome. [insert photo of really cool literary-looking party here]

You might be asking, how can one just start a publishing company? And why? Here’s how:

We’re looking for one great St. Louis-area writer. Applications are now open. They don’t need to have been published, they don’t need an MFA, they don’t even need to have a book written. We’re just looking for a fantastic talent. Someone who is willing to commit to writing a great book and be a part of the marketing process (attend conferences, book readings, etc.). And it won’t just be one person deciding that we’ve found this talent–we’re putting together an editorial review board to be a part of that decision.

We’re going to enable and nurture that talent by providing the resources necessary for them to grow as a writer and have the time to write in the first place. We’re looking for a fresh voice, someone to stretch the limits of the novel (or whatever type of book they want to write).

Then we’re going to publish that person’s book…only in St. Louis. Sure, you can order it online and get it wherever, but we’re specifically going to focus on marketing it in St. Louis. Basically, we’re going to do everything in our power to make the book a bestseller in St. Louis. We have some brilliant marketing techniques we’re going to use, and more will come as we know what the actual book is about. This is the opposite of the traditional publishing model that tries to market books to the entire U.S. That’s too big, and you don’t give any book the attention it deserves unless it’s a huge release. We’re going to focus on St. Louis, do the book justice here, and if it takes off, our author will hopefully be signed by a major publisher.

How will we get the money to do all this? We’re using a venture capital money to raise funds to support the authors and our marketing efforts. If an author takes off, everybody wins.

Anyway, I’m extremely excited about this endeavor. If you know a great writer in the St. Louis area, send them the link to Blank Slate Press. Also, thanks to Trev, Laura, Charles, Caitlin, and Alan for making it to the launch party today.

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