I’ve been attending When Words Collide, a literary festival in Calgary, Alberta. I’m here as both a writer and a publisher – selling books in the dealer’s room, participating on panels and meeting old friends and making new ones at social events in the evening.
I always find these things energizing. It helps me remember why I got into this business in the first place and why I stay. It certainly wasn’t for the money. Though I wouldn’t mind making a little more. If anyone wants to invest in publishing with no promise of return, let me know.
One of the really thrilling things I get to do is hold book launches for other people’s books. Last night, we (Bundoran Press) released Javenny by Al Onia. Al is an old friend but that’s not why I published him. He wrote a really interesting book filled with ideas I hadn’t seen put next to each other before. It was a pleasure working with him and with cover artist, Dan O’Driscoll, my designer and others to produce a fine looking book. But the real pleasure came from seeing how excited and pleased Al was.
This is why I do what I do. To be a key part in the creative process of others, a facilitator of their genius. For a small press publisher – and I suspect for many in much bigger publishing houses – this is our biggest reward. As editors and publishers we love books and we love the people who create them. I know how Al feels because I’ve had the good fortune to experience the same thing a few times myself. There is really nothing like holding your freshly printed book in your hand and to look out over a sea of eager faces (or even a small pond) who are there especially to hear you read from and talk about your book.
I’ve had plenty of other great experiences this week – even at 10 on a Sunday morning, I had the energy and passion (well after I got warmed up) to express both my optimism and fears about the future of publishing – with four other publishers from small and medium presses – and to encourage writers to take control of their destinies even as it seems the path forward is most murky. You can read more about that on my other blogs at www.haydentrenholm.com or on WordPress at BundoranSF.
But that’s ten minutes.