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Thursday, May 8, 2014

The small press publishing model: Lessons from Joy, Interrupted

Almost this same time a year ago, the book I "birthed," Joy, Interrupted: An Anthology on Motherhood and Loss, was published..

I had great joy over the release of the book. It allowed me to connect with over fifty wonderful people on a similar "grief path" and get much needed support to help me move towards acceptance.

Publishing Joy, Interrupted: An Anthology on Motherhood and Loss was a turning point both personally and in developing my small press, Fat Daddy's Farm.

Thinking back to the push to get the book out and efforts to market it, I have been taking stock of some of the lessons I gleaned from that experience.

The most practical lesson I learned is:

The publishing model of big presses and self-publishing doesn't work for small presses.


The publishing model for big presses relies on two things a fledgling small press doesn't have much of::
Money & Access 

The publishing model for those self-publishing relies on:
Time & Access

Time and money are pretty self-evident, but what do I mean by access? Access is the ability to get press exposure, get your book in a bookstore, get cheap printing, etc.

Money and Access: 
You know how there are so many reviews for books of larger presses, whether Amazon customer reviews, from bloggers or in publications? There are actually networks of reviewers that publishers pay a fee to get access to. They also print Advanced Review Copies to send to a large number of reviewers on Goodreads and/or to do giveaways. They have a network of print reviewers that they rely on, some of which they also pay to have access to and/or invest in a publicist who nurtures and develops those contacts.

Time and Access:
In the self-publishing world, the advice is for writers to contact reviewers individually and/or swap reviews. So you might not see lots of reviews for an individual book, but they are often heartfelt and positive. Writers contact press, especially local press, directly to get reviews. They rely on their established network of people, many of which will include other writers who are friends, to get reviews. All of this takes a lot of time.

For a small press who has multiple books and authors, you are going to be pretty spread thin trying to contact reviewers with the same passion and diligence as someone self-publishing.  That one book you want to promote? It is one of many children you have to attend to.

And, using the parenting analogy, a small press simply doesn't have the number of nannies a big press has and can't be a stay at home parent like the self-publisher can.

Effective marketing for a large publishing company and an individual self-publishing might be cost-ineffective vanity for the small press.

Instead, what I learned from publishing Joy, Interrupted: An Anthology on Motherhood and Loss, is that I had to create my own publishing model.

Joy, Interrupted: An Anthology on Motherhood and Loss is on sale right now on Amazon and I have some copies people can buy directly from me.  If you are in the UK, the book will be free this weekend on Amazon.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Joy, Interrupted Press Release

For Immediate Release
Melissa Miles McCarter
Fat Daddy's Farm

Joy interrupted in new anthology on motherhood and loss

Ironton, MO - May, 1 2013 - Most people think motherhood is a joyous experience, but for some it can be an experience of interrupted joy. Joy, Interrupted is an anthology that delves into the subject of motherhood and loss from different perspectives of authors and artists from all over the world.

Joy, Interrupted: An Anthology on Motherhood and Loss is edited by Melissa Miles McCarter, and is published by Fat Daddy's Farm Press.  The paperback edition will be available on Amazon.com in May for $25.99. Pre-ordering is available until May 1.

McCarter conceived of the anthology six years after her daughter died of SIDS and then struggling with secondary infertility after an ectopic pregnancy. "I struggled to make sense of her death and cope with the pain of losing her by reading and writing about other mother's who have had experiences of loss."

After putting out a call for submissions, McCarter was amazed to see how many women and men from all over the world expressed the topic of motherhood and loss from perspectives she had never considered before. She discovered that losses in mothering are so much more than just what happens when a child dies.

Mothers and their children face loss in all forms: adoption, children growing up, estrangement, illness, disability and death. There are very few anthologies covering these different forms of loss. So editor and publisher Melissa Miles McCarter decided that it was important to create a safe place for artists and authors to explore the topic of motherhood and loss.

According to McCarter,"Editing the book allowed me to get outside myself through the creative works of others when I might otherwise have been shut down by grief."

McCarter has many hopes for how the book can affect readers: "I hope the book lets others know that their pain matters, their loss matters, and they are not alone. I also hope that it can give hope and encourage people that the risk of loving, of mothering, is worth the inevitable losses and pain that occur because of the joy that love brings."

Joy Interrupted is a creative anthology that helps explores how we can move through pain to the other side of joy. Those who have suffered loss in association with motherhood can realize they are not alone. It suggests that even after paralyzing grief, we can keep on creating, living, and to begin experiencing moments of joy again.

Fat Daddy's Farm is a small press and music company located in Southeast Missouri.
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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Review of Joy, Interrupted

Review of Joy, Interrupted by Sharon Fulham, author and educator

Joy Interrupted is a creative anthology that helps grieving mothers move through pain to the other side of joy. Mothers who have suffered excruciating loss  can realize they are not alone.  This book carries a  voice of hope with words of comfort which come through the stories of its contributors.  It becomes  a safe harbor for mothers to retreat  to express grief, to rest the mind, and to read about creative ways to work through grieving.  It suggests that even after paralyzing grief,  mothers can keep on creating, living, and to begin experiencing moments of joy again.

Jenn Williamson's poem, "The First Dream," in Joy, Interrupted is beautifully written. It describes a dream about her mother six months after her death. It is wonderfully descriptive, picturesque, comforting, and awakens longing... “The First Dream” easily wraps itself around those who have lost their mother in death. Readers will hold it close to their heart. I love this poem!

Margaret Kramar's "Dining Hall" is a story in Joy, Interrupted about a mother’s struggle and reluctance to ‘let go’ of her son when she left him at college that first day. Mothers in this scenario can relate to her anguish and deep feelings of loss. It was in the ‘dining hall’ that she realized this would be their last meal together for a long time.  “I wanted to be his mother,  to feel the bond between us, to caress him with affection that falls down like soft leaves...“  Her son glared at her over his shoulder... his steel grey eyes allowing no admittance.   Mothers everywhere will understand why she sobbed all the way back to Des Moines... and they will marvel at how she came to terms with ‘letting go’. 

I am still mesmerized by Elynne Chaplik-Aleskow’s  story,  “RG" in Joy, Interrupted.  If Elynne had birthed a son...  he would have been named RG.  He would have become someone who would lessen this world’s despair ...  At the age of  forty-two she married her best friend, Richard.  As a married couple they pursued their own dreams and those dreams they built together.  As a professor, she invested  her heart and time in teaching a Communications course “LIFE 101” which she loved!  She taught her students self-esteem and how to reach their potential.  I got a lump in my throat when she wrote about her prize-winning garden of students... with which many of whom she stays in touch. Elynne Chaplik-Aleskow has an undeniably warm,  nurturing mother’s heart. You must read her story to learn more about RG and the unforgettable ending.  
Pre-order now: http://amzn.to/10kAion

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Joy, Interrupted Book Tour: Scheduling Now

I am currently scheduling dates for a book tour to promote Joy, Interrupted.  My currently planned schedule includes:

Columbia College, Chicago, IL May 23-26, 2013
University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS June 9, 2013
Stanford University, Stanford, CA Sept 25-28,
Renaissance St. Louis Hotel, St. Louis, MOOctober 11-13
Other dates and places TBA

I will be available at these dates and places for book readings, book signings, book sales, interviews and other events.  If you would like to plan an event for me to attend with you in an area I am to be scheduled to be in, please let me know.  We can also work on arrangements to bring me to your area for such events.

I am also scheduling a blog tour and interviews with various media outlets.  If you have a blog or know of a blog that would be interested in my writing a guest blog, please let me know.  If you have media outlet contacts or know anyone who would like to interview me about the book, please let me know.

If you have anything scheduled or will schedule anything to promote the book, please let me know so I can link to it and/or announce on the blog, facebook and twitter.

Best wishes,

Thursday, March 21, 2013

You can now pre-order the paperback copy of Joy, Interrupted for $25.99 on Amazon to be released May 1, 2013
(The picture of the cover will be up on Amazon in a couple of days, but I was excited to announce the news)

Ordering other versions (hardback, ebook) will be announced soon...(working on it!)  People promised free ebook copies will receive them before paperback comes out.


Friday, November 30, 2012

Announcement for Joy, Interrupted: New Timeline

I have finished the first proof for "Joy, Interrupted."  Right now, the wonderful Ann Mathew is proofreading this proof.

Around December 15, I should have it back and will send it around to all the contributors.  Contributors will need to send me back the proof with any edits or changes they need me to make by January 10. 

I should turn around and send out the second proof out pretty quick, giving everyone one last opportunity to finalize the manuscript.  After that point, we will have to play it by ear, trying to tie up loose editing ends and working on the nuts of bolts of getting it published.  But, I anticipate getting this book out around early Spring.

On a personal note, many of you already know I passed my dissertation defense this week.  I really appreciate that many people sent me notes of encouragement and congratulations.

Melissa Miles McCarter
Editor, Joy, Interrupted: An Anthology on Motherhood and Loss
Publisher, Fat Daddy's Farm