And So It Begins...
Interesting how things happen. When my publisher, Holladay House, closed its doors last spring, I had just completed my latest draft of my third novel, Carolina Cruel. At the time, we were happy with its progress. We were talking final edits, covers, blurbs, and we were planning a fall release. Holladay House's sudden change in direction sent me scrambling to find a new company to house Carolina Cruel and my future writings.
And so with great resolve and more than just a little trepidation, I went back to query letters and agents and slow follow-ups and rejections and headaches and late nights and upset stomachs. It's a process that most writers know all too well.
For over six months I labored under the false assumption that because I had been published before, a new publisher/agent/book deal was just around the corner. However, the rejection letters kept coming: looks great but it just isn't for us, or the ever-maddening: not for us, but I'm sure you'll find a publisher soon.
All this to say it's a tough business and there are certainly no guarantees. And ultimately I'm ecstatic that most of these publishers even considered my work in the first place. However, the problem remained. I knew I had a winner in Carolina Cruel, but what to do with it?
With age comes a measure of wisdom, but age also carries with it a small dose of desperation. After months of trying to secure a home for my work, a voice from within began to whisper to me: just do it yourself. And while it is true that writers for small publishers must do the majority of leg-work in the promotional stage, there were other aspects of the business that seemed overwhelming. Fortunately, I learned much from my former publishers of what to do and what not to do. Like anything, experience is the best teacher.I knew that I didn't want to go to a vanity publisher or any hybrid variation. So, with a deeply held breath, I took the plunge and created Rivers Turn Press, a traditional publishing house.
Beyond the licensing fees, set-up costs, contracts and other fine-print headaches, things began to mesh very well. As I post this today, we are a fully operational publishing business with our first release (Carolina Cruel) due out within the next two weeks. It's exciting and we have eyes on the works of other authors we hope to announce in the not so distant future. And that's the beauty of Rivers Turn Press: I intend it as a voice for the creative yet frustrated writers who are most certainly out there. I've met them, talked with them, even taught a few along the way. I want Rivers Turn Press to be the home for their stories and ideas - a place where the Southern voice in a variety of genres can be heard.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention the copious amount of help I received in getting this venture started. My family and friends have been with me since the beginning and their help and insight is immeasurable in my eyes. As a writer, I've met many in the book business, sellers and artisans alike whom I now call friends and colleagues. And, of course, the readers out there. This business would not exist without their continuing support, and for that, I am forever grateful.
On June 16, Carolina Cruel will be released nation wide and the book promotional tour will begin the very next day. I look forward to all that awaits. Thanks again, everyone. Stay tuned for more from Rivers Turn Press.
And here we go......
Author, teacher Lawrence Thackston is also the publisher of Rivers Turn Press