The View from Here
Contributor
Written by
Niki Tulk
March 2013
Contributor
Written by
Niki Tulk
March 2013

I have been told on good literary authority that there are certain aspects of March that make it a month to be cautious of … Ides, for instance. Nevertheless, March has been a month of celebration and relief, to stand on the summit of a mountain I have been climbing for over 12 years.

I launched my novel. To be more precise, I stood amongst my community as we placed our hands on it and pushed it into the ocean, and cheered as it floated and caught the tide.

If you’ve read my previous blogs, you all know the dream, the risk and the thrill as I sought to find  — and found  —  an audience that would fund the publication of “Shadows & Wings” by buying the book before it was printed, instead of afterwards. The campaign, the anguish of the last, looooong rewrite … now finally all the books have been wrapped in brown paper with just the right amount of ethereal crackle, a plant-and-grow handmade paper bookmark tucked inside each one, and a note of thanks signed in the front cover.

In Athens, GA, just last week, I worked with the South-East’s best indie book store Avid to read and celebrate the official launch, to a full house of friends old and new. I am unafraid to wave the cliche flag just here and declare it was a dream come true  — words borne from community, and sent forth to readers who helped birth the novel they now held in their hands, or virtually on their e-readers.

I have learned so much. I have learned that there are many, many fellow-readers and artists out there who want work to be published that has substance and value, and who will support it when given the information, time and connection to do so. I have learned that without respect of your audience, and treating them as you would wish to be treated, you achieve nothing. This translates practically into communicating the process, keeping them abreast of changes, being honest about the challenges, seeking their help and advice; in short, seeing them as partners in the production, not as consumers of an end product.

I have realized the pure joy of finalizing and publishing a book while feeling your readers totally a part of the process. It is then a “we did it!” not an “I did it!” which feels good on so many levels, in these times where collaboration and working together is threatened to be subsumed by a competitive, individualist paradigm. It’s the village, not the high rise condo version of the publishing process. And it feels wonderful and significant to be a part of. I have felt a keener sense of the importance of being proactive in what we allow to be sold to us as our culture  — we need to nurture and protect storytelling, ensuring that we have a control as a community over what material is deemed “good” and therefore disseminated, and that diverse voices are raised and heard. We need to protect storytelling, a human need and art, from simply being a product appropriated and sold to us. We must fight to be the makers and guardians of our own culture/s. But I digress ...

Publishing through Kickstarter, and establishing a new indie press has also made me understand the passion and obstacles facing editors, publishers and all those who work so hard to marry integrity and heart to their jobs in a scene where the book-buyers and marketing departments determine who gets contracts. I take my hat off to those folk in the biz who battle for the good stuff and don’t give up. In fact, I wish you success and strength in the challenges.

I have learned so much, and it continues now that I am spreading news of the publication wider than my original sphere. I am getting to know bloggers, reviewers, owners of other small presses who are further along the road than we are. I hope to extend what I have done to bring the work of others to the world, and plans are already underway to add more authors to Small House Press.

Thank you, She Writers, for allowing me to share this process, to celebrate with you and to read of your successes and journeys.

“Shadows & Wings” (Small House Press) is available through all the usual online retailers, but personally, I’m telling everyone to support indie and buy it though Avid Bookshop in Athens, GA, woman-owned, indie supporter of indie publishers.

www.avidbookshop.com

Niki Tulk

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Comments
  • Congratulations, Niki!!

  • Julia Munroe Martin

    This was a wonderfully inspirational post, thank you! I'm about to self publish my first novel this month, and it's great to read such encouraging words. I love your story!

  • Christine Keleny

    How wonderful!

    I'm very happy for you.

    Good luck!

    Christine Keleny

  • Stephanie Scott

    What a unique approach. Very cool how so many others collaborated with you. It makes a book launch so much more meaningful.

  • Joanne Barney

    I admire your drive, ambition, and creativity in a writing world where those traits are growing even more important as small press and self-publishing become the norm.  Congratulations! I have a question.  Did you  decide to distribute to libraries?  And if you did, did you contract with Baker&Taylor?  I'm asking because my book will come out soon under my own imprint  and library distribution will not be included in the services offered by Createspace.  The application for B & T is daunting for a first-time author.  Is there another way?  Thanks for listening.  Jo

  • Niki Tulk

    Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging comments. I feel so warmed by the thoughts you shared ... thank you.

    Peace,

    Niki

  • Karyne Corum

    It takes a whole village to write a book...or in this case a whole community.  But I love it. What a fantastic way to bring your "baby" out in the world, cradled and carried by the love and support of all those who support it and your storytelling. The art and passion of community working towards a sympathetic goal is getting shuffled aside in this new publishing world or so it seems at times. Storytelling is a ancient and sacred craft that is part of our DNA and unless we foolishly let some science minded zealot pluck it out of the petri dish, it should carry us forward to whatever destination awaits us. Good luck to you and may you sell a million copies!