A Self-Publishing Holiday Retrospective 2007-2012

Two more days to go in 2012 and in our self publishing holiday retrospective, where I have been examining our Outskirts Press holiday pictures from the past years. Back in 2007, we held our second annual holiday party, and the “usual suspects” were already well represented: Tony, Cindy, Lora, Ellen, Shirley, Brent, Lynn, Jeanine.

Tony is a board member (and my dad), so his consistency is perhaps not all that surprising. And of course I’m going to be in every picture (although,  I’m a few pounds lighter in this one).  Lynn (next to me, second from the right in the back row)  is not only my mother but is also the CFO/CTO of the organization. And Jeanine’s (furthest to the right) contributions to Outskirts Press over the years cannot be measured or overstated (plus, she is my wife, and that can’t be easy). So the four family members of this family-owned company are a stable foundation.

But let’s examine the other amazing women who have been in every picture since 2007…

Cindy S. (back row, third from the left) offers an amazing combination of creativity and technical know-how, which is a necessary, but rare, combination of talents that is integral to book publishing. In addition to being one of our most talented and sought-after cover designers, Cindy has performed spec checks on images and print-ready PDF files to ensure their technical specification and compliance for high-quality publication. All of that is a fancy way of saying she’s one of the reasons Outskirts Press books look so amazing and win so many awards. Thank you, Cindy.

Lora G. (back row, fourth from the left) has been sharing her amazing skills with Outskirts Press authors almost since the very beginning (you will see her tomorrow in the 2006 photograph, as well). And she’s done just about everything around here. She was among the first author representatives, among the first title production supervisors, and among the first production managers. And even today, when vacation time or scheduling requires it, she can still complete any of those tasks for our authors without missing a beat; although more recently our CFO/CTO has been occupying the majority of Lora’s skills with “number-crunching” tasks related to our analytics and advertising.  All of that is a fancy way of saying that Lora is one of the reasons Outskirts Press has been on the Inc. 5000 list four years in a row. Thank you, Lora.

Ellen N. (back row, fifth from the left in the green turtleneck sweater) has been sharing her talents with Outskirts Press almost since the beginning, too (you will also see her in the first holiday picture from 2006). And she’s still doing just about everything around here. She’s performed every task in the busy production department from author representation to title production supervisor to production manager to quality control supervisor and upload facilitator. She facilitates every hard copy submission (and there’s an unbelievable volume of that, even though publishing is well within the digital age by now).  So if you mail it to us, Ellen touches it.  In fact, if you publish it with us, it’s likely Ellen has touched it.  All of that is a fancy way of saying that she is one of the reasons Outskirts Press publishes between 100-200 books every single month. Thank you, Ellen.

Shirley P. (back row, fifth from the right) has been working with Outskirts Press since the beginning. When Lynn became the CFO/CTO in 2004, Shirley was the first person to lend a hand. We have wanted her to oversee entire departments, but Shirley’s work/life balance is exactly where she wants it – she goes on incredible trips every year and when she’s not exploring the planet, she contributes to our financial and technical sides in a way I admittedly can barely comprehend. I rarely understand her emails since she’s smarter than me, so I often just find myself saying, “Yes, Shirley,” and — wouldn’t you know it? — everything turns out perfectly.  All of that is a fancy way of saying Shirley is awesome, and we couldn’t be doing any of this without her. Thank you, Shirley.

Of course, everyone involved with Outskirts Press  (including those who have been unable to attend the parties but still bring their talents and skill sets to our authors) are very much appreciated and valued. Thank you to them all. For instance, Lisa C. (back row, 4th from the right) still evaluates every digital submission for “publishability” and Deni S. (front row, 1st on the left) is still helping our authors as an author representative; Heidi J. (front row, 2nd from the left) continues to almost single-handedly handle the complex (and sometimes stressful) post-publication revisions department; and Kelly S. (front row, furthest on the right) in the years since this picture was taken has risen to the role of Vice President and in 2012 has almost single-handledly allowed me to take some time off. Thank you, thank you, thank you, one and all.

Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve and we’ll finish this self publishing retrospective with our very first holiday picture, taken way back in 2006…