A Self-Publishing Holiday Retrospective 2006-2012

In the days since Christmas I have been showing Outskirts Press holiday party pictures from the past. I began with our most recent 2012 holiday picture on Christmas and yesterday showed the picture from the 2007 holiday lunch. That brings us to today, New Year’s Eve, and to our very first holiday picture, taken way back in 2006. Yes, as I mentioned yesterday, there are some familiar faces: Tony, Shirley, Jeanine, Brent, Ellen, Lora, and Lynn.

Of course, attending a holiday party has very little to do with the talents and efforts all of us at Outskirts Press bring to our authors every day. We have so many additional people who help our authors (over 100), many of whom are not in any of these pictures and all of whom contribute just as much as those who have been shown and mentioned over the past few days.  The list is too long to include everyone, so just know that from Wendy to Cheri to Heidi to Jodee to Tina, Elise and Patrick; from Lisa to Jennifer, Jackie, Elizabeth, Heather, and everyone else, Outskirts Press authors are in very good hands.

So to all of you who have contributed your skills to seeing our Outskirts Press authors succeed and to seeing our self-publishing company excel, I thank you, and wish you and your family a happy holiday and a Happy New Year.  And to our authors, past, present, and future, I also wish you a Happy New Year. Let’s all continue to accomplish great things in 2013!

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…

A Self-Publishing Holiday Retrospective 2009-2012

All this week leading into the new year I am comparing the annual Outskirts Press holiday luncheon pictures of year’s past as a sort of short-form retrospective of the folks at Outskirts Press who make thousands upon thousands of authors’ dreams come true every year.  Of course, it should be noted that these pictures never offer a comprehensive glance of ALL the talented editors, illustrators, formatters, cover designers, and other folks involved with Outskirts Press year in and year out; if it did, these photographs would feature more than 100 people each year.  With what many authors would call “round the clock” support, and with a production pipeline containing between 300-500 titles at any given time, you can imagine the difficulty inherent in even getting 20 people together during a work day all at once.  Plus, we have people who work across the country, which makes it even harder to coordinate get-togethers like this one:

We did better in 2009 with our largest gathering to date. Yes, you’ll recognize many of the same people from 2012, 2011, and 2010, including from the back row: Caroline, Ellen, Cindy, Patrick, Shirley, Donna; Middle row: Tony, Tanya, and the front row: Jeanine, Lynn, Brent, and Lora.  Other faces you see here will become more and more familiar as we keep going back in time during this week-long self-publishing retrospective…

I should also mention that 2009 was the year we published our 5,000th book.  You may remember that we published our 10,000th book in 2012. We started publishing books in 2003 (I started the company in 2002 but we didn’t publish other books or incorporate until 2003). So in other words, it took the first 7 years to publish our first 5000 books and only the past 3 years to publish our second 5000 books. That is an explosion of growth!  To say that we were (and still are) in the midst of a self-publishing revolution (and revelation) would be an understatement.

A Self-Publishing Holiday Retrospective 2010-2012

On Christmas I posted our annual holiday luncheon picture, and thus began this week-long retrospective comparing the holiday party pictures of previous years to highlight certain accomplishments and people of Outskirts Press. We compared the 2011 picture yesterday, and today we’ll look at the 2010 picture:

You’ll immediately recognize some familiar faces in this photograph, the people who were in both the 2012 and 2011 pictures: Back Row: Cindy, Lora, Donna, Patrick, Ellen, Shirley, Brent. Front Row: Jeanine, Lynn, Tony.

You will also recognize two faces represented in one, but not both, of the previous pictures, Jodee and Caroline (sans Luke).

A Self Publishing Holiday Retrospective 2011-2012

Yesterday I posted our annual Outskirts Press self-publishing holiday picture for 2012, which is an annual photograph we have taken since 2006.  Since the self-publishing industry changes so fast, sometimes it is nice to take a look back at previous years and see what accomplishments or milestones we reached during those years and what has changed.

In doing so, an interesting and reassuring fact reveals itself, and it is something our stable of successful authors value and is part of what keeps them coming back to Outskirts Press book after book: The more things change, the more they stay the same.  We are still the highest-quality full-service self-publishing service provider, still privately owned, and still family owned.

Every year we have new folks joining us for our holiday party and as we go around the table and “introduce” ourselves, we also each stated how long we have been performing services for Outskirts Press and its authors. Seven, eight, and nine years were not uncommon lengths of time for some of the people in this photograph. That experience speaks for itself, and helps explain why Outskirts Press continues to be the only self-publishing company that appears on the Inc. 5000 list year after year (four years and counting).

With every year, we reach and exceed several milestones, accomplishments that are not clear simply by comparing the 2011 Holiday Photograph with the 2012 image I posted yesterday. Accomplishments like: Publishing our 10,000 book, launching our Facebook self-publishing achievements, donating a total in excess of $20,000 to the Colorado Humanities, revealing our 2nd annual Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year, and much more.

What is clear by comparing these pictures is that we have experience in our corner, as you will see many of the same people year after year, a testament to their experience and joy in helping self-publishing authors reach their goals: Between 2012 and 2011 the following people joined us for both parties: Back Row: Shirley, Ellen, Patrick, Donna, Cindy, Tony, and Brent. Front Row: Jeanine, Lora, and Lynn.  The four women present in this photograph but not in 2012 (Elise, Deni, Jenny, and Lonni) are still helping authors, too, but were simply not in attendance for our holiday luncheon in 2012 for various reasons.

So who were those new faces in the 2012 picture? Rob is a new Personal Marketing Assistant. Lisa is also a new Personal Marketing Assistant. Caroline (holding Luke) has been a book designer for a number of years but was not at the 2011 Holiday luncheon. Elena is a new Publishing Consultant. Christine joined us from the Colorado Humanities, where we have been sponsor/partners for the Colorado Book Awards for a number of years. And Jodee has been in the Author Services (publishing consultant) department for a number of years but was not at the 2011 lunch. Of course, you can see both Jodee and Caroline in the summer picnic pictures I’ve posted previously…

We’ll compare the 2010 holiday picture with this 2011 photograph tomorrow…

 

Merry Christmas from Outskirts Press

I realize the politically correct term is “Happy Holidays” and that’s the phrase we use in more general channels, like on our OP blog and Facebook page, since we work with authors from all different religious affiliations, but since this is my blog, and since my family celebrates Christmas, I get to also wish everyone a Merry Christmas.  Here’s a recent picture from our 2012 Holiday Party. Every year I also like to show the holiday pictures from the past years, and I will do that in the coming days leading into the new year along with summaries of the Outskirts Press accomplishments and/or milestones from each of those calendar years.

But in the meantime, Merry Christmas (and Happy Holidays):

Back row: Tony, Rob, Donna, Patrick, Lisa, Lora, Cindy, Caroline (and Luke),  Shirley, Elena, Christine (from the Colorado Humanities)
Front row: Brent, Jeanine, Ellen, Lynn, Jodee