Most readers know me as a writer. Many writers know me as a writer and a speaker. I have spent as much time on the road speaking to RWA chapters and at writers’ conferences as I have promoting my books. I was just in Spokane, WA this past weekend doing a workshop on emotion for RWA’s Inland Empire Chapter and when I’m teaching, I’m really passionate about sharing what I know as a writer, and how to improve a book, taking a good story from good to great. Every book can be made better. I’m constantly pushing myself to write a better book. Every new book is an opportunity to grow, and further delight my readers.
I write for myself because I’m driven to write, but after 44 books, the outcome isn’t for me, or about me, it’s about my readers. Satisfying those readers. Wanting to entertain and engage those readers so that my readers truly escape, becoming immersed in my world, and the story I’m telling. To do that, a story has to be compelling, and believable, and fresh.
You can see I have a lot of opinions when it comes to writing, books, and delivering a fantastic story for one’s readers. I have so many opinions, as a matter of fact, that I have to be careful not to alienate other writers with my beliefs. We writers are all different. We are driven by different goals and needs, but my goal is to write the biggest, juiciest, bestselling commercial fiction novel I can write. How I do that, is up to me. I have my own skill set, so I have to work my skill set. Part of that is knowing why my readers read me, and what they want when they read a Jane Porter novel, and then working hard to ensure that my published novel doesn’t just met their expectations—but wildly--exceeds them.
Now I’ve taken all my opinions and my hard work and started a publishing company named Tule Publishing, with our registered LLC being The Tule Group. Two years ago I would never have done this. Even a year ago, I wouldn’t have. But a lot changed for me in the past year. I had health stuff that meant I couldn’t pound out book after book...how could I? My hands wouldn’t type. Then there were continuing changes in the publishing industry, which influenced my choices, as did the continuing disappearance of brick and mortar bookstores. I have never wanted to be a publisher or editor, and yet, suddenly I am both. But it works. It suits me. I am, if nothing else, hardworking and opinionated.
Tule Publishing has one goal---to publish fantastic stories, by the best writers, to delight the reader, while satisfying the writer's desire for creativity, freedom, and commercial success.
Tule is about the writer making money, having fun in the process, and working with awesome women – fellow writers – and Tule's small e-publishing team. We are a small full-service publishing company, deliberately small to be agile and able to adapt quickly. We are launching all of our releases in 2013 and 2014 first as e-books, and then choosing select titles to put into print.
Because I’m an author that’s written for three different publishers, I know what I’ve wanted from a publisher, and what I didn’t, and am trying to focus Tule’s energy to give authors the support they need so they can continue to write. At Tule, the power structure is inverted. Here, the authors are the talent. The authors have power. The contracts favor the author, and editorial isn’t about saying the author is wrong, but building the author’s voice and skill set so that she can shine as a single title author, and a future star, if she isn’t one already.
As a writer I don’t believe in boxes and categories. I’ve written category fiction for 13 years but I approached every one of those 30+ stories as if it was a single title. I believe in huge world building even if it’s a novella. More story, not less. Bigger voice. Bigger risks. Bigger writing. My motto is “go big, or go home.” But it’s worked for me, and it’s my mantra for Tule.
Any author writing for Tule is also writing for demanding readers like me.
Between now and Christmas, we will have 8 stories released with our first imprint, Montana Born (montanabornbooks.com), which include 7 novellas and a free story, and then we have 24 more titles scheduled for 2014.
Why launch Tule with the Montana Born imprint? Montana is mythic. Montana is about possibility and dreams and big sky...but also it’s filled with hard-working, rugged, independent people—which make it perfect for our first imprint.
And then there is our first story, of our first imprint. Who better to launch with, then the incomparable Megan Crane? Megan’s Tempt Me, Cowboy, went on sale last week, and then on Tuesday, September 24th we release 5-time Rita nominee, Lilian Darcy’s Marry Me, Cowboy, followed by the October release of CJ Carmichael’s Promise, Me, Cowboy and my Take Me, Cowboy at the end of the month.
Montana Born isn’t our only imprint. In June Tule launches its second imprint, Holiday, and we have a third imprint already scheduling stories. Editors are in place with every imprint, along with copy editors, cover art designers, and full marketing and publicity teams, too.
I don’t know where this adventure will go. I just know I had to do it. I’ve poured my heart and soul into writing books my readers will love, and it’s time for more readers, not less. It’s time for more respect, more freedom, more flexibility, and more joy.
We who write do something extraordinary. We should be validated and supported at every level—emotionally, psychologically, and financially.
Last February I said these very things to Megan, Lilian and CJ, who all quickly became Tule’s founding authors.
I love what we are doing at Tule. Writing great books is important. What we do as writers matter. I know I wouldn’t be happy without my comfort reads, and the world is full of people like me, who love to get lost in a great story.
So here we are, with a publishing company devoted to readers and writers and not interested (well, hardly...barely) in its own ego. Yes, Tule has to make money to pay staff and bills. But Tule won’t make money unless the authors make good money, and in this author’s mind, that’s how it should be.
I always said one-day writers would rule the world. I said it smiling, tongue in cheek. But maybe, one day, it might be true. Leave a comment for a chance to win a $15 Amazon gift card!
***Kelly S. is the winner! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your mailing address!***