We’re starting off our first regular blog post on the new site with what we think will be the start of a new series: featuring our suppliers. First up is The Jam Press. They’re a small hybrid publisher in Toronto that focuses on creating beautiful high quality books for authors who aren’t interested in the traditional publishing route. Their first book - Conversations for Two, written by the founder of The Jam Press herself, Jacqueline Markowitz - is out now and available in online bookstores and (for Toronto locals) Type Books. Here’s our Q&A with Jacqueline.
Many self-publishing authors will typically go through a self-publishing company (like Lulu or CreateSpace) that provides all the necessary services through one source. What made you decide to avoid that route?
The online companies offer a terrific smorgasbord of publishing options, but my vision just didn’t fit into any of their packages. I was looking for something specific – the quality of the paper, font, the way the type was designed on the page, the book cover, the overall feeling of the book. It was very important to me to publish a beautiful book. Not finding what I wanted online or at other companies, I set out to find the people who could help me achieve my vision. What resulted is a bespoke approach to independent book publishing that has now become The Jam Press.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as an indie-author?
Without a doubt the biggest challenge is breaking down the barriers to traditional bookstores and traditional media. There are a lot of heavy doors for independent authors.
What motivated you to create The Jam Press imprint for your book instead of simply publishing under your own name?
I did a lot of groundwork to achieve the vision I had for this book and in the end I realized I had just created my own publishing company!
What would you tell an author who wants to self-publish but isn’t sure where to start?
Self-publishing is a terrific opportunity to publish your book. So, get clear about what you want, and be ready to invest in your own work. I was at the point where I wasn’t willing to wait the years of submissions, rejections and acceptances and then publishing. I also didn’t want to sacrifice quality. I worked with 3 editors over my book journey, took writing and publishing courses, so when I decided to self publish I understood what I was getting myself into, and the investment I was making. I had given everything inside of me to the writing and creating a beautiful physical book was paramount. And, of course, now you have The Jam Press to guide you through your journey.
What has been your favourite part of having a book in print?
A big huge sense of relief that I did it! Honestly, there is a great feeling of peace and accomplishment. I love the buzz now, the book talks, the articles, interviews, connecting with readers. It’s a wonderful experience.
How would you describe the author The Jam Press is looking for?
I think there are a lot of authors like me, who are putting out quality writing and are looking for a more hands-on approach to publishing their own work. With the Jam Press literary services, authors have access to a phenomenal team for consulting and publishing, with an editor, publicist, book designer and printing press. They can hire us to guide them through any aspect of their journey, or manage the entire project, moving through the editing, design, to branding and publicity stages.
Has your perspective on the industry changed now that you’re a publisher and an author?
Absolutely. Self-publishing is not a dirty word, not a term applied to those who cannot get published, and the quality does not have to suffer. Book publishing is evolving in a similar way to the music business, seeing legitimacy for independents.
I definitely now have a broad understanding of the entire process, and much appreciation for what traditional publishers do and independents as well. The last year of writing, I was absorbed, totally focused - it was my breath. I now truly get what it takes to be a writer. I approached publishing with the same intensity and attention to detail, and I am thrilled with the result.