How does a small press begin?
Lots of ways, potentially. How did Weird Sisters Publishing begin? You might say it was a case of opportunity meets shared passion meets . . . retirement? As ever, we’re keeping things interesting.
It’s the culmination of a long history of two sisters teaming up to do stuff. Especially interesting, creative stuff. Our parents were teachers, so they gave us an interesting launch from Day One. (Yes, all parents are teachers, but ours also did it professionally).
We learned a lot of things earlier than some kids, although not early enough to suit us, most of the time. Mom the Art Teacher taught us to think creatively and look at the world with the eyes of an artist. Dad the Architectural Design Teacher taught us to love classical music and use big words.
We were probably doomed to be weird, but that was okay with us. We enjoyed keeping things interesting.
You’ll meet each of us in more detail in future posts, but we were best friends from the start, comrades-in-mischief, and co-conspirators. And ever since we were small and sharing a bed–spontaneously making up dramatic and thrilling “Nighttime Plays” instead of going to sleep as we were supposed to–we’ve shared a passion for fiction.
Circuitous routes, but connected
Both of us have gone off in our own directions, but we never lost that special bond. We made other dear friends. Established loving homes with extraordinary men (in different states). Went into varied-but-arts-related lines of work. Throughout our young-and-middle adulthoods, keeping things interesting became a way of life.
Our experiences gave us more intriguing things to talk about during marathon phone calls and face-to-face gabfests. Gave us lots of “story fodder,” too.
Both of us studied the craft of fiction. Surrounded ourselves with fellow writers. Made dedicated stabs at getting traditionally published at various times. We’ve each had agents. Each had editors who loved our work. And each of us has come close to publication time after time, only to be diverted by fate, disasters, and other “life stuff.”
But we always circled back to writing more, learning more, and keeping things interesting.
No life is perfect. Not one is all fun. We’ve each had our challenges and sorrows. These unfortunately included widowhood for one of us and other bereavements, illnesses, and losses for both. But we vowed early on that mere things and circumstances would never divide us. We worked together, encouraged each other, and found consensus to meet each challenge as it came. Even in the sad parts, we managed to keep things interesting.
We’ve now come to a point where we’re no longer well-disposed to wait for traditional publishing. It moves at a ponderous pace (and we’re not getting any younger). The hit-or-miss caprices of editorial whim and the corporate bean-counters’ calculations can often be arbitrary, confusing, and demoralizing. Worst of all, a traditionally-published author lacks autonomy over things that often are crucial to success.
We’re fortuitously endowed with a backlist of manuscripts that can be polished or republished, exciting new works in progress, and a long history of watching how books get made and promoted. Now we have means, motive, and opportunity.
Time to get our weird on, and enter a new phase of keeping things interesting.