I don’t have the answers.

It’s hard to believe that fifteen months have gone by since Parisian Phoenix released its first title on the world. Fifteen months, nine books, more than a dozen artists and writers working together to create craft books featuring unique voices and diverse perspectives.

There are milestones we have reached as a business– making enough with each project to fund the next project (even if we aren’t generating profit), receiving unsolicited submissions, attending events and meeting other small presses, connecting with other small presses and self-published authors on social media.

As the publisher, I (Angel) strive to build a supportive environment not only for writers but for photographers and other artists as well. I believe that traditional publishing, especially as the “Big 5” or “Big 4” or Big-Number-of-the-Week fight with the government in court regarding mergers, functions on the same model we do here at Parisian Phoenix Publishing: Hope to sell enough books to pay for more books.

Everything I’ve read and heard on podcasts has indicated that publishing is a long game. An author takes five years to gain enough traction to have a career. That’s five years of continuous writing, releasing and marketing. Not drop a book and leave it sit on Amazon for five years.

Rachael Herron, a traditionally and self-published author posts a regular episode of her podcast How Do You Write? answering questions posted by her Patreon subscribers (because every author that isn’t a big name supplements their income with Patreon, teaching, editing or all three). A self-published author had “done everything right” and still only sold 30 copies of her debut novel. And Rachel looked at her recent book sales and pointed out that in the last month, a trilogy that is among her more popular books sold about 30 copies across all three titles. (Check out her podcast. This particular episode is 333, “What do you do if your book isn’t selling?”)

And she points out that the recent Department of Justice trial amid the big publishers has shown that none of them really know how to sell books. Random House, and I did not fact-check this, started randomly. They got some rights to publish some books and accidentally hit it big so they kept going. The book was James Joyce’s Ulysses. And the random books came from the Modern Library. (Funding Universe supports this history, if they count as a source, and Wikipedia provides a long list of footnotes if anyone really wants to dive into an internet rabbit hole.)

Trying to verify this on the Penguin Random House website is like traveling through a vortex of all the big publishing names that have disappeared in the last 200 years.

Essentially, James Joyce went rogue and he created modern publishing. Okay, that’s a broad, unsubstantiated claim. But the point is, don’t lose hope. Find your voice. Stumble into your own success. Use the resources out there. And lean on professionals who know what they are doing.

Good luck with all your endeavors in 2023 and I hope you’ll consider Parisian Phoenix as a reference point for resources and a place to buy good books.

Published by Angel Ackerman

Writer, Editor, Traveler, Fashionista, Francophile, Student and Mother Publisher at Parisian Phoenix (parisianphoenix.com) Author of the Fashion and Fiends series

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