The short answer is that, for the past two and a half months (minus two weeks I got to come home), I’ve been in Rochester, NY.
The longer answer is that, as most of you who have read my blog for a while know, I work as a software performance engineer. In fact, readers of my very first blog (which might be limited to my cats) know that it was consulting work I was doing related to software performance on handheld devices, a bad experience with an author mill by a friend who is an author, and the receipt of my first Kindle that made me begin to explore digital publishing and to ultimately start Divertir Publishing.
For the past two and a half months, a major software release by the company I work for has required me to live in a hotel and work some pretty long hours, which in turn has given me less time to focus on the publishing company. This has caused me to miss some deadlines, including getting out the September royalty statements. For this I do owe our authors an apology, because I should have been better about communicated why there was a delay. I’ve already decided one of my New Year’s resolutions will be to stay more in touch with our authors even when I’m busy and to blog regularly, and have tasked our senior editor to nag me about it if I don’t. I am also currently finishing up the royalty statements and will get them out this week.
It might surprise some of you to hear I have a “day job,” and that in fact Divertir Publishing is my second job. It shouldn’t – just as most authors do not make enough off book sales alone not to have a “day job,” the same is true for many small publishers. In fact, when you take royalty payments, printing costs, press fees, production costs, and the fact Divertir Publishing donates half the proceeds for two of our best selling books to charity, I actually make very little money as a publisher.
So why do I do it? There are two answers to that question. The first is that I do believe the digital revolution is changing the way we read and buy books, and that as the playing field becomes more level independent publishers will become more important. The second reason can best be summarized by a book we currently have under contract. It’s a collection of short stories on homelessness. Short story collection never sell well, which is why many publishers won’t consider them unless they are by well-known authors. But, quite frankly, these are stories that need to be told. This is one way small publishers can serve the greater good – by publishing stories that need to be told by authors whose work might not be considered “commercially viable” by larger publishers. In fact, we are currently contacting a women’s shelter to discuss donating half the proceeds from this short story collection to the shelter, so in the end publishing this book may also help those in need.
So why write this blog? The reason is that I know at least two of our authors are very angry that the September statements did not go out on schedule. While I will apologize for not communicating why I have been “missing in action” for the past two and a half months, I will not apologize for the reason. The money I make as a software engineer is the reason I can invest in Divertir Publishing. While there will be times that the “day job” leaves me very little time for other things, it is also what allows me to publish those stories that need to be told.