By Abbe Rolnick —
I once aspired to be a comedian and my parents told me to be a good one. They told me to take my funny self seriously or no one else would. When I decided to publish my first book, River of Angels, I did so not because of the multitude of great pitches and ultimate rejections from agents, but because I took myself seriously as it seemed no one else would. Having been a bookstore owner, long ago in Puerto Rico, a staff member of Bellingham’s finest bookstore, Village Books, then raising a family, and working as a CEO of a manufacturing firm, I embarked on understanding the changing nature of the book industry.
A radical traditionalist, I gravitated to the business of publishing not only as an author but as one who had been a seller and one who understood the value of services and serving. I created my own publishing house, Sedro Publishing, and went the road of all businesses, registering with the state, paying taxes, creating a business plan with a financial and marketing package that said this is for real. I learned by joining the IBPA, the infrastructure of how to reach the reader through distribution, marketing and most important to connect with a network of professionals. By the time my second book, Color of Lies, came out this past June, I felt prepared, ready to launch.
My membership fee to join the IBPA, more than paid for itself with discounts from Lightning Source (my POD printer), and gave me entrance into the distributing world of Ingram and Baker & Taylor. As an Indie publisher, I took advantage of IBPA discounts for the Publisher’s Weekly Indie Supplement. Still independent and serious, I didn’t want to just publish an e-book. I wanted the old format of holding a book but still wanting to embrace the new technologies. I’ve been told many times that my tendencies are retro. The IBPA, with its wealth of professional and accumulated experience, fortified my resolve. Self-publishing is a solitary endeavor but by following the IBPA manual, the independent author enters all worlds of publishing.
With guidance from the IBPA on the business end of writing, I have created many successes. Like all authors, I attend writing workshops and meet with critic groups. I have also hired an editor and graphic designer to bolster my work and I joined the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association. The PNBA provides a direct path to the bookstores.
Focused and determined to see myself as not only an author but an Independent Publisher, I pursued marketing, not just for my novels, but of my ability to connect with booksellers and readers. I recently returned from the PNBA Trade Show where I felt honored to be one of the selected authors, signing books.
I measure my success by how I connect with booksellers and of course to readers. As an Indie working with the IBPA, I show the bookstores that I am working for them.
Serious, focused and still laughing, my husband tips his cigar and talks about my characters in my next novel. At the end of the day he quips, “Night Gracie,” and I respond, “Night George.”
About the Author: Abbe Rolnick lives with her husband Jim Wiggins on 20 acres in Sedro-Woolley, Washington, near the gateway to a Pacific Northwest mountain wilderness. A mother of three grown adults, she is the owner of a healthy-food restaurant, a former CEO of a large manufacturing firm, and is presently consulting and writing in her spare time.
In a former life, Abbe was the owner of a bookstore and hobby shop in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, where she lived for seven years. She had the honor of being the first staff member of Village Books in Bellingham, Washington.