Small Press Week 2016

Small Press Week is an event conceived of and organised by Upper Rubber Boot Books to “talk about exciting new releases, classic back-catalog titles, and what makes small press publishing so fearless, intimate, creative, and heart-warming”. On this, day four of the event, we were challenged to think and blog about our future. Where do we see our press in one year? Five? Ten?

SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound) goal setting concept presented on blackboard with colorful crumpled sticky notes and white chalk handwritingSarena Ulibarri brushed up against my goal for P&K’s future in her #SPWzoom blog post yesterday. Sarena said, “One mistake small presses sometimes make is they forget to be small. When you have an operation run by only a few people, it can be easy to get overwhelmed.” Here at Pen and Kink we put out seven titles in our first nine months (while we were still trying to get our feet under ourselves and set up systems and processes). I think I can safely speak for both Elesha and myself when I say we are very proud of what we’ve done, but it’s been exhausting too. I have two primary goals for Pen and Kink:

  • To stay small.
    • I would actually like to decrease the number of titles we release in 2017 but we currently have four scheduled (Triskaidekaphilia books one and two, kINKED, and the first book in the Enchanted series). In addition to that I’d like to release at least a couple more Erotica Under Glass titles and I have this great idea for a Christmas 2017 book… As you might be able to guess at this point, the biggest obstacle to our staying small, is me. Because of that, we’re looking into potentially bringing on an intern to help us through the next few months. Ideally, though, as Elesha and I get bumps smoothed out and settle into our roles here, I’d like to end up releasing about six titles a year. One every two months. That’s just about the right amount to ensure every book is given the very best foundation from which to find an audience. That brings me to my second goal…
  • To increase our audience and, on a very related note, the size of our mailing list.
    • I want to shine as bright of a spotlight as I possibly can on every title that we publish. One of the ways we’ll be doing that is by developing a mailing list full of readers who like the sorts of stories we publish — it is win/win. We have a direct line to the people who like our work, and they have a direct line to us, will get behind-the-scenes peeks, advance copies and never have to worry about missing a release.In addition to the mailing list I will be using every tool at my disposal to support our authors and editors. To help them grow the audience for their P&K titles and their audience just in general. One of the best parts about being a small press is that we have a chance to really develop relationships with the people we work with, strong friendships in addition to business relationships, and working together to help one another succeed becomes not just a duty, but an honour. And a pleasure. I know that sounds rather twee and cliche, but it’s true nonetheless.

      For concrete goals in this category I would like to see our mailing list double in size next year and then double again by 2020. It’s difficult for me to set concrete goals for growing the audience outside of that, but we do set sales and review goals for each title as we release them — so far we’ve always hit them. I would like to see us challenging ourselves to do more with each subsequent title and still continue to successfully reach and surpass our goals.

~ Cori

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