Jason Interviewed by Voyage Dallas Magazine!
Hi everyone! I was very please to be asked to interview with Voyage Dallas Magazine about Faerie Treehouse Creative and Press. The best thing about the interview process (other than the "press" for the press) was that it made me think about what I really want to be doing at this stage in my life. I have included and excerpt below. The full article is HERE.
Q: Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
CJS: I grew up in a newspaper family. My father, George, was an editor and then publisher for small newspapers throughout the South: Texarkana, Hope Arkansas, Selma Alabama, Marshall Texas: we moved around a lot. One of my earliest memories is of sitting on my father’s lap in the evenings as he marked up the mistakes in the evening paper with a red felt tip pen. He would also read aloud to me whatever he was reading. History, spy novels, Stephen King, science fiction–none of it was kid’s stuff. I mostly skipped over children’s and adolescent books altogether until I was an adult and training to be a teacher.
My mother, Janet, worked in the different newspapers with my dad in layout and design and I spent most afternoons in the layout department watching her work to put the pages together back when it was a cut-and-paste job with scissors and glue. When I was old enough, about thirteen, I took on a paper route and then also worked in the darkroom early mornings, developing film and making contact sheets. I was around words and images all the time.
Both my parents were avid readers: our house was filled with books of all kinds and my sister, Mattie, and I grew up reading books intended for an adult audience at a very young age.
Transitioning from a position as a tenured Full Professor of English at the City University of New York to being a full-time freelance writer and editor has been challenging. I have been freelancing since I was a kid for newspapers and magazines and continued throughout college and my teaching career, but I never had to depend on the money as my primary source of income, so I could pick and choose what I wrote about and when. I wrote about things that interested me. Travel writing is fun, but I also enjoy writing about science and technology. Now, I have to learn about a lot of different subjects and change my writing style to fit into different venues. It is fun and interesting but it can be very stressful, working with a whole list of deadlines.
With the press, I have to shift gears often: several of our authors write fantasy, another writes flash fiction and poetry, yet another writes historical fiction and books for children. It takes a lot of concentration to move from one genre to another, often on the same day.
Running an independent press means you are in charge of everything from the concept and proposals to editing, then layout and design, then marketing and budgeting. I love working with our cover artists and designers and all of our books have a unique look.
The business end of the press has been the toughest for me as I had no background in business at all. We are not a “vanity” press, so there is no income up front. The authors pay us nothing and we take commission directly from sales, which means a significant wait time before we even begin to break even. How long that wait time can be was a big surprise: even with an eBook, which has little overhead other than time and cover design, a title may not turn a profit for months, some not for a year or more.