I dabbled in facets of ePublishing years before owning my own press was an idea and have since found a sense of home and purpose. Creating and maintaining Dark Roast Press is much like some say about having children. The rewards outweigh anything negative, hell even some of the challenges can become rewards. Your skin needs to be thick, your outlook positive and your drive… well let’s liken the amount of ambition you need to a Porsche 911 Turbo. The days are long and often times they run together but there is never a dull moment, someone has always written something that keeps you going and thinking of the delicious possibilities.
I have a phenomenal staff. They understand me and I understand them but together we understand that this company can be bigger than all of us. We owe that to ourselves, but more importantly we owe it our authors. Dark Roast is a labor of love and while we are a few years in and it’s taken this long to get our stride, we are not slowing down. Of course there are the challenges, the ones that go beyond daily operations and behind the scenes chaos; they are in the public eye and how every release is perceived.
The biggest challenge and yet the greatest reward is the submission. If the author pours their heart and soul into a story, you can tell. If the author came up with an idea and just wrote whatever came to mind, you can tell. There is that moment, a few pages in to the submitted story, when you know if there is something special about the piece or if you should start writing the rejection letter. It’s harder when you get one that has a few promising points and you struggle to bridge the gaps. An author does not need to be a walking thesaurus or purposely poetic; the author needs to be realistic, creative and true themselves. At Dark Roast I am both judge and a part of the jury. I hate to reject a story; it’s the hardest part of being me. I want the Dark Roast name on a story that has the author’s heart and soul woven though every chapter. It sounds like a tall order; many have called me names for keeping my standard but these stories are out there… the company has close to 40 in publication right now.
Once you get that story, the rewards are boundless. There is the editing process. Helgaleena (my editor) helps the author polish the story to a shine. It is really a treat to see the story evolve from what it was to the brilliance it becomes. Once you get there, you get to make it pretty. Winnie (Juanita my cover artist) takes a few pictures and visually creates what the author imagines. I have often been blown away by her creative eye. At this point, once Heather (our formatting/typesetting guru) puts everything together, the book becomes a present to the world, the gift of escape wrapped in a gorgeous package. Once we get that present out there and Parker (our review coordinator) gets a book request or Jesse (our promotion assistant) gets a completed review, there is a sense of completion. The true reward is of seeing the project through and that project earning praise. Then there is the sale. It’s the icing on the cake; not because of the money involved but the confirmation that yeah…someone else gets it too.
Dark Roast Press is the best gift I ever gave myself (the company and I share birthdays). I have met and worked with great people from all over the world. I have read stories that are both stimulating and exciting. It makes the hours poured into expansion research and keeping up with industry changes worth wile. Every quarter when I pay out to the authors, I have to smile. Regardless of what their royalties are, Dark Roast Press released a quality story and someone else enjoyed it. That’s the real royalty, the greatest reward.
– Rhiannon Rhodes