House of Honor Books is about to start its third year in business. We have not blown away the Big Five publishing houses in New York City or even the lower half of small presses. We are definitely in the top 10 publishers in Harvest, Alabama. The sad fact is most businesses fail in the first few years. Not only are we still business, but we are also in the black. That’s a big deal to us.
When you are looking for that first professional recognition for your work—that’s a big deal too. It means a lot to us as well as the authors. At House of Honor Books, we want our authors to outgrow our small enterprise and become an even bigger deal. It’s all about giving a helping hand to each other.
Our goal at House of Honor Books is not just to publish new authors, but to grow authors. Of course, growing is painful. I doubt our authors expected to be told to learn to punctuate dialog, to stick to a point of view or verb tense, to worry over fragments and run-on sentences, or to stay out of their stories by showing rather than telling. They probably wouldn’t have heard these things elsewhere. Nevertheless, they persevered and a dozen new books this year is the result. A dozen more are already waiting for 2023.
I wanted to be an author when I grew up. I had only gotten to the author part when I was dragged into the publishing business. Dragging them kicking and screaming is the best way you get old men do new things. I’m not complaining there’s something to be said for growing old. Bob Dylan’s song My Back Pages is my old man anthem.
Unexpected joys are the most beautiful flowers in the garden of happiness. Publishing at House of Honor Books has exceeded my expectations as an author and a publisher. The greatest, and best, of these pleasant surprises are the readers, and writers I’ve come to know.
Although I’ve quit at least twenty times this year, I know I would feel lost without all the editing, proofreading, formatting, cover designs, auditioning narrators, tax prep, and advertising—not that I do all of that. If that were the case, all would truly be lost.
The new year has only been here only a few days. Reflection is nice, but projection is better. The outlook is bright. Authors are coming back for seconds. New authors are on board. We have eight books currently in the being edited column of our board. Looking at that bottom line, sales are up, and pages reads are doing well. Authors are making appearances and books are finding their way to shelves in local bookstores. The march into the future is inevitable, the challenge is to make it the best future we possibly can.