As we celebrate the contribution of workers this Labor Day Weekend, I wanted to share another story of someone who made that career leap and became his own boss. I met Arthur Wooten on twitter (still yet to meet him face-to-face) – but I feel a kindred spirit with him as we both had earlier careers in theatre and ended up in the writing world. Check out his tale about publishing.
Back in 2005, at the age of 50, I shopped around my first novel, ON PICKING FRUIT. Without much interest, a friend suggested I publish it myself. I was hesitant at first but did some research and decided to jump in, head first. I chose a company called iUniverse.
I did all my own press and since it was a “gay” story, I sent a copy to the The Advocate magazine hoping they might review/interview me, and the book. They didn’t. In fact they tossed the book into their “dump pile.” Working on the same floor was a sister company – Alyson Books, the editor walked by and saw my book in the pile. Curious, he picked it up and asked, “Can I read this.” They said, “You can have it. It’s self-published.” And one week later I had a two-book deal with a traditional publisher. They republished ON PICKING FRUIT word for word as is, and the following year put out its sequel, FRUIT COCKTAIL. After time, the printings of both novels sold out and rights reverted back to me.
Earlier this year, I was in the process of writing my third novel, BIRTHDAY PIE, when I was approached by several small presses to take on all the projects but the advances were embarrassing low and the dramatic rights were ridiculously high. Then I got to thinking, I sold more books on my own then with Alyson, why not start my own publishing company? Hence, I created Galaxias Productions. I've republished my first two books in paperback and eBook formats and sales have never been hotter! And then I released my third.
Wooten went from being an actor to an author to a true entrepreneur by starting his company. He does his own writing, designing of interiors, works with artist Bud Santora on creating covers, handles press and everything associated with running a small press. While initially thinking he could never do it, there is much pride in the hard work of having all of his works under his own company umbrella.
If feels great to cut out the middleman and really start enjoying the rewards for all the hard work. Isn't it funny? Six years ago when I self-published it was frowned upon as a “vanity” production. Now, with the success of Galaxias and doing everything on my own, I’m considered this “pioneer” and applauded for it.
Advice for others: If there’s something you want in life, keep your eyes open. Listen carefully. An opportunity may be right in front of you and if you’re not aware of it, it will escape you. It could be seizing the right moment, noticing a great connection, thinking outside of the box. And in order to be struck by lightning (in a good way) you have to stand out in the rain. But you have to be willing to stand out in the rain longer than anyone else. I've been poured on. But I wouldn't have it any other way.
Wooten’s company continues to expand as he has a 9 book series of a children’s book (illustrated by Santora) coming out this fall as well as starting his fourth novel, Leftovers.