PDandelion, oh dandelion,
You are the spring’s bright bloom
You are lovely and fluffy
But a cow will eat you up
As quietly as you were born,
So quietly will you go to your grave.

Of course, it looses something in the Russian to English translation, but essentially, this is my first magnum opus, written at a ripe old age of three, finally seeing the light of day. You could say, I have now published it :)

Which I suppose is fitting - for both what I do in the general run of things and the purposes of meeting today’s A-Z challenge. Letter P.

I should note Eugene and I had not originally set out to do any such thing - publishing, that is. Coming into this as a programmer with a background in foreign currency trading (Eugene) and an entertainment industry marketing professional with aspirations of authorly fame (me), we have first ventured into this arena with our joint upper MG novel, the Gatecrashers, and its spunky teenage universe-hopping heroine. Now, before we have ever set out to find ourselves an agent, we have undertaken a massive crash course via Google on just what it takes these days to sell oneself successfully to both the gatekeepers of the hallowed halls of the then-Big 6 as well as to the general readers.

And what we have found is - this is the age of self-marketing, and social media is an unprecedented (and unprecedentedly affordable) king.

Which happened to mean the beginning of our joint blog, Curiosity Quills (nearly named Curiosity Kills - and only changed to something a little less bloodthirsty at the last possible moment; who says one can only see the error of one’s ways after the fact?). Soon, CQ turned itself into a bit of a portal, where innovative authors such as Lizzy Ford, educators like DIYMFA’s Gabriela Pereiera, and industry big names such as Jane Friedman and Nathan Bransford were given a progressively taller soapbox, from which to share their opinions and experiences with other writers and readers.

As a pleasant, albeit not very long-lasting, side-effect, that also meant we now had time to put final polish on Gatecrashers before finally deciding whether we wanted to go the traditional publishing route or self-pub it, as an increasing number of authors were trying at the time.

But why not very long-lasting, you ask? Why, because we are gluttons for punishment - and because of Eugene’s mile-wide entrepreneurial streak that went and infected me too :) That, and author Michael Shean’s talent that immediately made fans of us both.

In October 2011, we have signed our very first author, Michael Shean, and opened the fledgling Curiosity Quills Press’ doors to submissions, promptly adding Rod Kierkegaard, Jr., Matthew Graybosh, and Vicki Keire to our little catalog. All of them are still with us, and we haven’t looked back since.

While incredibly rewarding, our journey as publishers has been incredibly nerve-wrecking, as well, and fraught with as many ups and downs as that of any individual author’s - or, in a way, more so. Because all our authors successes and failures are our own, and we feel that’s one of the things that stands us apart from the somewhat impersonal nature of how now Big-5 run their business.

Yet having witnessed the challenges and changes that the last three-plus years have wrought in our professional world, we feel that our approach of personalized marketing, our consistent innovation in the areas of marketing and production (hello, PaperBrain TM and Novelful TM), is what is going to continue keeping our heads above water, our names on authors’ and readers’ minds — and our own writing firmly on the shelf.

Time, even for us, especially for us, is not elastic. And that’s OK, because with the authors we are consistently retaining and acquiring for our catalog, we know that if not our own novels, at least CQ authors’ books will find their way onto Kindles, iPhones, and bookshelves of more and more fiction lovers everywhere!

And for now… well, at least my little tragic Dandelion has finally found its audience. Who knows what that bodes for Gatecrashers…