I’m writing from a rooftop in Austin, taking a break from my break — which was part Naomi Klein and part Real Ale — to share a reflection that just sunk in: I’m about to publish my first book, and I couldn’t be more excited.
Now, to be clear: this isn’t me publishing the first book I wrote (that happened a couple years ago, and still hasn’t sunk in); this is me, under the auspices of Impetus Books, publishing my first book someone else wrote (in this case, I’m glowingly happy to say that someone else is Karen Rayne).
It was about 18 months ago that Impetus Books became more than an idea. I’d recently published A Guide to Gender, but I wanted the learning from that experience — the battling with publishers to find a socially just foothold, the conversations with my would-be readership about what mattered to them, and the soul-searching required by taking a manuscript that may otherwise be a forever-secret and sharing it with the world, forever… all of that and more — to be born into something greater.
Thus, in a Convenience Mart Turned Live Music Indian Food Joint not more than a few miles from where I sit currently, Impetus Books was born. The statement of purpose was to create books that mattered, and to make them accessible to the folks who needed them.
But truly, Impetus Books becomes more than an idea tomorrow, when we launch the preorder for Breaking the Hush Factor (the first non-me-written Impetus Book).
I wanted to create a publishing house that cared more about the effect of the words than anything else. I wanted to create a publishing house that understood that access is tantamount to power. That creating unnecessary barriers (like money) between people and powerful ideas depletes the power of the ideas. Thankfully, this spirit lives on in every facet with this book (e.g., it will change lives for the better, it will be available electronically for free, and the author and publisher are completely agreed on the primary goal of creating it: to share the power of the lessons within).
Like I said earlier, I didn’t reflect on what this means to me until just earlier tonight. It hit me when I was thinking about the 100+ hours I’ve spent working with Karen on this book. I was thinking about the 100+ hours I spent reviewing manuscripts that I eventually turned down over the past year and a half before this book, something I was adamantly averse to in principal. I was thinking about the 100+ hours I spent creating my first book, negotiating it with other publishers, and learning about the industry, before ever thinking I could ever do something like… this.
But it’s not about the quantity: it’s about the quality. Karen’s book — this book I’ve had the honor to be a part of — has the power to transform folks’ lives for the better. Indeed, it already has done so for my own life, and every other proof-reader/guinea pig who has read it and shared remarks for me (e.g., our Foreword Author, Heather Corinna), has said the same thing. I can’t overstate this: The book is fucking great.
And that’s how it hit me, the Mousetrap-like chain of seemingly-unrelated events that all converge on this one perfect moment, starting tomorrow at 6am, when I get to be part of something truly beautiful.
Buy Karen’s book. Buy it to support the work I do. Buy it to support the creative commons and the free sharing of powerful ideas. Buy it because she’s a compassionate, wonderful human who is sharing her secrets with you so you can be a more compassionate, more wonderful human. Or, and I vote for this one above all, buy it because it’s great.