Gitty Up Press is intended to “grow writers” through a commitment to quality independent publishing. As lead buckaroo to a community of rough writing literary artists, I want to provide opportunities to practice publishing. Now, some might cock an eyebrow at such a word — practice. But I hold firm to the idea that writers need safe spaces to learn the rope tricks involved in indie publishing. Many are fine with the learn-as-you-go method but often feel disappointed with the results.
With Gitty Up Press, we have an opportunity to bring our collective writing to book readers while reducing the risks that come with learn-as-you-go. We have a handle on content editing, book design and editing, cover creation, KDP publishing, and print publishing. It allows us to create a quality product and further learn how to rodeo within the greater industry.
As a literary community, one of the barriers we all face during our writers’ lives is that of publication. What are the barriers to accessibility?
- Lack of knowledge about the publishing industry
- Lack of understanding the implications and responsibilities of an author
- Lack of resources, skill-sets, affordable education required for different publishing paths
- Lack of professional networking and support for references and growth
- Lack of a publishing team (various editors, designers, marketers, and distribution)
At various points in my career, I’ve experienced both lack and breakthroughs. If a writing life teaches us anything, it is to patiently and progressively grow. There is no shame in “not knowing;” there is actual joy in learning. Because I know I’m not alone in facing barriers to publication, I’ve mapped out a pick-your-own-path to publication. It’s based on the publishing eco-system I learned when I pursued my MFA in creative writing.
Pick Your Own Unicorn Ride to Publication
<infographic coming in June>
What Kind of Unicorn is Gitty Up Press?
The short answer: a micro-press intended to benefit the Carrot Ranch Literary Community, Word Craft Poetry, and the greater blogging communities and writing challenges we intersect. We are very micro. An itsy-bitty, hand-held unicorn. Through our endeavors, we seek to grow a hoofprint for the writers we publish. It’s a feather in a writer’s cowpoke hat to include Gitty Up Press in a portfolio. Quality publication, no matter how small, lends credibility to an author’s platform. Alternatively, we publish a literary journal and an anthology based on, but not limited to, 99 words and syllables.
Publishing Schedule for Gitty Up Press
2023: Around the Campfire Literary Journal (call for submissions May 1-31, 2023)
2024: Vol. 2 Carrot Ranch Anthology (invitations go out in October of 2023)
2025: Around the Campfire Literary Journal (call for submissions May 1-31, 2025)
2026: Vol. 3 Carrot Ranch Anthology (invitations go out in October of 2023
How Does Gitty Up Press Define Quality?
Gitty Up Press is a current member of the Independent Book Publishers Association. IBPA exists to uphold professionalism and excellence among independent book publishers and as a member, Gitty Up Press has pledged to follow the IBPA Code of Ethics:
- To uphold the highest standards of our industry, to create works of lasting financial and/or cultural value, and to pursue editorial, design, and production excellence.
- To respect the rights of authors and other creators and stakeholders, to observe all copyright laws and conventions, and to never knowingly publish plagiarized work.
- To reward authors and contributors for their work, to be honest in our financial dealings, to write contracts in understandable language, to resolve all disputes promptly and fairly, and to foster equal opportunity in our workplaces.
- To not mislead readers or buyers with false promises, inflated sales data, or manipulated reviews.
- To not publish works of hate speech, or works that encourage discrimination, oppression, or violence.
- To recycle and reuse and to follow green practices whenever possible.
Honest Financial Dealings
Gitty Up Press pledges to be fair to all involved in the creation of a book bearing our unicorn(s). We strive to be sustainable. That means we pay ourselves first. A publisher cannot be sustainable doing work for free. Colleen Chesebro of Word Craft Poetry and I share the workload according to our skill sets. Together, we’ve invested in multiple software programs to produce books of the highest standards. We may pay or accept collaborators who assist with administration, editing, proofing, promotions, and design. The rest is sweat equity. We agree to the cost upfront and strive to produce books that cover the investments of time and money. That’s sustainable.
To be profitable, we will share the earnings of a book with the contributors. Before a writer accepts a contract from us to be included in our publications, we will be transparent about the upfront costs before profit-sharing happens. It’s possible that we don’t make a sustainable margin from sales. That’s the risk of publishing. Contributors will know the risks up front–there’s no guarantee we make bank. Or budget.
It’s why we “practice” publishing — to improve our knowledge of the industry and how to increase sales next go. For some writers, a lack of profit may come as a shock. That’s why you learn with us before you venture on your own not understanding these risks. I can’t tell you how many writers still reach out to me to help them with their manuscripts who unwittingly believe book publishing is profitable. Books are not how most writers earn income. And scammers exist because they take advantage of writerly innocence.
DIY Profits for Entrepreneurial Contributors
That said regarding risks and transparency in our financial dealings, an individual contributor can build their credibility and profitability with the right strategies. As a contributor to any Gitty Up Press publication, you will receive a free course on How to Profit from Your Book. Have no doubt, as a contributor, it is your book, too. You will receive the same wholesale price Gitty Up Press receives. We will not charge you extra to purchase your own copies for sale. The course will help you plan for how many books to purchase and what to do with them as an authorpreneur. Again, it will be excellent training for selling your future books (or new ideas for re-marketing previous books).
Does Gitty Up Press Accept Unsolicited Manuscripts?
No, our itsy-bitty unicorn can’t handle the load…yet. Give us a few successful years to figure out a few things, like how to best overcome barriers to publication, distribution, marketing, and profit. At this time, we do not have the infrastructure for marketing and distribution beyond our commitment to our two alternate publications.
However, I’m also launching an online writing school and will eventually put out a call for educational shorts (35,000 words) on various writing topics. These books are expected to be at the collegiate level, thus your expertise must be equivalent. I’m a believer in experience and lifelong learners. Watch for any calls for manuscripts (this is what we call “solicited” manuscripts).
A Word of Caution from the Unicorn
Not-so-fantastical publishers prey on unsuspecting, emerging, and uneducated writers. Beware of any publisher who asks for money to publish your manuscript. Carefully research publishing houses and presses, particularly any reviews by their published authors. Go to WRITER BEWARE, created and maintained by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association (they collate a list that includes all genres, not just SFF).
That’s Not All
If you have a burning desire to improve your writing and narrow the gap between where you are and where you want to be as a writer or author, consider taking courses at through the Carrot Ranch Writing School. There’s everything from affordable lessons to download to 9-week courses. Knowledge is set at the college level. It’s a way to learn and grow without having to pay tens of thousands of dollars for an MFA. Some courses are exploratory and intended to grow your satisfaction in leading a writer’s life. Some are rigorous and provide direct feedback. More information coming (yes, in June).
If you need help publishing a book, I highly recommend Colleen Chesebro’s Unicorn Cats Publishing Services.
If you are a military veteran (I’m a military veteran spouse), or a member of the Carrot Ranch Literary Community, and you want advice on how to get published, shoot me an email.