Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Eugene Havens, Founder of The Writing Thing Press, located in Klamath Falls, OR, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We're an independent literary press catering to readers who seek out unapproved voices. While we appreciate the production value in corporate publishing, we were disheartened to see the criteria for publication become motivated by politics. We grew up reading classic novels that valued human truths over collectivism. As we became writers, we gravitated to this style. We decided to start a literary press that carried on a tradition of writing about a human experience that defies categorization.
Tell us about yourself
I'm a writer, first and foremost. Starting a business was a necessity to showcase my own writing. I had resisted independent publishing and was admittedly a snob in favor of New York publishing. I lived in New York City for many years and have an MFA from The New School. However, I saw a younger generation freely publishing without worrying whether New York publishing approved of them. Writing without censorship or even a gatekeeper sitting on your shoulder is the essence of "the writing thing." It's how we came upon our name. I'm motivated to carry on the craft of writing in a corporatized and homogenized culture where money is the prime motivator for many. My experience in both the media and publishing worlds has aided me in helping other indie writers.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
When someone looks at our book closely, flips it over, studies the copyright page, and then asks, "Who published this?" It shows our production value is commensurate with New York, and readers can focus on the writing.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
We're a low-volume business writing in genres that are time-tested but not top-of-mind today. It takes internal motivation to continue working toward the goal of a broader readership. It takes looking at the bigger picture. Overnight sensations are often the result of years of hard work.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Decide the reason for the business. Not every business is designed to make a person rich.
- Drill down to the core values of your business. They will guide your definition of success.
- If and when your business struggles, refer to the prior two points. They will inform you as to whether fundamental changes are needed or if you are on the right track and just not there yet.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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