Wicks That Whisper: Burning Your Wick At Both Ends

Week 9

Image from the film Bees Saal Baad

Another week with much accomplished. But before getting into our routine and how our print runs are coming along, we’d like to discuss what it is like to be a start-up chapbook press and an important lesson our team has learned. We have discussed before how in the beginning our team was moving faster than needed, but what you may not realize is that this applies to anyone who has begun working for themselves. Many may feel as though they need to race to the finish line in order to match the same level as other businesses in their industry. What we all need to remember is that every industry has companies at different stages in their development and there isn’t a need to rush into the frenzy. Take your time and slow things down to a manageable pace. Most of all, do not burn yourself out. A few of use at Whispering Wick have gone and burnt the candle at both ends and we empathize with those who have also done it. When you take your time working you feel a greater sense of achievement as the quality of your work seems to be enhanced as you have the significant amount of time necessary to work on a given task. So, take that time because even if the task could have been done in three days, the extra two days you get form doing it in five could make you feel more confident and sure of the work accomplished. You’ll also be ready for the coming week as you didn’t over do it the week before. Our team is much happier and satisfied now that we have implemented this slower pace. It wasn’t easy at first though, some of us struggled with slowing down as it was much different than our norm. We’ve eventually reached a stage of progression where we feel more confident in our work and are happier for it.

Their will always be uncertainty in the future with a business such as publishing as we are still figuring things out with the skills and resources we currently have and are trying to expand on. You really have to be crazy and in love with publishing to get into it in the first place though. It’s filled with so many passionate people who are amazing for the art they create but at the end of the day it is a tough business to be in. Through the Sheridan Creative Writing & Publishing program all our team members were drilled with this in formation. One could say it was the program’s way of ‘weeding’ the first years like many other programs do. At Whispering Wick, we have all been tested on this resolve and even more so with each passing week as we work on the press. But we are confident that the love our team members have for this industry is exactly what it takes to make it through this whole process and pull it off. Although we are still growing, the foundation we have laid is strong. There is a saying our manager’s father always says that we think applies to publishing if you change it to the right context:

“Don’t be an ornithologist unless you can’t stand to be anything else. Then I guess it’s okay to be an ornithologist.”

As for the print runs, we have made remarkable strides. Rami’s manuscript is days away from being released for pre-orders and some large steps have been taken with the edits for Jack’s manuscript. Although we are hoping to release Jack’s manuscript at the same time as Rami’s, we don’t want to rush the process just for the sake of meeting a deadline, as such, we’re taking the time we need with the edits and will have to book up for sale the second it is ready. Here are some words from Nathaniel regarding the edits on Jack’s manuscript:

“Although I’ve worked with Jack in the past, being their editor on a piece that is going to be published has been a completely different experience. As they have experience with my style of edits, I realized I had permitted myself in ways that I should not have. I’m a very open editor so when Jack brought this to my attention, I was more than willing to change. Something I’m grateful they felt comfortable doing and which I hope all my authors feel comfortable doing. What I’m talking about is when I make edits that may change a character or story drastically, I always tell my authors to change what I’ve written so that it is in their words and voice and not mine, that what I’ve written is simply an example of the direction I think they should take. With Jack, however, I had not stated this and simply expected them to know to do it as it is always how I work. This in a way overwhelmed them to a point where the author-editor relationship we had built over the years was no longer where it needed to be.

There was also a conflict of friendship. Jack and I are friends outside of our publishing relationship and they were worried about upsetting me with some of their responses to my edits. In the end we had a discussion where I explained that in this moment, they cannot act as my friend and worry about my feelings but instead need to act as an author and treat me as their editor. And if that means fighting me on an edit than that is what they need to do. Regardless of if my feelings are hurt as an editor should not matter to my authors. The manuscript in the end is the authors, not mine. I am providing advise and an author has a right to reject said advise. This doesn’t mean that I won’t push for something if I think it absolutely necessary to a piece, but authors should feel comfortable rejecting edits when they see fit. One thing that is amazing about chapbooks and Canadian publishing is that it’s made up of friends publishing their work and supporting the community. It can be tricky but it is what this community is about. Which gives it that extra spark that pays off in the end for the reader’s enjoyment.”

As for new material Whispering Wick has provided this last week, please check out Faizal’s latest review on Bap Riot’s latest publication here.

And now our daily dad joke:

R.I.P boiled water. You will be mist.
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