Martin Sisters Publishing Company, Inc. a traditional, royalty paying, no-fees-of-any-kind, publisher, began operations in 2010. We started small with one book, then two, and so on. The company now lists over 100 titles in print and e-book and boasts a place in the Top 50 Indie Publishers listing in the annual Writer’s Digest Magazine. Authors do not pay anything at our company -- we make money when authors sell books, as it should be.
MSP now has three authors who began their writing careers with MSP and have literary agents. One is now writing for Penguin Random House, and another is writing for Penguin Berkley. I suspect that the third will join those ranks shortly now that she is agented.
The literary world is changing – the days of winning the literary lottery have long since passed. However, one thing that hasn’t changed is quality storytelling that can soften hearts and strengthen minds. That’s why MSP is here – to help you tell your story, find a home for your work, so you can move on to the next creative endeavor.
MSP is small but mighty, with more than 25 talented editors working all over the country and a half a dozen creative cover artists and now, small group of illustrators.
Before I can even begin to talk about why I created a publishing company, I owe a responsibility to speak a bit about my life as a young writer growing up in the heart of Appalachia – more specifically, Knox County, Kentucky.
Most who grow up in the mountains have a natural storytelling ability -- it's a cultural thing. Anyone who says it isn’t, is sorely misinformed or just plain unwilling to listen. Like so many others before me, I was unaware that my art of yarning a tale was anything unique. Assuming that writing good stories was akin to learning to tie shoes or ride a bike, I thought everyone could do exactly what I was doing – and in my defense, I had heard stories all my life – amazing stories about ordinary and extraordinary happenings. Most of us didn’t write them down – didn’t need to – these tales were mostly so good that the listener wasn’t likely to forget -- storytelling was something we all did.
It wasn’t until my first year of undergrad that a college professor pulled me aside after class to talk to me about a story I had written about an old pair of tennis shoes that I had stolen from the girls' locker room in junior high. She wanted me to submit my essay to a regional writing contest named for William Faulkner. I thought she was just trying to build my confidence – she must be pulling other students aside, right? She asked me to type it up, using my best grammar and punctuation and bring it back to her. I didn’t take her seriously, so I didn’t type the paper. I had other things to do. She typed it for me and submitted it on my behalf. It was about a month later that my professor asked me to drive down to this awards ceremony. I had no time for that – I had a job, I was busy, I had obligations. She brought my award to class the next day. I was stunned and then scared … so scared – I had written my truth and people somewhere had read it and would still be reading it … it was going to be published. It was then that I started to listen as my professor began to talk to me about a career as a serious writer.
As someone who now teaches college students, I cannot ignore how amazing this professor was and the impact she had on my life and so many others. She is also a role model for how I teach my own classes. We are still in touch, of course.
I learned quickly that artists are “starving” for good reason, so I became a journalist instead.
For years I wallowed in disbelief of what my professor had told me -- my words, my truth had power. How could they? Real writers, you know – the ones who make you think, feel, and ponder -- live in New York City, not little knock about towns like mine.
One and a half decades would pass before I gained the confidence to tell another story in my own words and finish my first novel, a second came a year later and then a third two years after. After my first book sold 5,000 copies, I began receiving requests to read dozens of manuscripts and listening to even more story pitches. Would-be authors wanted my opinion of their work and wondered why they couldn't gain the attention of a publisher. I gave these folks so much of my time and attention so freely that it turned into a company.
As Martin Sisters Publishing passed its 10th anniversary on October 1, 2020, I was amazed at how quickly we had grown, how much we learned, and the amount of amazingly talented writers we met and contracted. Since then, we've added two new imprints --- Martin & Miller Publishing, our non-fiction imprint, and Just Us Books, our advocacy, diversity, and equity imprint.
Keep writing and reading. Thank you for dropping by.