The Beauty of Diversity

One of the core beliefs behind our mission at KiCam Projects is that everyone has a great story to tell. (Our forthcoming book, (Extra)Ordinary: Inspirational Stories of Everyday People, is a testament to that!)

And when we say “everyone,” we truly mean “everyone.” As we round out plans for our first 18 months of publishing, we have authors and collaborators who are men and women; who range from grade-school age to the retirement years; who are white, black, and Latina; who are married and single; who live all across the United States, as well as in Canada; and who represent a variety of faith traditions and spiritual beliefs.

We write about this not to pat ourselves on the back, but because the diversity of our authors simply underscores that every single human being has something important to say. Each story is different, entirely unique, and worth sharing. A great story can be found in rural Ohio or in a large East Coast city. The trick is to look for it.

The news of late, both in the United States and around the world, has been terribly discouraging. That’s why we feel it’s more important than ever to celebrate stories of survival and recovery, to highlight strength, courage, and the will to overcome the seemingly insurmountable.

We believe that when you look for the positive in the world, you usually find it. And the best part is, you can find it in everyone, regardless of what he or she looks like or where he or she lives.

The beauty of diversity is that each of us is part of it. We’re each a thread in the timeless fabric of humanity; no one is exactly like any other individual.

Our differences, thankfully, are the very things that can unite us, and KiCam Projects is honored to play even a small part in bringing people together and honoring diversity.

5 Reasons Why Indies Rock

We know authors have a lot of choices when it comes to sharing their work—everything from hiring an agent and pursuing a large house, to hybrid publishing or self-publishing. Figuring out the best course can be confusing, and information can be difficult to come by.

Reaching out to a relatively small, independent publisher has its own list of advantages. And although what is right for one author might not meet the goals and needs of another, we think there’s a lot to like about working with an indie. Take a look:

1. Marketing and Publicity Support

One way a quality indie or hybrid publisher will distinguish itself is in its ability to market and promote a book. As one self-published author told us, “I thought writing the book would be the hard part. I was wrong.” Indeed, we’ve used the analogy before: Writing a book is like having a baby. Once the baby is born, the real work begins! With books, the biggest obstacles are found in attracting media attention and converting that coverage into sales. Though it’s certainly not impossible for a self-published author to do that, the road is easier when an author walks it with a publisher.

2. Smaller = Nimbler

Independent houses can respond to changes rapidly and follow trends easily. We’re not bound by layers of procedures and policies that dictate what we do and how we do it. KiCam, specifically, is a business founded on family that wants to tell personal stories. So we treat people as—wait for it!—people. Each project is unique, and so is its creator. We respect, treasure and honor that in the way we work with each author and each book.

3. We’re Open to Your Ideas

We know we don’t know everything. And although we bring decades of experience to the table, we choose to work with authors we know can teach us some things, whether it’s about publishing, publicity, marketing or life in general. We’re constantly learning, and we think that’s not only a good thing, but one of the best things about doing what we do.

4. We’re Non-traditional, by Design

Recently an author wrote to us with a submission she said she was sure many publishers wouldn’t consider. It was her memoir, as told in rhymed verse. The work was moving and meaningful, and it was exactly the kind of story we want to bring to life and help readers discover. Books might be black and white, but what connects with people’s hearts is almost never that simple or obvious.

5. We Take Risks

Frankly, once you’ve started a publishing company from scratch, all the risks that come after that pale by comparison! As one of our mentors once said, “If it doesn’t scare the heck out of you, it’s not worth doing.” So here we are.

If you’re an author looking for a home for your work, please visit our submissions page. We love to hear from writers who believe in our mission—to change the world, one great story at a time—and who have inspiring stories of survival and recovery to share.

Out of High School, Ready for the Future

Kilee at kindergarten graduation and on her last day of high school

Kilee at kindergarten graduation and on her last day of high school

I finally have graduated high school! The day I have looked forward to for many years is finally over, and I am not sure how to feel about it now that it has come and gone. Ever since I was a freshman seeing all the seniors and how much they looked forward to leaving high school for good, I have wanted the same thing. I have wanted to get out of this small town and move on to someplace bigger and better. I finally am at that point in my life, and I have no idea how I feel about it.

The graduation ceremony was great. All I could think about through the whole thing was, “Will I ever see these people again?” and, “Wow, I can’t believe I’m never coming back here.” Of course I know I will see the people who are my closest friends, but the ones I saw every day and just might not have been as close with, I know I probably won’t see again. I grew up with those people and was so used to seeing them and talking to them every day; now I have to get used to a whole new crowd. I was so comfortable with them. We made each other who we are today. They each helped me through the toughest time of my life, and for that I am forever grateful to them. It’s crazy to think I will never have to go back to school there. It’s one of the craziest feelings, but it’s also the best feeling ever. To know I have accomplished this is a great feeling.

13322043_10154258710948156_8154274529613544697_nEveryone always tells you when you’re young that you should never rush through life because it goes by so fast. No one ever listens when we hear those words; we normally do just the opposite. Now that I’m completely finished with high school, I’m starting to see where people are coming from when they say that. It doesn’t feel like very long ago that I was walking into my first day of high school. It’s crazy how fast time flew by, and in a way I wish it wouldn’t have.

My advice for anyone in high school would be this: Don’t rush through it. I know everyone says this, but it is so true. Senior year isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. It’s very stressful and comes with so much pressure. One day you’ll be a scared freshman, and the next you’ll be a stressed-out senior with what feels like a million decisions to make. High school might feel like the worst time of your life, but make the best out of it. You only get to go once in your life. Most importantly, have fun, try your best, and listen to people when they say to never rush through life.

I am so ready to start fresh in the fall, but I am also very nervous. I won’t have the same people around, or the same anything. I will have to get used to a whole new way of life, and I am so ready for it. I can’t wait to start at Xavier. It will be a completely new start, and I am so excited for it.

The Power of the Personal Touch

How often do you send an email or leave a voice mail and wonder if it’s been received or if it’s been lost in the vast blackness of the digital universe?

It seems that even with all the communication methods at our disposal, it can be harder than ever to get a response when we reach out to someone.

As an independent publisher, we find ourselves on both sides of that fence. Because we’re a small company, it often requires persistence to get through to distributors, media outlets, agents and other key industry members. So we chip away, making the right contacts and finding the best ways to break down the barriers between us and where we want to be.

On the flip side, we receive inquiries almost daily from ambitious writers who want to submit their work to us or learn more about who we are and what we do. We understand what it takes to reach out; there’s a vulnerability required to share one’s work and put hopes and dreams on the line.

That’s why we make a point of following up with every serious inquiry and letting people know their voices have been heard. It’s not an automated response. An actual human reads and writes all our emails!

It’s gratifying when people compliment us for responding quickly or, in some cases, for responding at all. It’s also a reminder of the power of the personal touch. Our robotic world has conditioned us to expect to be little more than a number, but we know we can do better. And we believe that anyone who makes the effort to reach out to us personally deserves the same consideration.

It takes a little extra time, sure. But no one ever said changing the world would be a quick, easy job!

Be the Badger

Photo credit: Tatterdemalion! via / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: Tatterdemalion! via / CC BY-NC-ND

A recent lunch with a friend and publishing colleague has surfaced a new mantra: “Be the badger.”

My friend, Ericka, has spent more than 20 years in publishing, working on projects of all shapes and sizes, including editing books for KiCam. She has an amazing way of putting things into perspective and bringing out the best in other people, both in their writing and in their daily lives.

I was telling Ericka about some of the challenges KiCam faces as a new, independent publisher, about some of the frustrating aspects of distribution and the difficulty in getting the heavy hitters to take you seriously (and take your calls).

Ericka quickly flipped the situation on its head, extolling KiCam’s mission, the uniqueness of our purpose and passion, and the flexibility of our mixed traditional/print-on-demand distribution method. She reminded me of all the reasons a writer would want to work with us (blog post on that coming soon!) and helped me see that being new and independent is actually a great thing during this era of publishing.

Everything is changing, so why shouldn’t we help drive that change? 

I felt re-energized and ready to take on the world! That’s when Ericka brought up the badger, the scrappy little animal that just doesn’t care. It works, it perseveres, it never gives up. It’s perfectly delighted to be a badger; it’s not trying to be, say, a rhinoceros. It does its thing, and it does it well. “Be small, but think and act big,” Ericka says.

And so I must issue my pre-emptive apology to every media member, book blurber, interviewer, reviewer and potential partner out there in the world: I’m going to call you. And email you. And probably call you and email you again. Because it’s my job to be the badger for the good of KiCam Projects and our family of authors and filmmakers.

To those of you reading this post, I encourage you to be badgers, as well. If you’re an author, keep going after us publishers until the right one hears your voice! If you’re a fellow publisher, keep fighting the good fight. If you’re a reader and book lover, keep carrying the flag for the little guys, even as you enjoy the great work coming out of the major houses.

Be the badger you were meant to be! And never stop thinking, and acting, big.

KiCam Welcomes New Author: Woz Flint

Woz FlintWe’re delighted to welcome the first of our 2017 authors to the KiCam Projects family.

Woz Flint will publish her memoir in August 2017, sharing her experience as a daughter whose mother was killed when Woz was only 5 years old. The killer has never been brought to justice.

Navigating life without a mother has been tricky for Woz, even more so now that she has become a mother herself. She feels as if she is walking blind in the most important role of her life.

As a survivor of childhood ovarian cancer, Woz wasn’t supposed to be able to have a child. Today, she treasures her young son, while longing for the mother who will never hear her grandson’s laughter.

Woz’s story is one of survival and recovery, of learning to be a mother and a woman in a world without the one role model every daughter yearns for.

Woz, an Ohio native who now lives in New Mexico, is an incredible woman with a story we’re honored to share.

You can get to know Woz on her blog, as well as on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Finding Beauty in the Struggle

We’re busy adding authors to our stable for 2017 releases—more on that exciting news later!—and in the process, we stumbled upon something pretty cool.

Our first book, “Beautiful Scars,” is at the printer, driving toward its May 17 release. And three of our potential 2017 manuscripts have working titles with the words “beautiful” or “beauty” in them. Working titles are just thatworks in progress that will evolve with timebut the coincidence certainly is meaningful.

There seems to be a universal desire, something innate in the human spirit, to find beauty. We’re hardwired to seek beauty in others, our surroundings, our circumstances and ourselves.

Each of the authors working with KiCam has endured something in his or her life, a tragedy or a challenge. All of them are survivors, and they’ve found real beauty in that survival.

The act of overcoming, of rising above, often brings out the genuine beauty in a person. Struggle strips away our outer appearance, our need to please and our concern for what others think. In its complexity, it simplifies life to the basics that really matter.

KiCam Projects’ mission is to bring to life true stories of survival and recovery that inform and inspire. We’re trying to change the world, one great story a time. Along the way, we hope we’ll also make the world a more beautiful place for our authors and our readers.

Are you interested in working with KiCam Projects? Learn more about our submissions process.