Billiards ball

5 Reasons Why Indies Rock

freedigitalphotos.net/tigger11th

freedigitalphotos.net/tigger11th

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.

Helping hand

The Power of the Personal Touch

FreeDigitalPhotos.net/worradmu

FreeDigitalPhotos.net/worradmu

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 Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: Tatterdemalion! via Foter.com / 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.

Ocean sunset

Finding Beauty in the Struggle

FreeDigitalPhotos.net/radnatt

FreeDigitalPhotos.net/radnatt

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.

12 Weeks and Counting

Beautiful Scars PressKit

Editing our Beautiful Scars Press Kit

It’s been said that publishing a book is a bit like having a baby, which means we’ve entered our final trimester and are starting to wonder if we’ll ever be able to see our feet again.

Our first book, “Beautiful Scars,” will be released May 17only 12 short weeks from yesterday. This week, we’re uploading files for review copies, which will be sent to media outlets far and wide to generate reviews, articles and interviews. We’re working with a fantastic publicity firm, PR By the Book, that will help us gain the exposure we need to make “Beautiful Scars” a nationwide success and share Kilee and Lori’s story with the widest possible audience.

We’re also working with Shriners Hospitals for Children to schedule book signings at the burn-care units in Cincinnati; Boston; Galveston, Texas; and Sacramento, Calif. We’ll announce dates when they are final—it’s going to be a fantastic summer!

(There will be at least 2-3 more Cincinnati-area signings, as well.)

In addition to “Beautiful Scars,” the small but mighty KiCam team is working on launching the Kilee Gives Back Foundation, refreshing KiCam’s logo and branding, and acquiring books for fall 2016 and spring 2017 release. We’ve received some outstanding submissions, and we’re actively in pursuit of more stories of survival and recovery that will inform and inspire audiences around the country and throughout the world.

Oh, and did we mention that our first documentary film is in progress?

There’s a lot going on at KiCam! (And if you know Lori, you know she wouldn’t have it any other way.) We appreciate your support and encourage you to send us your great story ideas.

Stay tuned to our blog and social channels for official event and appearance announcements coming soon!

At KiCam, We’re on a Mission

LogoPublishing is a tough game to be in.

Even as it’s gotten easier to self-publish work, thanks to options such as Amazon CreateSpace and IngramSpark, getting that work promoted, sold and distributed is still a time-consuming, labor-intensive, potentially expensive prospect.

The industry is built with a high barrier to entry that can discourage small presses and independent booksellers alike.

It’s a challenging environment, and at KiCam Projects, we’re ready to tackle that challenge and try to change the game, providing our collaborators with a mission-based partner for creating books, films and music. We believe strongly in the power of great stories to inspire and inform and, as a result, help people heal from illness, addiction, depression and personal tragedies. We’re going to bring such stories to light, calling on our collective backgrounds in publishing, journalism, marketing, business operations and addiction recovery. And proceeds from our projects will benefit the nonprofit organizations selected by our collaborators.

Our first book, “Beautiful Scars,” will be published in May 2016, and we’re in the process of acquiring and planning for 2017 and beyond. It’s an exciting time, and every time we unravel a newfound complexity, we’re reminded of the mantra our founder, Lori Highlander, relied upon while her daughter, Kilee, was recovering from severe burns: “It’s only temporary.”

Yes, we face some obstacles, and yes, we know it won’t be easy. But KiCam Projects was created because of a true belief that sharing powerful stories can change the world. We know we’ll get through the rough patches to be successful and make a difference for our partners, our audience and charitable organizations around the world.

The rough patches will only be temporary. We’re building KiCam Projects to leave a legacy that lasts.

Would you like to work with KiCam Projects? Learn more.

light bulb

Call for Submissions: Who Inspires You?

patpitchaya/freedigitalphotos.net

patpitchaya/freedigitalphotos.net

Who inspires you?

At KiCam Projects, we find inspiration all around us: in the people we know and love and in people we’ve never met and can only admire from afar.

We believe that everyone has the power to change the world in ways both large and small, and we’re grateful for the people in our lives—friends, family members, co-workers—who remind us each day how impactful a single person can be.

We look up to world-renowned names such as Oprah, Malala Yousafzai, Jimmy Carter and Jim Foley. And we’re moved by local stories of people like Lauren Hill and Sam Boling rising above their circumstances to better the lives of others.

Those are the kinds of stories KiCam wants to tell, through books, films and music. Do you have an inspirational story? Do you know someone else who does but hasn’t been able to navigate the world of publishing to get that story out?

Then please connect with us through our Submissions link. We’re looking for true stories of growth and recovery from illness, addiction, tragedy or other challenges that will inspire and empower audiences.

We ask that you submit a cover letter, one-paragraph summary, brief bio, project synopsis and table of contents by March 2016 to be considered for 2017 projects.

We’re hard at work identifying and reaching out to people and organizations with meaningful stories that deserve to be told. Do you have suggestions or ideas? Please reach out to us and share your thoughts.

KiCam Projects is a mission-driven company, and all of our collaborators are asked to select a nonprofit organization that will benefit from the proceeds of their work.

Together, we will change the world, one great story at a time.

Kilee Brookbank signing a copy of Beautiful Scars.

What Makes a Great Story?

What are your favorite kinds of stories to read, watch or listen to?

Classically, we’re taught about protagonists and antagonists, with a climactic third act followed by a resolution that ties everything together and satisfies our need for closure.

In reality, though, we all come to learn that our lives’ stories rarely follow the structure the ancients Greeks intended. Heroes and anti-heroes become less clear-cut, and the concept of closure often is replaced by uncertainty, resignation or the acceptance that an ongoing process might be more important (or more feasible) than a finite result.

The most compelling dramas, in this day and age, are less about a basic notion of good triumphing over evil and more about individual journeys paved with countless personal reckonings—some large and seemingly insurmountable, and some so small they appear inconsequential.

Those are the kinds of stories KiCam Projects wants to tell. We want to shine a light on the everyday person who becomes a hero to others by continuing to struggle against demons or challenges that can’t be overcome in a grandiose battle scene. We want to dispel the notion of the “average person” by highlighting the uniqueness of everyone’s personal story. And we want to remind the world that each of us has something special to give, something no one else can contribute in exactly the same way.

What’s your story? What have you been through and learned? How can you inform and inspire readers or viewers?

If you have a manuscript, script or synopsis, please send it, along with a cover letter, to submissions@kicamprojects.com for our team to review.

(Learn more about our submissions guidelines and process.)