(Date visited: April 10)
Packing is hard! And despite having most of my things together, it still took until 1:00 am before my car was ready with my life for the next four months. I got four hours of sleep (if that) before getting up early to hit the road for the longest leg of my journey. I had an appointment with Indie Ink Publishing at 2:00 p.m. in Saskatoon, SK and I wanted to make sure I had plenty of time, so after an early morning and teary goodbye to my partner and my dog, I hopped in my car and drove east. I skipped the coffee shops along the way out of town thinking I’d be fine until Lloydminster.
Early mornings are smart in theory but in practice they do not bode well if you haven’t had enough sleep the night before. I wasn’t going to make it to Lloyd.
I pulled into the next gas station; there were five or six semis lined up, their drivers asleep in the berths. Parking my Buick on the outskirts of the lot, like a deer encroaching in on a herd of mammoths, I took a 20-minute nap.
Jump to an hour later and I am back on the road, and I’m the only one on it. I take the opportunity to get to know my new vehicle, swerving back and forth between lanes (don’t worry, I was being careful) and testing out the efficiency of the brakes.
Just after noon I pull into Saskatoon. A quick lunch and bathroom-stall change later, I’m ready to meet Suzanne Paschall of Indie Ink Publishing in a building known as The Two Twenty.
The Two Twenty is hands down the coolest co-working space I’ve ever seen. Possible issues of gentrification aside, the design of the space—every wall and window—is purposeful. From the 6 x 8 single office spaces, to the music recording studio and screen printing shop downstairs, to the common space set up like a large living room with a kitchen, to the shared event space with separate entrance, to the coffee shop.
There’s much talk, in the cities I’ve visited, of similar shared workspaces, whether to house non-profits in general or to have a building of just literary organizations. Those interested would do well to talk to Curtis from The Two Twenty. If I could bring my community with me, I would move there in an instant.
On the second floor is where I find Indie Ink Publishing. As I approach, Suzanne spots me through her window and comes out to greet me. She shakes my hand and then…aww hell, we hug! Her and I met via Skype one Saturday morning after I asked her to be a part of the tour. She says she must know me from somewhere else, I am so familiar. I think it’s because her and I come from the same shelf in the universe.
With Indie Ink’s publishing model (in short), an author with a book either pitches to Indie Ink or is sought out. From there an agreement is made based on how much each party can bring to the table, both in cost and time. Indie Ink aims to make the output and input 50/50. From there, author and publisher work as a team to develop the book, market it, and sell it.
So what if an author comes to the table with a great book, but no money?
Suzanne and I spend a lot of time talking about crowd funding and how it acts both as a way to raise funds and as a marketing tool. Check out this campaign for one of Indie Ink’s newest books Eating Myself Crazy. Merchandising the brand of the book (and the author) is a way to make $$. Keep in mind that it’s not as simple as throwing a logo on some pens and bookmarks and calling it a day. The Moody Foody magnets are the perfect example. On the fridge, they are a reminder to readers of the book and of the book’s message. Brilliant.
Indie Ink was founded in 2010 and the company is obviously not following a traditional model (it never was). The model they are following, however, is adaptable. The output/input split can be adjusted to what makes the most sense, and Suzanne is ready to open another department of Indie Ink that will act as a consultant service to those looking to publish and brand their work solo.
“As publishers I don’t think we should be committing ourselves to a new model too early.” -Suzanne Paschall
Lucky me, my time with Suzanne has only just begun. After a quick stop to my car to answer some emails, I’m off to McNally’s bookstore and restaurant for dinner and an Indie Ink book launch, organized by Susanne’s right-hand woman, Keri. It’s a hit. The Q&A is lively, and I walk away with a signed copy of The New Rock Star Philosophy.