A Little About Us, And What Drives Us

By Caleb On Wed Nov 27, 2013, 3:18 am Comments0

So I guess it's time to tell a little about ourselves here at Pacific Crest Publishing. The best place to start would probably be our purpose for building this site, which we envision as a place for authors and readers to get together and create the best possible stories in their favorite genres.

My older brother Josh has been an avid reader since puberty, and since younger brothers tend to look up to their big bro's during formative years (and hopefully long after) I, like so many other activities which comprise my childhood memories, tagged along in the hope of finding something I could do to be like my Big Brother.

We started off with pretty standard fare: Dragonlance novels, followed by other D&D inspired stories before branching out into science fiction, space opera, and even the occasional vampire book. (note: this was before vampires acted like they were perpetually thirteen years old; we read books about vampires back when they were SCARY ;) )

After awhile I got bored of reading but my brother persisted, and by the age of thirteen he had exhausted the local library's shelves. By fourteen he had exhausted the regional library's reserve catalog. By fifteen he was consuming 4-5 books per week by any means necessary, and I was just rolling my eyes.

But somewhere along the lines we started playing D&D with our uncle -- and this is where we passed the point of no return. Fast forward a decade and a half and Josh -- that's my brother, in case I was unclear above -- delivers his first, complete, rough draft manuscript to my doorstep with more than a hint of trepidation.

Three weeks, approximately two hundred gallons of Mountain Dew and a likely illegal number of microwavable pizzas later, and we had re-worked the rough spots into fractionally less rough spots, removed material that made absolutely no sense, added material that made even less sense, looked at each other with perfectly mirrored shrugs and cried in unison, "Baby needs a new pair of shoes!" while mashing the 'Publish' button on Amazon's Luke Sky Wachter author page. (note: the aforementioned event is completely fictional; any resemblance to persons or events either real or imagined is entirely coincidental and in no way, shape, or form represents the author's political views. No, that's not entirely accurate; the author's name listed above and the part where we increased the 'nonsensical' quotient by a couple orders of magnitude during the 'editing' process is pretty spot-on. wow, were we bad on that first one -- and some would argue we've only gotten worse with time!)

A year and a half later, while staring through a seemingly perpetual haze of Twinkie wrappers and half-consumed balut eggs (don't ask -- really), we hit the 'Publish' button again with fingers gnarled and twisted from incessant typing, and my brother's sixth full-length novel hit the e-shelves, along with a self-published novella.

As readers digested the material and gave their feedback, we shared laughter, we shared eye rolls, we shared egg rolls, and we've even shared a few mp3's (quiet as it's kept), but I think we can safely say by now that my brother managed to break through and establish a niche for himself as an honest-to-goodness, bona fide author with fans numbering in the hundreds of thousan- wait...no, I must apologize; the producers are telling me his fans number in the 'hundreds or thousands,' depending on the definition of 'fans.' Whatever...moving on!

And here's where the story takes a sharp turn back to relevance, or at least something resembling it in the next paragraph. Some people are born with an ability to express themselves through the written word; some people are born with a yearning to perfect their use of language to the point where there can be no misunderstanding between author and recipient; and some people are born with a desire, or even a need, to place form over function or, at the very least, allow form to influence the function of the end product. These people are poets, writers, teachers and artists.

My brother and I are not those people. We believe absolutely and unequivocally in the value of a story, and in engaging the imagination while spinning a yarn that breaks the reader from the harsh realities of everyday life. We spent our childhoods and young adult lives screaming at the television when screenwriters would take the easy way out of a given script or story, and deliver on none of the promise they had teased in order to get us in front of the TV in the first place. Years of daily debates (much of which involved the same uncle who introduced us to D&D) brought us to the conclusion that the STORY is the spine of any entertainment medium, whether it's a book, a TV show, a movie, video game, play, opera, etc..

I'll admit that characters can, on occasion, be so transcendental that they literally require nothing but props around them which mean little or nothing by themselves: James Bond, Captain Kirk, The Man With No Name, and so forth. There are times when a character such as those resonates so perfectly with the audience that we truly care not one whit for the story in which he or she finds his- or herself; we just want to watch the character deal with the situations in their trademark fashion.

But for the most part, it is the story which carries the day -- especially with books. Great dialogue and action are nice, and in some genres even essential, but the story is the axis around which the rest is spun.

Said All That To Say, dept.

My brother was once asked in a serious, no-nonsense, actually pseudo-appreciative and positive tone, if English was his second language while posting one of his snippets on a popular indie author forum a few years back.

I'll let that sink in for a second.


Ready to continue? Ok.

If you think my purpose in relaying that tidbit was to pat myself on the back for helping him clean up his then seemingly endless capitalization issues, his apparently nonexistent knowledge of punctuation, or his actually amusing (although horrifically time-consuming to correct) shift in tense from first to third person in that first rough manuscript, you're flat-out wrong. Seriously.

We had never published a book before. We knew a few people who had (some of whom are wildly successful) but we really didn't know what we were doing. I had a better idea of grammar, punctuation, flow and pacing than he did, but that wasn't why my brother took the plunge and published his first book.

He took the plunge, with as much support as I could give him, because we both knew there was a great story buried in there. And after his first book took off a few months after publication, we knew that there were a lot of great stories just waiting to be told.

But the truth is that without the help I provided him prior to the launch of Admiral Who?, Josh would never have published his first book -- or if he had, it never would have succeeded as it has. Again, let me assure you that this is not self-aggrandizement; this is simply the only way I can think of to effectively outline what I see as a cavernous, gaping, unacceptable hole in the current indie publishing scene.

I'm talking about the lack of streamlined, accessible, affordable assistance in taking a rough manuscript like my brother handed in and turning it into something to be proud of. Some of us have relatives who are literature professors, or English/whatever-your-native-language-is teachers, and those people have a huge advantage over the rest of us since they can get guidance and help from true professionals at little or no cost. For those of us not born with that particular leg up on the competition, we need an alternative -- and one that doesn't cost more than we're likely to earn from our debut offering!

And that, my faithful reader, is where this website comes in. See, I consider myself to be a fairly observant person, and throughout the process of helping my brother with his half dozen novels I've made a few notes about what works, what doesn't work, what helps, what doesn't help, and what an ideal system for collaborating on such a daunting task might look like. Do I have the Elixir in my wagon, ready to solve your ailments after a singly swig following four easy, monthly payments of $99.95? No, I don't. But what I do have is a little experience, a lot of time considering the subject, and the good fortune to have people around me who can help bring my ideas into reality.

There are many steps in the process of producing a quality book, which I'll be discussing at length in future articles. But for now, come on in, upload a manuscript and peruse our features to see if we can help you breathe life into the fruits of your imagination. If you've got an idea for an addition, or even a subtraction, don't be shy about letting us know!
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