Friday 18 February 2022

Little Creek Company Paves Way for Indie Publishers

Kristin Mitchell is a successful businesswoman whose small publishing company 'Little Creek Press' has produced a number of award winning titles. Its success is hardly surprising in an industry dominated by the big five publishing houses as they battle for supremacy over the market and each other. This endless corporate war is why authors are turning to smaller independents, like 'Little Creek Press', confident their projects will be nurtured all the way to book store shelves. 

Before becoming a leading publisher Verona native Kristin Mitchell was a successful designer. Her company, 'Kristin Mitchell Designs' was set up in 1997 so that Kristin could work from home whilst raising her four children. The company is a full-service graphic design studio based in southwest Wisconsin working with an assortment of businesses including non-profits, small businesses and corporations. The company is still operating successfully alongside her publishing work. She founded 'Little Creek Press' when she was hired by the late Al Felly, founder of 'Felly's Flowers' and also a famed wood carver to the deign the cover for his children's book 'Santa's New Clothes'. However since he knew little or nothing about publishing Kristin agreed to help. 

The secret to Kristin's publishing success is adapting the same model of collaboration and building strong relationships that lies at the heart of her design enterprise. The forming of close collaborative bonds enables Kristin to offer significant support to authors struggling to navigate the maze of ISBN codes, formatting, design through her own company of course, editing, printing and distribution. Kristin relies on her contact list of professional and freelance editors, printing companies and distributors and for her services charges a single fee which is paid when the finished books hit the shelves. The biggest surprise however is the reward for the authors who, depending on which bookseller is used, can earn anything 60-80% of the retail price of each book. When compared to traditional publishers offering 10-12% opting for an independent publisher like 'Little Creek Press' is less stressful and more lucrative. 

"I get a lot of people that have been burned.” I get people who’ve been rejected by big publishers, and then I have people who have started self-publishing and are like, ‘I can’t, there’s no way, I want a human being I can talk to, who I trust.’ And that’s how I get most of the books.”

Kristin Mitchell's service model is unique, with the possible exception of another small press company HenschelHAUS based in Milwaukee - a company that opts to print fewer titles. Word of Kristin's services have spread and over the last decade 'Little Creek Press' has published over 150 books. A number of books published have won local, national and international awards. These include the riveting memoir 'Spoke' written by Coleman (which won the 2014 International Book Award), and Mary Lang Sollinger's memoir detailing her account of working on Barack Obama's first presidential campaign - that won Chicago Writers' Association Book of the Year prize in 2020. 

This might sound corny, but this is the way I view it: I get to make people’s dreams come true,” “How many people can say that about their jobs?”
The main publishing companies continue their attempts at industry domination and recently Penguin Random House made a bid to acquire rivals Simon and Schuster. To the rescue came the US government who filed a suit to block the purchase over concerns Penguin would have too much of a monopoly adversely affecting authors pay and what consumers read. Outside of that publishers like Little Creek Press are there proving a unique collaborative and supporting service for authors. 

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