Oregon is a dangerous place for us — and I’m not talking about dysentery

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Oregon has no state tax. This is like a stranger in a van offering candy to us 14%-tax-beleaguered British Columbians: dangerous, but oh so tempting.

Our trip to Seattle got delayed a bit when we decided to stop in Portland. Mom bought shoes (so what else is new?), we both got books, I picked up a pre-loved copy of Destroy All Humans, and then we may have wandered into the Apple store and I may be writing this blog entry on an iPad.

Wait! Before you write me off as just another spoiled white kid, let me elaborate. The iPad is a business expense so we write it off. We’re not just writers, you see: we’re publishers as well. Katje van Loon (autocorrect changed my name to “Kate” — bad iPad! No cookie) writes books published by The Pack Press, run by Mom, and Jana van Loon runs Stars Above, Stars Below Publishing, which puts out Kaimana Wolff’s (ie, Mom’s) novels and poetry. Each house also puts out books by other people and non-profit organizations, and we offer publishing services to those who wish to self-publish.

We’ve nothing against being self-published, but many contests do — and we want to enter those contests. Same deal for many writers’ festivals: your publisher needs to get you in. Not to mention, as a mother-daughter writing team who publishes each other’s books, we have many opportunities to promote each other — which is much easier than promoting oneself tirelessly. Less spammy, too.

Finally, my mother and I trust each other’s judgement in various areas: she’s an accomplished, professional editor, fantastic at in-person social networking, has knowledge of how to do business and understands finances (ie, how to make money), and has years of expertise in several areas, most importantly law.

I have a near instinctual grasp of our modern technology and know how to utilize it to our advantage. I understand Internet social networking and excel at it as much as I fail at face to face. I know InDesign, and I’m good at cover design and book block design.

We’re both dedicated, determined, and we have keen eyes for errors in each other’s works — you’d be amazed at what sneaks past in the first 7 edits/read-throughs. We help each other shoulder the burden of publishing a book on your own — being an indie author is difficult, time-sucking work, and it is not an easy way to make a buck. You’re spending almost every hour of the day working — sometimes for very little return, at least at first.

You want a good, professional book that people will a) take interest in and b) love or at least like? You have to put in the time or money, and it takes a bit.

So, we bought an iPad. It is another tank for our arsenal on the battlefield of the publishing world. We’ve small publishing houses; we need every weapon available.

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