From the Publishing Desk: 2021 Unwrapped
It doesn’t feel as if a year has passed since I last took over the blog to talk about this beautiful thing we have all created together, but it has. And what a year it has been.
When MaryBeth and I sat down to plan out how it would work to open a publishing company, we talked about many things - our mission, our core values, the issues we saw within the industry, and how we wanted to help be the change that was needed.
However, we couldn’t have possibly foreseen or planned for what happened next.
No one could have.
No one did.
For everyone - gigantic, behemoth publishers to little guys like us - the world of publishing turned on its head and left no one unscathed.
But, Laynie, you say, a bunch of people just stayed home for a while and had a panini. How did that change the world of publishing? It started with the live events. All of those months planning for Sword and Silk’s first big outing to be BookCon in New York City were ripped away from us in an instant as if a big purple guy snapped his fingers and turned them into dust.
But we pivoted. Instead, our first author, Justine Manzano, called up a friend (who also just so happened to be NYT Best Selling Author and Overall Badass Zoraida Córdova) to co-host her Zoom release party and that was how Sword and Silk kicked off it’s first year of publishing.
But riding that high was short-lived as the rumors of a paper shortage started. A paper shortage that was just the beginning of production hurdles.
Soon the facilities where our books were printed faced staffing shortages, with many of their workers being out sick. Then shipping became a major issue. From books sitting on cargo ships unable to dock to our packages being dumped in a ravine by shipping service workers (you read that right).
It didn’t take long for the book shortage to become common knowledge, leading to extensive Twitter threads and official statements from Big Players.
In the wake of all of this, we watched fellow publishers bend, break, and- all too often- fold under the increased hardship. The book world lost a lot of good companies and several not-so-great ones.
In comparison, as if a metaphor for so many of the issues we wanted to tackle when we started this company, the biggest fishes in our ocean continued to get bigger and bigger until the United States government got involved (a case that is still on-going, so we won’t talk about it).
Whereas 2020 was a year of new beginnings, hope, and dreams in the face of uncertainty, 2021 was a year of dreams turning into reality and learning how to adapt and overcome.
In the midst of unprecedented hardships within the publishing industry, our staff and authors faced personal challenges like never before. From health issues and surgeries to brand-new babies and changing job responsibilities, they still showed up for us in the most extraordinary way.
Because of their dedication and our reader’s unfailing support, we have been able to reach goals we never thought we’d hit, fulfill dreams we thought were impossible, and have an amazing time doing it.
In 2021 we:
Had six cover reveals
Released five books (Including a super secret release that surprised everyone.)
Signed five new authors
Had some much deserved staff promotions
And gained some brand new friends
Received 378 email queries and 82 QueryManager queries.
Had our books reviewed and featured in Publishers Weekly, Forward Reviews, Kirkus, and more.
And we couldn’t have done it without the support of those around us, including you!
2022 holds big things for us. Here’s a little taste of what we plan to accomplish:
Unravel releases February 15th! And with it comes the end of an era. You see, when we started this thing, we promised our Kickstarter backers access to our first five original titles and with it, if they chose that tier, a custom book box for each. Amelia Loken’s story marks our 5th book and final Sword and Silk book box.
But wait! Because I have more news on that front later in the post.
In April, we have another first! Our first sequel, Justine Manzano’s Skeleton Key releases April 12th.
Also in April, I will represent Sword and Silk Books at the Independent Book Publishers Association’s Publishing University in Orlando, FL. Sword and Silk was honored to be chosen from many applicants to receive a scholarship to attend.