• Marina Aris

Founder Stories: The Big Fat NO From Jacob Javits & Why It Didn't Matter

Updated: May 11

In this video excerpt from the Indie Pub 101 workshop I hosted in Brickell City Center, Miami I take a look back at my journey to building the Brooklyn Writers Co. and how I had to let go of the vision for my 3 Day Indie Author Expo when Javits said no.

Since I started on my journey I never stopped to think what if I fail?

Being an eternal optimist means I'm always thinking what if I succeed?

And as far as my Indie Author Expo was concerned, I got pretty darn close. And in the end, the smaller Indie Pub 101 Event I hosted in Miami worked out just fine.

While hosting a big expo would have been amazing, hosting smaller workshops that were more intimate seemed to be a more effective way to reach my intended goal: connecting with and guiding new authors on their journey toward publishing their work independently.

And now that COVID is a daily part of our personal and professional lives, it turns out smaller events and even virtual ones may be the next best thing.

The Long List of YESes that have made my journey Amazing so far:

BookExpo 2018: Giving a Presentation on Bookstore Distribution for Indies

While I did not get to host my 3 Day Indie Author Expo at Jacob Javits I did get to speak on a BookExpo stage in 2018 when I presented on bookstore distribution and placement for indie authors. I owe a big thank you to ReedPop but also to Gordon McClellan at Dartfrog Books. I had a chance to work with Dartfrog Books in its early days while they were building out their model for serving authors in the independent publishing space.

London Book Fair: 2019: Teaching a Webinar @ALLi's Self-Publishing Advice...

Orna Ross has become one of my favorite people in the independent publishing space. Orna is a poet, indie author champion and the founder of ALLi, the Alliance of Independent Authors. She's absolutely lovely and kind. Her team is also fabulous. Sacha Black for one, is also a great writer in her own right, author advocate and genuinely kind ALLi team member.

Miami WeWork Brickell City 2019: Hosting Indie Pub 101

Thank you for saying yes to Kenny Medina who did a fantastic job orchestrating the event while I anxiously prepared in New York. The WeWork Kenny was managing at the time was the perfect centrally located venue for my first workshop. I co-hosted it with Beth Kallman-Werner, President and Founder of Author Connections. So a big thank you to Kenny Medina and to Beth Kallman Werner for supporting the vision and helping it come to fruition.

Brooklyn Writers Press

Although I launched the Press in February 2017, it wasn't until 2018 that I received a manuscript that was ready for publication. A big thank you to Stephan Silich the first author and poet I published on my catalog. As of January 2021, there are more than 22 books in the catalog. I also owe a big thank you to the other authors who have taken a leap of faith and given this new indie hybrid press a chance to represent them and their books. Thank you for your yeses: Roger Canaff, Milda M. DeVoe, John Koelsch, Scott Skrym, Hélène Laffitte, Laurent Thomas, Denise Kalos, Ginger Schechter, Bella Lynn Thompson, Lauren Douglas, M. Ellen Dash, Greg Lewin, Jim Wurst, Saul Gitlin, Kate Somerset, Gerald G. Griffin, and Vicki Gach.

New York City Authors Guild 2018: Nomination as NYC Ambassador

When I applied to become one of the first ambassadors for the NYC Authors Guild I wasn't sure what the odds were that I'd get picked. But when I did receive the acceptance, it felt right. I've been enjoying my role as ambassador and hope to continue to serve the NYC and national Authors Guild community. So thank you Authors Guild for saying yes to my application. It's an honor and a privilege to serve such a respectable literary organization.

Pen Parentis 2018-Present: President of the Board Nomination

When I met the lovely Milda M.M. DeVoe I knew we would be long-time friends. And mostly I knew I wanted to support her mission to support writer-parents. Aside from having the yes and nomination to serve as President of the Board of Pen Parentis a literary non-profit, and co-host a weekly writer's group I had the extended honor of publishing Milda's 1st non-fiction book, 'Book & Baby' So a big thank you for her YESes. Working with her and knowing her changed my life and made a significant impact on my literary career.

Life Lines the Books Podcast 2018-2019

Thank you Diane Fener for saying yes to being my co-host. We recorded more than 30 episodes together and we had a chance to meet with and feature emerging authors, bestselling, Pulitzer winning authors, and literary ambassadors. It was a fun ride and I'll always be proud of the work we did together on that podcast. It's still live today so feel free to check it out on Anchor. (And Diane deserves some extra Thank Yous for always saying YES! to all my crazy ideas as I was building the Brooklyn Writers Co.)

Dallas, TX Indie Author Event 2018: Hosting a Bookstore Distribution Workshop

At this conference I given the opportunity to speak on behalf of Dartfrog Books about bookstore distribution. I had a great time meeting other writers and also reconnecting with Ana Benitez and Ron Karasz the founders of Storyrocket. At that event we said yes to each other on future collaborations.

Las Vegas, Power Team International 2020: Presenting at Business Conferences

A big thank you to Bill Walsh for saying yes to my giving both planned and unplanned presentations and mini workshops on indie publishing.

And the YESes keep coming!

I'm truly grateful for the work I get to do. The relationships I get to build with emerging authors. The journey has been a long and exciting one. And there are more YESes I did not list here but will add to the milestones section of the website. Every week I get to meet new writers who I may or may not work with but even that 1st yes! The one that leads to a conversation, often an inspiring one, is what I'm most grateful for.

While choosing a career, also means choosing a path to financial livelihood at the forefront of my mind every day is how can I serve? What can I say or do to help a new writer navigate the current publishing landscape?

When you can wake up every day inspired by what you might work on or who you might meet, it's the Universe's way of giving you one big fat YES! And that's all I'll ever need to continue to get where I want to go on this journey.

Finally, thanks to you dear reader, follower, supporter!

Thank you for saying Yes to reading about my work and my journey. And should you ever need a question answered, a guide on your own journey, just ask me.

You'll undoubtedly get a YES from me.

Have a great day! Keep writing and creating.

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