Denise and I have been friends of forty years. We met in Austin shortly after my husband and I moved into a neighborhood of small acreages, where backyard horses were the norm. My horse was certainly enjoying it. When Denise rode her horse, Dolly, by in front of my house, I ran out eager to meet another horsey person. Since then, we have enjoyed so many things together: riding, stable management, horse and dog training, cat showing and judging, house painting, star gazing in the wee hours for an astronomy class she was taking, reading (we both, like fantasy books), singing, and of course, writing.
Nowadays, Denise lives near Fentress, Texas She owns Bartlett Business Services in Luling, Texas, which provides accounting and tax preparation services, as well as co-owning Gypsy Shadow Publishing.
Denise Bartlett: A Brilliant Idea For Internet Publishing
Jane: How did you get started as an Indie publisher?
Denise: In 1980, when I met Charlotte Holley, my partner at Gypsy Shadow Publishing, I was writing a book, and she was writing a book. We combined them and wrote together. In 2008, we found a publisher, and it published our books. That company closed in 2009, and they just sent out letters that said, we’re closing. Nobody gets any money and we’ll give your book rights back. So we were sitting there asking, “Now what?” Charlotte’s degree is in Journalism, radio, tv, and film. She suggested, “We’ll just start our own.” So we did, and Gypsy Shadow Publishing was born.
I had never thought of having my writing published online. What a impact that makes! Before the internet you spent a lot of time trying to submit works. You had to print the manuscript out and send it to the publisher, and then you had to wait. Well, you still have to wait, but now you don’t have to do all that printing and mailing. You just send it electronically.
Now, I realize a new potential of publishing online. I see an opportunity for online publishing in teaching. Maybe in high school. A student published school newspaper is now so common, it’s expected. It provides a platform for community discussion and even more important, a place for those interested in journalism to develop their skills. There is a place for students interested in photography to showcase their skills. Some student papers run ads so there is an opportunity to learen marketing and ad writing.
My idea is a student-run book publishing company focused on giving young people the opportunity to experience book publishing from all sides, as author, editor, and indie publisher, even evaluating acquisitions (something submitted for publication). There are so many other skills involved in a publishing company, web page development, graphic arts, marketing. It would provide student internships that would help build future resumes, and the opportunity to be published not only on the local website, but on the big book seller sites like Amazon, Barnes and Noble. There are a number of writers in our community who would be excited about mentoring and participating in a program like this.
I was recently talking with the tech instructor of our local high school. He is concerned about all the students who are not going to go to college. He wants to set up something so they can get excited about doing something skilled and technical. He said, “I have a lot of creative writing students and other students who just can’t get interested, because they don’t figure it’s going to get ’em anywhere. If they had the prospect of being published online, it would make a huge difference to them.”
I remember high school and how I was wished somebody would help me write instead of all this other stuff
Jane: Another venue would be a nonprofit that uses students doing everything supervised by the company owner. It would offer the same benefits but would operate outside of the school. The community would be a source of mentors.
Denise: If that mentorship had been available when I was writing every spare minute in high school, I would’ve been a professional writer straight out of high school.
Denise has been writing since 1962, when she was in the third grade. She has written short stories, novelettes, poetry and novels. She published newspaper columns on gardening and surviving tax audits. At Gypsy Shadow Publishing, she has reviewed submissions and edited manuscripts of every genre. She is an avid reader and a prolific writer. Visit her at gypsyshadow.com/ or denisebartlett.com/
Three of her books currently on Amazon are:
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