All Articles Tagged "urban books"
Caroline McGill is the president of Synergy Publications, an independent book publishing company launched in 2004 that has sold her own books, including the “A Dollar Outta Fifteen Cent” series and the work of Justin “Amen” Floyd, author of Anything for Profit. Her latest novel HBIC: Head B**ch In Charge is based on her life story. Her first book, the semi-autobiographical A Dollar Out of Fifteen Cent tells a story mixed with love and betrayal.
As a business owner, Caroline continues to solicit the work of talented writers to help bring their creative works before masses of urban book readers.
Madame Noire: What type of work were you doing before you launched Synergy Publications in 2004?
Caroline McGill: Prior to launching Synergy Publications I worked a few odd jobs and also did lots of illegal stuff I’m not proud of. I am fortunate to have bypassed death or a lengthy prison sentence. I wanted money the fast way, and didn’t apologize for the ways I earned it. Then in 2000 I had an “a-ha moment” and realized that enough was enough. I was getting older. Age 30 was approaching. I was determined to get my life together.
I enrolled in a community college in North Carolina full-time [and] earned my AAS in business administration in 2002. Armed with blind faith and eager to make a positive turnaround in my life, I started working on a novel that was loosely based on the crazy life I had lived.
I wanted to be my own boss so my dream was to form a legitimate business. I moved back to New York and obtained a real estate license to supplement my income while I figured out what my calling was. I rented out apartments to pay the bills meanwhile brainstorming to come up with a product to sell. I continued to work on my novel in my spare time and then made the decision to self-publish A Dollar Outta Fifteen Cent. I formed Synergy Publications in 2004 and haven’t looked back.
MN: Over the past decade the numbers of self-publishers and small publishing houses have grown. How does Synergy Publications distinguish itself from the myriad of other publishing houses?
CM: Synergy Publications distinguishes itself from other publishing houses by choosing to publish only conscious literature. I believe that life imitates art; therefore we are socially responsible about the material we put into the universe. We strive to have our readers not only be thoroughly entertained from our books, but to also become enlightened in some form or another. When folks are armed with knowledge they tend to make better decisions.
[...]All of the books I write and publish contain underlying messages. I make it a point to raise awareness by touching on issues that matter. I get calls, emails and messages from readers all the time. They get it!
MN: What resources did you use to finance your business?
CM: I used the earnings from my real estate ventures and some savings I had. I invested $5,000 or $6,000. After my first print run I just kept reinvesting the profits.
MEET Wahida Clark: She served 9.5 years in prison for money laundering and mail fraud, received valuable business advice from multi-millionaire and prison mate, Martha Stewart, and turned her life completely around. Her page turning street lit has landed on the New York Times bestseller list not once, but three times. Major publishers who have taken her on include Simon & Schuster and Cash Money Content, a company owned by Bryan “Birdman” Williams and Ronald “Slim” Williams. Her chart topping books include Payback Ain’t Enough and Payback With Ya Life. Not one to shy away from a challenge, as soon as she was released from prison, this wife and mother also started her own business, Wahida Clark Publishing a company that has 14 authors on its roster.
MN: Had you thought about starting a business prior to your 9.5 year prison stay? Also, what advice did prison mate and multi-millionaire, Martha Stewart give you that continues to help propel your business forward?
WC: Before I went to prison and while I was living in Trenton, New Jersey, I dabbled with starting a book and printing company. Later, I moved to Georgia and sold telecommunications. During this time, I also did some business with the Housing and Urban Development (HUD). While I was incarcerated I wrote and published seven novels. The success of my books, including Essence bestseller, Thugs and the Women Who Love Them, caused me to receive lots of manuscripts from other inmates. Soon I realized that I had no choice but to start a publishing company. I developed the business plan for my publishing company while I was in prison and asked Martha Stewart to review my plan. She gave me a nod of approval. As soon as I came home I put my business plan into practice.
MN: When did you start Wahida Clark Publishing?
WC: I got out of prison in December 2007. I started my publishing company in 2008, as soon as I got out of prison. In order to be in a halfway house or home confinement you have to have a job. Rather than work for someone else, I started my own business.
MN: How much capital did you initially invest in Wahida Clark Publishing and what resources did you use to finance your business?
WC: I’m not sure of the exact amount I initially invested in my business. I used my own royalties from books I sold to start Wahida Clark Publishing. Businesses require an ongoing influx of capital. To meet this requirement, I constantly put money into Wahida Clark Publishing. I pay for the editing, printing, interior layout, etc. off royalties from books I sell.
MN: You’d already published and sold more than 300,000 copies of your Thug Series books under other publishers. Why did you decide to publish Justify My Thug and Payback Ain’t Enough under Cash Money Content?
WC: In prison I had contracts with major publishing houses. When I inked a deal with Cash Money Content, I simply moved from one publisher to another. Cash Money Content . . . when I thought about it, they had Nikki Minaj, Little Wayne, Drake etc. These artists sell millions of CDs to my target audience. So this was a chance for me to tap directly into my target audience. Cash Money has the ear of my audience. By working with them, I have a direct line into my target audience.