“You’re assembling the plane while flying it.”
An author told me this in observation of my first few months as a publisher. This observation couldn’t have been more accurate at the time. I was learning parts of the industry that usually remain behind the curtain and applying that knowledge to mold our new company into the next generation of independent publishers. I made mistakes and I found out quickly that I learned much more from those mistakes than if I hadn’t made them. The combination of sheer stubbornness (Unruly JuLee was one of my family nicknames) and determination to tell the stories of our authors and the stories of so many others, created the drive to make it here–our first anniversary.
This year has been full of all the feels–empathy, joy, fear, pride, loss, anticipation, contentment, sadness, excitement, exhaustion (lots of that), and love (so much more of that). I could never have imagined finding a more perfect fit for the culmination of my career experience and that of my partner and friend of over 20 years, Marilyn Whetstone. The twelve to eighteen-hour days have not felt like work (most days)–those days have felt like the embodiment of hope, not just for W. Brand Publishing but hope for humanity. Stories connect us at a human level–beyond culture, race, and gender–it’s our why. Yeah, it sounds a bit corny but if you know any of the Brand family, you know that’s part of our DNA, and it’s genuine.
So as we take a day to celebrate where we’ve been, where we are, and where we are headed, I challenge all of you who took a moment to read this to ask yourselves the following: Do you have a story to tell? Will your words connect with someone? Can you make a difference? Will you join us? Because when it comes down to the basics, you will find, We are one. We are (every)one. Everyone has a story.