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  1. #1
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    Avasta Press (Kelsye Nelson)

    I think I first noticed Avasta Press because its founder Kelsye Nelson followed me on Twitter.

    An oddly uninformative web site (although it is pretty).

    But I didn't see AP here on AW. Anyone have any details about this press? Anyone interacted with Kelsye Nelson?

    Aside from this article on GeekWire, that is.
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  2. #2
    Perpetually in transit Helix's Avatar
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    Their catalogue was scheduled for Autumn 2015. I couldn't find it. Was I looking in the wrong spot or is it late?

    Oh. Try looking at the front page, you twit!

    Ignore me. No coffee.


  3. #3
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    New. Literary and non-fic slant. I wish them well, but I don't think it's of any interest to me, something about it seems ineffably hipster. Plus, I had to laugh bleakly at Nelson's response to benching her previous venture: 'She took time to herself to recover — reading, going on long runs, eating heathy food, and getting lots of sleep to rejuvenate her entrepreneurial fire.'

    Oi. Some of us end up working 12 hour shifts just to rebuild our savings and our lives.

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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Filigree View Post
    New. Literary and non-fic slant. I wish them well, but I don't think it's of any interest to me, something about it seems ineffably hipster.


    I'm glad it wasn't just me. Pretty site; pretty uninformative... and looking a lot like a lure, meant to attract the uninformed who would find it impressive. In the "But none of the other sites look like this" way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Filigree View Post
    Plus, I had to laugh bleakly at Nelson's response to benching her previous venture: 'She took time to herself to recover — reading, going on long runs, eating heathy food, and getting lots of sleep to rejuvenate her entrepreneurial fire.'

    Oi. Some of us end up working 12 hour shifts just to rebuild our savings and our lives.
    Yeah. So speaks a person who has excess money. Unlike most of us.

    Thus far I haven't seen any sign she knows anything about publishing. Treating publishing as just another startup opportunity--! Just made me remember how some people see "CEO" as a magic word. Someone recently looked at me like I was a special snowflake for having my own business.

    Uh, not really -- not when 1/4 of American businesses are self-owned. Clearly never occurred to 'em that probably their plumbers are also self-employed. =grimace= Let alone their doctors!

    (My chiropractor and I were discussing the joys of being self-employed [when talking to banks] not long ago.)
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helix View Post
    Their catalogue was scheduled for Autumn 2015. I couldn't find it. Was I looking in the wrong spot or is it late?

    Oh. Try looking at the front page, you twit!

    Ignore me. No coffee.
    Not your fault, I noticed it was opaque as site nav goes. Dear God, imagine someone new to the Internet -- retired, maybe ESL, or just not very web-savvy versus social-media savvy!

    They'd be like me. I've been online for decades, and I thought it odd that you had to click so much to find things there. No drop-down menus, just "Here, click ALL the things."

    No one should make their site just into an email address-hunter. Did you see how the admin. asst. is meant to do exactly that?
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  6. #6
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Kelsye's Avatar
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    Hello! Iím Kelsye, the founder of Avasta Press and the subject of this thread. I have been watching the conversation and think it best if I participate to answer some questions that have come up.

    About Avasta Press:

    Avasta is a very new independent publishing company. Weíre based out of Seattle, Washington - though I personally recently moved to Port Townsend, WA. Our first catalog launched just this past fall. We publish literature, poetry, short stories and non-fiction, selecting books we feel enrich our experience on earth and our understanding of one another.

    As we are a small press, our resources for things like our website are very limited. You are right! The current launch site was meant to be temporary while our official site was being built. There is much we could do to improve our website, but honestly it is low on our priority list right now. We donít want to lure you into anything, except maybe buying our books, which is what we are supposed to do! Yes! Buy our books!

    As we are a small press, we only have the capacity to put out a few titles a year. That is why you do not see information on how to submit to the press. We are not accepting submissions at this time. This does not seem to deter some resourceful writers from finding a way to send us something anyway, and itís heartbreaking to not have the capacity to fully consider their work.

    As for job applicants being required to submit an email address with their application.... well... of course! How else would we contact them?

    About me:

    The comment where someone imagined that I have a lot of money made me laugh out loud. Oh how I wish this was the case! As it is, I am a single mom who works many jobs to support the press, as well as my little family. And yes, I work other jobs to financially support the press. My experience in publishing came from my degree in writing, the graduate work I did in publishing arts with Antioch, my years teaching English, my 5+ years in the publishing industry, my work with Hedgebrook, my job as instructor of the Business of Digital Publishing program at the University of Washington, the numerous publishing/writing conventions I have attended or spoken at and all the many, many authors and publishing professionals I have learned from over the years. And STILL I have much to learn about publishing - isnít life amazing that way?

    Yes, I have been a CEO. My former company Writer.ly made a positive impact on the lives of many writers. We build a wonderful, supportive community, enhanced technologies for publishing, shared resources and activity advocated for indie writers. The company ran three years, but could not generate enough revenue to sustain. While shutting it down was a terrible blow personally and to the authors we worked so long to serve, this does not discount what we did or the positive impact we made. This does not erase my title. It is one I earned through hard work and experience. I am proud to have it on my resume.

    I do believe that entrepreneurs (and artists!) benefit from self-care - such as healthy habits, reflection and exercise. I wish that was all that I did to recover from the obstacles I faced, but thatís not the case. I have never been financially supported and always worked to take care of my family. What you did not get to read about was all the freelancing I did, both while bootstrapping my company and after. Staying up late to finish deliverables for one client, waking up early to work on my business, taking kids to school, then getting right back to work. When I ran Writer.ly, I donít think I stopped working for almost three years straight. This turned out to be a liability, rather than a strength. So yes, while I still work very hard, I also advocate self-care. Itís not the overwork that helped me recover from traumatic setbacks, itís the time I took to slow down and take care of myself.

    About all of us here:

    I am not quite sure what I (or my little press) did to receive such personal criticism here on the forum aside from having a website in need of updates. We are publishing books we believe in to the best of our ability and not soliciting writers to sell some sort of service or con. I am the same as many of you. I am also a writer and someone who long dreamed of publishing my own books and was confused and disheartened by the world of publishing. Now I have the opportunity to use my skills to publish the books of authors I respect. I feel so lucky.

    What if we supported each other? What if we believed in the best of each other? What if we offered encouragement or resources for small presses that grow our publishing ecosystem? Imagine how we might lift each other up if we approached what we did not know or understand with a positive angle or open curiosity. What if we assumed we were all on the same team? My perspective is that we would all benefit.

    I hurt for the writers who have been taken advantage of by scams or incompetent providers. I hope these experiences do not lead us to poison our industry with distrust and derision.

    Writing this makes me vulnerable. Now I have opened the field for more personal attacks. If you look hard enough, you will certainly find something to criticize. Iím far from perfect. But as Brenť Brown says, Iím "in the arena". I working towards my dreams. I will still endeavor to publish the books that enrich our experiences. I will still strive to build my press. I will still keep my heart open and hold on to the belief that we all rise together.

    Kelsye Nelson, founder of Avasta Press
    You may email me directly at Kelsye @ AvastaPress . com
    Last edited by Kelsye; 03-10-2016 at 12:45 AM.

  7. #7
    practical experience, FTW cornflake's Avatar
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    What if we'd seen dozens of small, independent publishing houses started by people who wanted to help life on Earth (and to publish their own books and those of their friends/co-"workers"), and the aftermath of their fairly inevitable failure?

  8. #8
    Someday. Kayley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kelsye View Post
    About me:

    The comment where someone imagined that I have a lot of money made me laugh out loud. Oh how I wish this was the case! As it is, I am a single mom who works many jobs to support the press, as well as my little family. And yes, I work other jobs to financially support the press. My experience in publishing came from my degree in writing, the graduate work I did in publishing arts with Antioch, my years teaching English, my 5+ years in the publishing industry, my work with Hedgebrook, my job as instructor of the Business of Digital Publishing program at the University of Washington, the numerous publishing/writing conventions I have attended or spoken at and all the many, many authors and publishing professionals I have learned from over the years. And STILL I have much to learn about publishing - isnít life amazing that way?

    Yes, I have been a CEO. My former company Writer.ly made a positive impact on the lives of many writers. We build a wonderful, supportive community, enhanced technologies for publishing, shared resources and activity advocated for indie writers. The company ran three years, but could not generate enough revenue to sustain. While shutting it down was a terrible blow personally and to the authors we worked so long to serve, this does not discount what we did or the positive impact we made. This does not erase my title. It is one I earned through hard work and experience. I am proud to have it on my resume
    This information should be readily available on your site. It's valuable and speaks to your credentials.

    I also recommend restructuring your site to make it easier to navigate. It's extremely jarring to click from the home page and go to an alternatively-styled site with a different header and a lack of navigation links. The logo on those pages should also link back to the homepage; it's inconvenient to have to erase extra words in the address bar simply to navigate the site. All in all, the site is very difficult to navigate.

    Regarding the criticism: the purpose of this subforum is to evaluate publishing companies to inform authors about the companies' flaws and merits. We've seen many small startups come and go, which is why the initial impressions tend to be on the negative side. Without even having your background available on your website, it wasn't clear how Avasta Press differed from the thousands of other publishing companies that have spring up and floundered, dragging their authors into the ground with them. We want to protect authors from such fates by warning them against the potential dangers of engaging with new publishers. You can negate some of the criticism by engaging in good business practices like being transparent about your experience in the industry and building a functional website.

    That having been said, I remember Writer.ly and I acknowledge your credentials. Compared to other publishing startups, I think you have an advantage because of your background. That having been said, your initial post on this forum concerns me. You say you've opened the field for "more personal attacks", but no one has attacked you yet. I agree that the assumptions about your financial status are not helpful, although they are based on content that you made publicly available. My recommendation is simply to ignore those. As for other comments, such as those concerning your website and lack of background - those are not personal and are the types of criticisms you should expect when running a business. If you want to survive, you should be receptive to feedback and use the advice to improve your business. Idealism can only get you so far; it's only by utilizing your expertise along with the expertise of others (there are many publishing experts on this forum) that you will be able to succeed.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kelsye View Post
    Hello! Iím Kelsye, the founder of Avasta Press and the subject of this thread. I have been watching the conversation and think it best if I participate to answer some questions that have come up.

    It is great that you came here to talk to us; thank you, Kelsye.

    Adding a link on your site to your AW post -- even as a FAQ -- would be a grand step toward helping others know more about Avasta. And also listing your credentials, which are not on your site. I second that suggestion... and highly recommend doing both, in fact.

    Right now, Avasta looks like many other new small presses by having a site with very little info. Deliberately opaque or accidentally, either way, that sends a message.

    And as others noted, this is the Beware and Background area, created precisely to help people who want to know more about some publisher, press, editor, agent, etc. I'm the person who started the post; I wanted to know if anyone knew more about Avasta.

    That you took the discussion as personal attacks... is troubling in a professional. That's how some new small presses feel, that criticism is an attack.

    Being a publishing professional myself, I find that a bad sign.

    Thank you again.

    Best,

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