Sept. 25, 2003 Siuslaw News, Story by Bret Yager
DEADWOOD MOM BUCKS THE TIDE TO RUN HOME PUBLISHING BUSINESS
Its like putting all of your money on a jackpot. The publisher and author
get together on a book concept. They follow it from pen to press; its
their baby. They invest every resource at their disposal, send it out into
the world, and hold their breath.
Suspense like this keeps Deadwood publisher Nancy Cleary excited about
waking up and facing a new day. Recently, she had the chance to feature
a book in the front windows of 111 Barnes & Noble bookstores across the
country. Before the golden opportunity could become real, she had to come
up with 15,000 copies.
She and the author scraped together all of the money they could find and
went for it.
Were just holding our breath, Nancy laughs. I hope it flies, because
if it doesnt, its going to break us.
The book, I Love My Life! by Kristie Tamsevicius, was printed by Nancys
Wyatt-McKenzie Publishing. The authors husband, Nancy says, was recently
downsized from his job in the business world, so the success of the book
is just that much more important for all of them.
The book guides women through the steps of starting their own business and
working at home. Its a theme Nancy believes is important. In fact, it
echoes her own life.
The issues of the working mom find their way each month into Moms
Business Magazine, which profiles women enterpreneurship. Nancy publishes
the magazine out of her home as part of the production schedule she
juggles every day.
Nancy, who graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design, builds press
kits for young women entrepreneurs. She is not just a publisher but also a
promoter, agent, and relentless networker; she recently got a spot for 90
work-at- home moms on the Rosie ODonnell Show. Another clients work
ended up on the White House gift list because of her efforts.
This is my talent and Ive been giving it away because these moms dont
have the money, Nancy says.
Wyatt-MacKenzie, named after her son and daughter, has published 15 books
in the time it has been in existence. They include: Daughters of Spirit,
Daughters of Peace, by Dr. Claudia Rose, and Healing The Womanheart, by
None of the titles have landed the Clearys in high clover yet. But Nancy
is becoming known as a champion of moms, and the contract for I Love My
Life! was a windfall that slipped out the hands of the larger publishers
and into her lap.
The author didnt like how the big presses were treating her, so she threw
her lot in with the Deadwood-based publisher. If the book sells like Nancy
thinks it will, high clover may be on its way.
Shes learned a thing or two about the struggle of being a work-at-home
mom in the decade she has been a designer and publisher. Starting from
scratch to build DesignScape Studio and then Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing
meant pouring herself into the work, wearing many different hats, and
taking chances. That has included raising a young son and daughter and
sometimes nursing while sitting in front of the computer.
The bills come, and she doesnt know if shell be able to keep her head
above water. Then a job pops up. One always does, she says, and a check
arrives just in time to divert a major crisis.
She calls it a baptism by fire.
Sometimes all I can see is printing bills when we go to press, she
says. Its always a struggle, but I cant imagine not having the kids
Desktop publishing has transformed the way books are printed. The
cumbersome and expensive processes of past decades are now done on a
computer, a laptop, even.
That means Nancy can work anywhere. She can sit down and put pages
together whenever she has the spare time. However, the new technology
comes at a cost, and its a never-ending race to stay current. Nancy has
to buy new equipment several times a year. Often, she is not sure where
the money will come from.
Its insane. Its impossible to keep up with the hardware and software,
Nancy says. All I know is that, in the next six months, Ill have to
spend $800 on a new program. And Ill probably get the money from some job
that pays exactly $800. I look at my taxes every year and say Oh my god,
I put everything back into the business.
There is something about the independence and country setting that appeals
to her, however. She left behind the chance to be part of a corporate team
and earn steady income. She found instead a network of struggling moms who
rely on her and who have become her friends.
You have to be a promoter and a publicist to be a publisher, Nancy says.
I want to be able to help every mom be at home and still make money.
Nancy likes to think that the women she helps are on the verge of success.
When you work this hard, there has to be a payoff in the end, she figures.
She tells herself so every day while her husband tends the family farm and
raises beef. But she admits that the challenge of being a work-at-home mom
can prove to be too much.
Some women have had to go back to the corporate world after three years
of putting everything into their business, she says.
Nancy has built too much momentum for that. Success feels like its just
around the corner. Deadwood provides the outdoor quiet she experienced
growing up in northern Massachusetts. And one of the great things about
modern publishing is that you can do it anywhere.
She figures by the time Wyatt and MacKenzie are teenagers, their namesake
publishing company and working mom will be something they can be proud of.
Nancy Clearys website is www.WyMacPublishing.com.