Today we are delighted to host the latest roundtable in our series spotlighting different small business owners and entrepreneurs. Today’s guest is Alisa Krasnostein, Director and Publisher at Twelfth Planet Press, an independent Australian publishing house dedicated to publish fresh and innovative works by women and underrepresented voices in Science Fiction and Fantasy.
Please give a warm welcome to Alisa, everyone!
The Book Smugglers: First, talk a little about your business. What is your underlying idea and mission? Why did you decide to take this idea into reality?
Alisa Krasnostein: At Twelfth Planet Press we aim to push the boundaries of the status quo – to ask why not and advocate for diverse voices. Originally I started the press to increase the numbers of Australian female writers being published, because the argument for why our local book awards lists were so male heavy was that so few women were being published. I wanted to challenge that but to also therefore increase the number of markets for women to submit and be published. It just really annoyed me to here over and over the argument that women didn’t read or write science fiction, when I knew it just was so untrue. I’m not one for sitting around complaining without contributing to change.
TBS: As a female independent business owner, what are some of the unique challenges and opportunities you face?
Alisa Krasnostein: I think in the beginning the hardest challenges were to be taken seriously and then when I did start to prove myself, I became a target to be shut down. I suspect some of the business obstacles I’ve had against expanding the size and reach of my press are due to being female but I just haven’t had the heart to change my name to test that one to be true! I also had a lot of trouble finding a mentor. Now that I am home with two kids, I’m finding the biggest struggle to be getting the time to myself in order to be able to work at my business.
TBS: In the book world, we often hear about the importance of finding your niche or community. Who is your community? Why is it so important to you?
Alisa Krasnostein: My community is filled with readers who are looking for something that breaks the mould, challenges ideas and calls for change.They embrace diversity and values of equality and fairness. My community is important to me because they support and encourage the work that I do, and that’s what has kept me going in tough times (both emotionally and financially). And they represent hope and the constant yearning for a better, fairer world. What better company to keep?
TBS: What words of wisdom would you give to other women or entrepreneurs thinking about taking their product or business from ideation to reality? Specifically, what advice do you have for those who want to use crowdfunding platforms, like Kickstarter, to reach their goals?
Alisa Krasnostein: Believe in yourself. Find people who can advise you and bounce your ideas off them (if you can’t find such people, don’t give up – keep asking and looking, they’re out there somewhere). Don’t listen to the naysayers, they’re wrong and they’ll just bring you down.
Crowdfunding is a really fantastic platform to help you reach your goals. My advice is to research and ask lots of questions of others who have done it before you to find out about the pitfalls. And make sure you factor in *all* the costs when you design your budget and set your goals.
TBS: Are there any other independent businesses, female-owned or otherwise, that you particularly admire?
Alisa Krasnostein: Persephone Books (not genre but such a beautiful publisher). Aqueduct Press. Weightless Books. Virago Press. The Book Smugglers, of course! Uncanny Magazine. And a bunch of other businesses that aren’t publishing but that I am learning so much about business from – Jamberry, Nicole Walters.
TBS: What books are you currently reading? Are there any new discoveries that you’re dying to share with the world?
Alisa Krasnostein: I’m currently reading a bunch of books we are working on at Twelfth Planet Press. I’m also reading Hillary Clinton’s What Happened? which I’m really enjoying – as a woman, it’s so important to hear how other successful women deal and recover from career disappointment (that’s such a depressing note to end on but the book is really great!)
About Alisa Krasnostein:
Alisa Krasnostein is editor and publisher at independent Twelfth Planet Press, a freshly minted creative publishing PhD student and recently retired environmental engineer. She is also part of the twice Hugo nominated Galactic Suburbia Podcast team. In 2011, she won the World Fantasy Award for her work at Twelfth Planet Press. She was the Executive Editor and founder of the review website Aussie Specfic in Focus! from 2004 to 2012. In her spare time she is a critic, reader, reviewer, podcaster, runner, environmentalist, knitter, quilter and puppy lover.
A Kickstarter Reward Made Of Awesome
Alisa and Twelfth Planet Press have generously donated us a tote bag and digital copies of Luminescent Threads and Defying Doomsday! Want these? It’s up for grabs over on our Kickstarter!