Turns out, I’m going to die. I mean, we all are, but some of us sooner rather than later. Will I finish my doctorate? I don’t know. While I wait to find out, my goal is to bring to life the creations of artists who might otherwise leave them on the digital or literal shelf while trudging away through a life of meaningless day jobs.
Looking through some common publishing agreements, I was appalled that they often take 80% or more for the publisher. Plus borrowing against YOUR royalties for their services. And for what?! Yeah, formatting and layout are a pain in the ass. A good cover takes some time. Editing requires a meticulous eye. All of these things can be done by an experienced individual or small team in a matter of weeks. Trust me, I’ve done it. If the publisher or agency aren’t going to back you up with many thousands of dollars in promotion, you should be getting the cash so you can do it yourself. Or buy a go-kart, I don’t care.
So here I am, trying to get a catalog of books to print, much in the way I did with indie band recordings in previous decades. There’s a difference now, a lesson I’ve learned. It wasn’t until I finally wrote my first novel and recorded my solo album that I learned not only the satisfaction of a genuine piece of art – something I didn’t intend to sell or market – but the quality that came with creating without boundaries or fear or judgment. And that’s all I’m asking for from the creators I work with at Squill Publishing: be real, create for you. We have enough panderers in this society already.
Artists in our collective keep 70% or more of the profits and retain the rights to their work. In fact, all of my rights to the book convert to them when I die – provided they don’t kill me without the passwords. It really shouldn’t be that hard to get your work into the world and publishers and labels holding it over artist’s heads is ridiculous. It’s not like we need their printing presses and recording studios any more. Best Seller lists are just bought out by the distributors. Fuck them, trying to siphon every dime from struggling artists and only paying to the airport trash novelists, regurgitating the same story over and over again. It’s not even the author whose name is on the cover writing these books, it’s a team of paid writers. Time to wake up, San Francisco!
And that’s the thing, writing is about something inside you, not a logarithmic method to putting words on a page. Unless you’re writing a textbook. I dig textbooks. I feel, as do many neurodiverse and hardcore introverts, that writing and music and art are the best way to process our trauma and reflect on ourselves. Talk therapy and the like can be overwhelming or ineffective. So I want to hear stories and see art from authors that have something to say. I know I was unable to process my trauma and mental health conditions for decades through traditional methods. It wasn’t until I wrote my first novel, and especially with my first YA novel, that I started putting together the pieces of my life. I know there are others out there like me who can not only help themselves by telling their story, but untold others by sharing their experiences, even if it’s a story metaphorically played by eleven elven astronauts and giant tarantulas in bovid costumes.
Anyway, I digress, as usual. If you want to know more about me personally, I recommend reading Freshman Nobody, about my teen years; Nobody Gets Out Alive, about my early twenties; and You Don’t Look Artistic, a collection of musings and ramblings – truly the closest thing to being in my head.
The tragedy of my early twenties. I'm working a shitty day job, having kids, and otherwise trying to fit in to the American Dream. Spoiler Alert: I don't. Er, the protagonist doesn't. Same as before.
tweedjefferson.com for more of my jackassery
Jay H. Cults
Jay H. Cults: not only are they a people and a person but also a people person. Here at Squill Publishing, Jay does the peopling and if you’re a person that does the arting then Jay is the way to go.
Many of our artists work under a pseudonym, which we guard like chihuahuas with a bone. You’ll have to talk to Jay if you want access to any of these artists for interviews or personal appearances. Don’t have a pseudonym? A nom de plume, if you will. A nom de guerre, if you’re Tweed. We’ll help create one for you! Our team of models – recently released from a police lineup – will act as your face for headshots, social media, and deep-fake porno flicks.
As whimsical as it is tragic, Secrets and Songbirds provides a deconstruction of the hero's quest as well as a character study of the human condition. It is a dark fantasy that follows 10 diverse LGBTQIA+ characters, who hold equally unique ideologies.
Diverse people, Diverse stories
We’re allies to the mental health, LGBTQ+, and disabled community! I mean, if you can be an ally to yourself. Tweed is an outspoken advocate for embracing autism spectrum disorder. He has lived for more than twenty years with major depressive disorder and cPTSD. And more recently, a neurological condition that impacts his daily life.
Jay (They/Them) is a BIPOC, Enby, Pan, and Poly.
As such, we welcome artists and authors of all diversities to submit their work for consideration.