Written by Caitlin Jans April 6th, 2023

Authors Publish Turns Ten

Jacob Jans and I got married twelve years ago, and on our first anniversary we talked about how we would never ever work together. About six months later, Jacob needed help launching a Facebook page for Freedom With Writing, which was relatively new at the time. He kept complaining about how he could not get the marketing off the ground. I looked at the page and could tell why it wasn’t working right away. It was all text based.

So I ended up whipping up a few quote memes and sending them to him with a note that said, “Hire someone to make these.” By the end of the day, the first meme had ten times more likes than anything else he’d ever posted, and he was already asking me to make more.

I’m not sure when exactly the meme making, and social media managing, turned into working together, but at some point before our second anniversary we agreed that,oh well, we broke that rule”. Which is good, because I was able to convince Jacob that he needed to start Authors Publish with me. Since then I have run the editorial side of the business and he has managed the logistical side. Without his practical know-how, I would be lost.

I knew right from the start that I wanted to start a website that made publishing more accessible. I could see how publishing in literary journals could make people’s whole careers, and yet many writers didn’t know they existed, and if they did know they existed, they still didn’t understand how they functioned.

Duotrope, which had helped me start my literary journal journey, had just started charging subscribers, and I wanted to create a website that would help authors  get started without charging anything. I was teaching at Seattle Pacific University at the time and I could see how much a site like that could help my creative writing students.

The first issue of Authors Publish had three subscribers, and it took about six months for Authors Publish to really get off the ground. The turning point was when we started adding one review of a manuscript publisher seeking direct submissions to each issue. This was based on readers’ feedback and it really did make a huge difference.

Over the years we’ve kept growing and evolving and things have very much changed. The one major business shift we’ve made in the past ten years, is in terms of how we make our income. We initially made all of our money from ads, but over time we’ve shifted into offering courses, that have a cost attached. Authors paying for the courses help make the newsletter possible.

Now we have over 200,000 subscribers, and our resources are regularly shared by organizations like The Society of Writers, Authors Guild, and by BA, MA, and MFA programs at major universities throughout North America.

We also offer eBooks and lectures for free, as well.

We are hoping to celebrate our tenth anniversary with some great guest lectures in the fall, and I almost didn’t write this, but I thought it was important to mark this anniversary in a small way, before it, too, zoomed past, and thankfully a lot of subscribers helped as well by sharing some very thoughtful messages, which I also share in this issue.

I also want to share my gratitude for our long term contributors, S. Kalekar, Ella Peary, and Emily Harstone, They are very much the reason Authors Publish is successful, and I’m grateful for their abilities as writers and researchers.

It’s also important to thank, S Bavishya for the wonderful job she’s done with our social media presence over the last year.

We are also very grateful that for the last five years we’ve lived and worked in Toronto, or Tkaronto, which was this region’s traditional name. Toronto is covered by Treaty 13 and the Williams Treaties, and is the traditional home and unceded land of the Ho-de-no-sau-nee-ga (Haudenosaunee), the Anishinabewaki ᐊᓂᔑᓈᐯᐗᑭ,  Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, Mississauga and the Wendake-Nionwentsïo.

I have a mixed relationship with land acknowledgements, which is to say that I think it is very important to acknowledge whose land we are really living and working on, and that this acknowledgement can be a potential source of disruption, but I also feel like it can come off as rote, as something said without intention or meaning, or follow up. So every time I do this, I also recommend a different book written by an Indigenous author, which this time is The Gift is in the Making: Anishinaabeg Stories by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. Among other things, we also regularly contribute to local Indigenous organizations, like the Anishnawbe Health Foundation.

I am very grateful that I was able to spend the past ten years doing something I love, and I hope to continue to do so for a long time.

— Caitlin Jans

Caitlin Jans is co-founder of Authors Publish and The Poetry Marathon. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies and literary journals including: The Adroit Journal, Rust + Moth, Barrow Street Journal, and Killer Verse. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, BILiNE, and The Best of the Net.You can learn more about her writing at www.caitlinthomson.com. You can follow her on FB here.


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