Madrona Branch Press: Lessons in Logos, Publishing, and Humility

I thought this was the equation: carefully-edited manuscript + self-publishing tools + a lil’ bit o’ cash + a lotta time = BOOK. I thought I was all set to launch my YA novel, The Flying Burgowski, out into the world.

Turns out I was missing a few variables.

“What’s your publishing name going to be?” my book designer, Bob Lanphear, asked me about a week ago, over the phone.

“Umm, you mean, like, a pen name? I wasn’t planning to do that…”

“No,” he explained patiently. “The name of your press. You know, what you want it to say on the spine of your book, on the back cover, on the copyright page, under the title.” He named three other books he’d designed, books by friends of mine: Iris Graville’s Hands At Work, Lorrie Harrison’s Kindred Spirits, and Holly Bower’s With Love and Butter. “Look at those books and you’ll see what I mean.”

“But I don’t have a press, I’m self-publishing,” said Gretchen, Queen of Obvious.

“Yes,” Bob said. I couldn’t actually hear him rolling his eyes over the phone, but if he wasn’t, he sure had a right to. “But there’s no need to advertise that fact to the world. Your book will look much more professional with the name of a press, rather than” (here he named a fairly well-known  corporation associated with chewing up small bookstores and spitting them out book company. “So you should choose a good name. Then let me know what kind of logo it should have.”

Me: “Logo?”

Bob: “eye roll”

So I got right to work on that. Unfortunately, I have a terrible horrible non-existent poor eye for design. (I think that’s why I write: since I can’t draw the picture, I need the thousand words.)

Fortunately, I have a great sense of metaphor and a beautiful landscape to live in. As soon as I started thinking of a good name for Gretchen Wing Press, Inc., the image came to me: that self-supporting madrona branch. Remember that? My metaphor for independent publication.

Fortunately again, I have Bob. He took my madrona branch from this…

tree 3








to this:

Isn't she lovely?

Isn’t she lovely?

So–phew. Thanks, Bob. Got that taken care of.

Two days later I met with my  guardian angels of all things literary writing group to go over my Marketing Plan for The Flying Burgowski.

“Do you have your author web page set up?” they asked me.

“My blog? Yeah–all set!” said Gretchen, Queen of Oblivious.

“Noooo….” my group replied kindly. (I’m paraphrasing, ok? But they were kind.) “An author page is a static page where people go to learn about you as an author, or about your books. It has a link to your blog. But it’s not the same.”

“I need one of those too?” I whimpered said. “I thought I was all ready…”

Again: no visible eye-rolling. (I chose a great writing group)

But once again, with the help of web-maestra, Adrienne Adams at Cloud Islands, I got my author web page set up and linked to Wing’s World.

Don’t believe me? Click here.

So NOW can I make a book? Tune in for the answer on February 7, right here!

But meanwhile, I’d love to hear from you. Have you ever designed or imagined a logo for yourself? What did you choose, or what would you choose, and why?

6 thoughts on “Madrona Branch Press: Lessons in Logos, Publishing, and Humility

  1. This post Makes. My. Day! You’re an inspiration, Gretchen! I didn’t even THINK about rolling my eyes when we sat around the writing group table last week; it was great fun to share in your excitement and energy about your book-publishing journey. And how you’ve soared with these latest steps! Love the logo. Love the author website. I’m going to promote the hell out of what you’re doing to all of my social media connections – as soon as I finish up revisions on one more chapter of my memoir manuscript! You’re flying high!

  2. Gretchen: What a great article on publishing! Submit some variation of it to Writer’s Digest. They’ll love it. And if they don’t, they should. I know I do! Hang in there…you are doing good things. I’m waiting to see what heppens next….

    I am renting a room in a house on the top of a hill overlooking Todos Santos.It belongs to my friend’s friend and I feel like Yertle the Turtle, as I sit on the patio looking down over my kingdom. Todos Santos is a palm tree covered oasis that sits on an alluvial plain. Rolling desert punctuated with an occasional cactus surrounds it on three sides and it ends in a river of golden sand at the edge of the Pacific Ocean. The beaches are gorgeous! And unlike in Cabo, some still remain unspoiled. That is, there are no people, no buildings, no vehicles. Just sand and water and waves. This area is still almost as unspoiled as the island of Hawaii was in the early1960s. There are in the town the requisite art galleries and souvenir shops, but the few tourists here and there are still outnumbered by the roosters and the dogs. A lot of streets are unpaved and dusty although literally as I watch, there are several places where asphalt is being laid for the fist time. The fishermen still go out and if you are on the beach when they come in, you can buy some. Mostly, they sell the days catch to shops and the ubiquitous open air restaurants which will prepare it any way you like. . As for me, I’m working on my story line and writing almost every day.Life is delicious. Hugs, Ann

    On Tue, Feb 4, 2014 at 11:46 AM, Wing’s World

  3. Wow, Ann. What a lovely response to find on my blog! And you say MY stuff is publishable–this is a beautiful little vignette you’ve painted. I am so glad for you. Soak up some sun, eat some fish & maybe a mango? for me, and stay in touch! I will see you in April. Abrazos!

  4. Great post Gretchen 🙂 My husband suggested Raven’s Lair Publishing. Then a few days later he caught a great photo of a raven on a gravestone – and with a bit of magic from free photo to drawing software … I had a logo! I only cursed at the software a couple of times lols.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s