Written by: A.J. Brown and Becky Narron
I have met many authors, bloggers and publishers in my journey in the publishing and writing business, but none of them quite like Lisa Vasquez and Stitched Smiles Publications. Lisa has a fire burning in her for this business that you can see a million miles away. She demands the best from her staff and authors and they are all happy to oblige her. She refuses to put out crap and will not bend the rules on that. She is a force to be reckoned with and will happily slay any demons that come her way. She has a great team of editors that work tirelessly, and a marketing manager that will make your head spin with her amazing skills, as well as a video department working on incredible things.
It isn’t about the publisher for her. It is about the authors. They are treated with respect and their work is cherished and given the proper treatment they deserve.
Lisa also makes some of the most amazing book covers I have ever seen. This isn’t just any publishing company, and the staff she has assembled is much more than co-workers. They are a tight-knit family that truly love each other and who work hard to do things the right way. I’m very pleased to introduce you to Stitched Smiles Publications and Lisa Vasquez.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing since I could pick up a pencil but I wrote my first short story when I was about 9. I loved creating new worlds and people. It was a great escape from my own troubled time as a kid. My dad was very sick with renal failure and was in and out of the hospital, so life was very stressful.
How long have you been a publisher?
I published my own first novel a few years ago but as an official publisher, I started this year, January 3.
Both writing and publishing have their rewards and difficulties tell me some of each.
The reward is definitely that sense of accomplishment. Writing isn’t easy. It’s a lost art form in many ways. Where before people journaled and wrote elegant letters to one another, now we have email and text with emoticons that express emotions instead of words. I also think it’s rewarding to put all these blank faces and houses together. It reminds me of a scene in Clash of the Titans. He sets this little figure down in a miniature coliseum, and Perseus is given a new life, in a new place. The difficulties to writing are vast. Being under-appreciated is a big one. There’s so many books now with the boom of self publishing, that I feel many books are treated like dollar menu commodities. Our lives are so fast paced now, it’s hard to get people to stay still long enough to sink in and lose themselves in a story. Probably the biggest difficulty in writing for me, is finding time and privacy to do it.
Which one is harder?
The privacy to do it. Hands down. I work from home so I’m constantly interrupted to drive someone to work, keep up with house cleaning, having to run to the store, etc.
Stitched Smiles Publications is the name. How did that come about?
I was helping a few authors with various things. Mark Tufo was the first one, he was facing issues with a certain unnamed site for “facts” and we had the hardest time with them. They even accused me of being him because I hadn’t really used my account except to try and create his entry. I was helping Heath Stallcup with a cover, and then S.C. Stewart with another. And Heath suggested I give it a shot. I was not ready at the time. I worked with another publisher for a year, and in that time saw so much drama and constant repetition of the same things with different publisher names on it. I didn’t like what I saw my friends going through, so I took Heath’s advice. I researched everything I could and I’m still learning every day. The rest is history as they say.
Tell us more about SSP
SSP is really all about development. It’s a growing, living company. The members are passionate and so very talented. They share my vision and have the same desire to see indie publishing go to the next level. We have master classes with our SSU (Stitched Smile University), and internships where I hold no knowledge of publishing back. Whatever they want to learn, I teach them. And it works out amazingly because I learn just as much in return.
What does SSP offer that other pub houses don’t?
I’d say the development is huge. We don’t discount a story because it’s not polished. If we like it enough, we’ll work with the author to not only make it better, but teach them skills to use in everything else they do.
You said that you wanted SSP to change the face of publishing how do you plan on doing this?
First, we always put the author and their story ahead of us. Their book is the focal point. We help to polish the author’s social media, how they present themselves to book readers, buyers and the public in general, and how to market themselves to reach more readers organically.
Do you believe authors should help promote their work? If yes why?
Absolutely. Look, I get it. Marketing is tedious and for some it’s boring. But readers love the authors. They love hearing them speak. And reader loyalty doesn’t come from ads put out by publishers, they’re gained from authors putting in the heart and engaging them.
As a publisher, besides the Sales, what is the one thing you want for your authors?
I want them to feel success. To make their selves, their family, and their friends proud. And I want them to feel excited about their craft.
Where do you want SSP to be in 5 years?
I would love to see us stable, growing, creating new trends, and exposing new stories from new authors every year, while seeing continued growth from our veteran authors. I’d also like to see our master classes grow, and of course, more sales!
As always, thank you so much for talking with us and letting us get to know more about Stitched Smiles Publications. We wish you all the best and much success.