Okanagan publisher winning with sweat equity

Book columnist Heather Allen from Penticton writes about an Okanagan publishing company.

Large publishing houses are laying off workers or, in some cases, closing their doors.

“These can be tough times in publishing,” says Darcy Nybo, owner of Artistic Warrior, a publishing company in West Kelowna.

Artistic Warrior is part of an emerging trend of successful small publishing houses. “Like most things today, it’s small and efficient and mostly visible online.”

Nybo is not new to the business of writing. She currently works as a freelance journalist, and also runs a book editing business. She saw launching a publishing house as the logical next step.

To date, Artistic Warrior has published two books: Seeds of Change by Teresa May, and just last week launched Out of Darkness by Shawnah Sky. Two more are books in the works.

Looking for ways to cut costs, more and more publishers expect authors to edit their manuscripts prior to being accepted at a publishing house. This new trend, along with the equally growing popularity of self-publishing, puts the onus on writers to either pay for editing services, or spend more time working on drafts. But the reduction of in-house editing enables small companies like Artistic Warrior to compete.

“Editing is an expensive and long, drawn out process,” says Nybo. “The less time and money I have to spend on a book, the more likely I am to look at a book seriously.”

Nybo is also finding new ways to promote her authors. Along with traditional methods of book signings and catalogue distributions, Nybo uses social media.

“I put their information on Artistic Warrior’s website and Facebook and tweet the heck out of them.”

She also encourages her authors to promote their own books.

“I’ve told my latest authors that the real work starts after they’ve finished their first draft.”

In the end, the hard work pays off.

“Seeing an author’s face when you hand them the very first copy of their book, and then again when they sell their first copy … it’s so worth it.”

Artistic Warrior can be found at artisticwarrior.com. Nybo will be at the B.C. Interior Book Festival & Writers’ Conference at the Penticton campus of Okanagan College, which runs on July 7, from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. and July 8 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Writers interested in attending the conference or authors with books to sell are asked to contact Red Toque Books at dave@redtuquebooks.ca for tickets and more information.


Heather Allen is a writer and reader living in Penticton.