Overcoming obstacles

A few weeks ago, I reconnected with a colleague and occasional co-presenter on things POD, Ashley Gordon, to talk about Mockingbird Publishing, an imprint she started last year.

Doing what I do, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and forget what drew me to this particular profession. Listening to Gordon talk about Mockingbird, “a non-fiction imprint whose books marry text and photography to share stories with a larger social message”, serves as a reminder.

All Mockingbird Publishing projects are tied to a nonprofit organization, partnering to share proceeds and help the organization meet its objectives. As Gordon described it, “If ultimately Mockingbird doesn’t inspire someone to get out of their chair and do something, then we have failed.”

Their first book, “Year of Our Lord”, introduces Lucas McCarty, who was born with cerebral palsy so severe that he is unable to walk or speak. As told by author T.R. Pearson, this very visual story focuses on what McCarty has done for the people around him.

Although he can ‘talk’ only by using an augmented communication device, McCarty was so inspired by music that he joined a local black gospel choir, where our very notion of his disabilities shifts as he sings.

Last week, Gordon sent me a link of an excerpt from an upcoming documentary about Lucas McCarty. Take six minutes. It’s worth it.

Because books like “Year of Our Lord” are intended to be compellingly visual, Gordon has had to overcome digital hurdles to make the book work on Kindle, Nook Color and (hopefully soon) as an iBook. As a start-up publisher, she has faced a series of challenges getting the title stocked, discovered and bought. Word of mouth is strong, but viral takes time, even in an increasingly digital world.

In talking about this book, Gordon described its message as one of “overcoming obstacles, including those of our own making.” As the publisher of a new and difficult-to-categorize book, I think she joins all of us as people learning much from the story of Lucas McCarty.

I will be out of town next week, but I’ve heard that Gordon will be attending Digital Book World in New York. If you are there, seek her out – I know she’d love to talk about Mockingbird. Offer to buy a copy of the book and you might even get a couple of pointers to help you with print on demand…

About Brian O'Leary

Founder and principal of Magellan Media Consulting, Brian O’Leary helps enterprises with media and publishing components capitalize on the power of content. A veteran of more than 30 years in the publishing industry and a prolific content producer himself, Brian leverages the breadth and depth of his experience to deliver innovative content solutions.

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