We had the good fortune of connecting with Deborah Herman and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Deborah, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
When you have a creative mind, it is impossible not to pursue a career that will allow you this freedom. I tried, but it didn’t work. The amusing thing is I was a visual arts prodigy and my mother, a product of the early days of the women’s movement, admonished me that fine arts would not be a way to support myself. I was also a good student, so I decided early on to become a lawyer. I went to law school, but during my first year, I became bored, so I would go to a comedy club to watch my brother perform. The club owner asked me to write personality profiles of the comedians, and I discovered a love of writing. Eventually, I did a dual degree in law and journalism, and when my law briefs became too creative, I switched to writing and publishing. It was a natural progression that also coincided with a spiritual path that has allowed me to express myself not only in writing but artistically as well. I am now the author of thirteen traditionally published nonfiction books, including a recent bestseller, and have an indie publishing company. I have worked on all sides of publishing, including as a literary agent, and have also mastered skills in graphic design. I was steered away from my early love of visual arts, but the desire and creativity never left me. Every day, I find ways to express my artistic and creative side, which gives me great joy.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a business person, but I consider myself an artist and creative. My company, Micro Publishing Media, is an indie hybrid publishing company with traditional distribution that offers an alternative for the entrepreneurial author. After years as a literary agent and author, I observed that the industry was changing, and many quality authors didn’t have the option to land publishing contracts. On the other hand, the ease of access to self-publishing platforms lowered the quality of the books being made available to readers. My husband and I co-founded a social network for Writers, Agents, and Editors at a time when social media marketing seemed like the wild west. An entrepreneur gave me a self-publishing platform to run. I decided to return to school through Rutger’s mini MBA program and achieved three certifications in Digital Marketing Strategy, Social Media Strategy, and Entrepreneurship. Working with academics rather than hucksters showed me the changes in marketing disrupting publishing and how people buy books. While the social network was still a good idea and is now called writersnetworking.com, the self-publishing platform proved non-sustainable. The books were not curated for quality, the design was poor, and there was no sales plan. I reverse engineered a good idea and rebuilt it as a hybrid company, Micro Publishing Media. Hybrid means the authors pay for certain author services to meet the publishing industry’s standards so their books can compete in the marketplace. Unlike vanity presses, this is actual publishing but a significant step up from self-publishing, where authors are entirely on their own.
I created the company to be similar to the modern way search engines work. I aggregate the titles I publish into themes so readers can find what they want to read. There is so much competition for entertainment time in today’s world that people want to belong to smaller tribes. So I have an imprint (publishing division) dedicated to spirituality called Soul-Odyssey Books, one dedicated to nostalgia called TV Classics Press, one for books about UFOs called UFO Books Press, and others. My authors have professional guidance and a higher royalty for this collaborative approach.
One of the lessons I learned while building my company is that many people do not take the time to learn the craft of writing and the business of publishing. People would not wake up one day and say, “I think I will become a brain surgeon.” Writing is an art, but there are rules to what makes a manuscript worth reading. And the publishing industry is a business. I have spent over 25 years in all aspects of this industry, so when someone is not humble and believes they know better than the professionals because they read a few blogs or talked to some friends, I am more likely to choose not to work with them. In the past, I might have given more time to people unwilling to learn and take advice. I listen to my authors, and when I edit, I do everything I can to capture their vision and voice, but sometimes people have an inflated sense of self-importance. I hate to sound harsh, but all artists need to pay their dues and have a sense of gratitude if there are people who have walked the path before them who can guide them along the way.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I live in the Berkshires in the westernmost part of the state of Massachusetts. It is my soul-mate place, as my daughter once told me when we first moved here. The Berkshires must have a lot of quartzite, because rumor has it that the area attracts and enhances creativity. We are considered a cultural resort in the summer, and people come in from NYC to enjoy the scenery, theater, music, and dance we offer. When friends visit, I take them to see the Norman Rockwell Museum. Stockbridge, MA, is where Norman Rockwell spent many years. He would ride his bicycle down Mainstreet every day and proclaimed Stockbridge the best place to live. The Norman Rockwell museum is dedicated to illustration art and different yearly exhibits. One year we had an exhibit of all the Hanna- Barbera animation cells, original art, and kitsch. The permanent exhibit is of Norman Rockwell’s original work, and it is astounding to see these classic paintings in person. They also have a room displaying all of his magazine covers. Another great place is Chesterwood. This is the former summer home of Daniel Chester French, the famed sculptor known for the Lincoln Memorial. His preserved workshop’s museum has samples of the Lincoln Memorial work in progress. It also houses masks of Lincoln’s face and hands.
We have the Mount, the home of author Edith Wharton, Arrowhead, where Herman Melville wrote Moby Dick, and other places built during the Gilded Age when the Berkshires were the summer home of the country’s wealthiest families.
While the Berkshires doesn’t have many restaurants, what we do have are excellent. On Friday nights, the street in Great Barrington is blocked off for Busker Night, and musicians are stationed in different places to entertain the people wandering through town. Bizen is a Japanese restaurant with a great macrobiotic menu for those following a primarily vegan diet. That is my favorite restaurant for downtown Great Barrington, although we also take our guests to the Red Lion Inn.
The best part of the Berkshires is the clean air, nature trails, lakes, and quaint towns. No matter where I travel, I am always happy to be home.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are so many people who have loved, supported, and mentored me along my journey. My husband, Jeff Herman, had been my champion and also taught me the business of publishing as he has had a long and successful career as a literary agent. More importantly, he is the stepdad to my three children and helped make us a cohesive, loving family. My three children, Shana, Joshua, and Jessica, have inspired me in so many ways. They are each clever and creative and kept me on my toes. They have spouses and significant others, and my son has given me a grandchild who is the next generation of amazing. My brother and sister, Larry and Brenda, are both friends and family. I am the youngest, so when they weren’t bossing me around, they gave me the support and guidance I needed. And my brother is hilarious and only ten months older than me.
There are numerous supportive friends and mentors. My friend Rebecca is one of my longest friendships and has seen me through all my ups and downs. My team of editors and designers like Jane McWhorter make my job look easy. It is impossible to name everyone who adds quality to my life and work. I will always be grateful to Diane Lake, who took a chance on me to write her memoir. It raised the bar for my skillset. And lastly, my parents were a great example of hard work and creativity; I miss them every day.

Website: https://www.micropublishingmedia.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorbrandingsolutions/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bookpublishingexpert/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Digitaldeborah

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Micropublishingmedia

Other: https://www.soulodysseybooks.com

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