How We Began

by Annie Elizabeth

River Sanctuary Pub Annie_DavidSome time ago, when I was writing my book Affirmations for Everyday Living, my husband David and I were excited to learn about Print-on-Demand (POD) and quickly signed on to produce my book with one of the first POD companies, without spending time researching and comparing the available options for POD. I delved into the rules of book design and created my own interior layout and cover design. What we received was a quality product, however with a print cost (the author’s cost to buy their own books) that was prohibitively high. Although the package we paid for included “marketing” assistance, this basically included bookmarks and postcards to do our own promotion, and an announcement to an assortment of “media contacts” that is non-specific and produced no interest in my book. This, along with an arrangement for “royalty” payments that again favored the publisher, led us to quickly realize that this was a game seriously stacked against the author.

After having the experience of designing my own book, I realized that I enjoyed doing book design and was good at it. In addition, I am also a superb editor and proofreader after nineteen years of producing print materials and documentation to guide the medical school curriculum at Stanford University. Initially, we created Dreamwriter Author Services and began assisting authors to complete their work and get their books published. Our intent was to determine a few favorite POD publishers we could refer our authors to, according to their needs and goals (e.g., an author with less to invest up front who just wants a book in hand and sales through Amazon vs. an author who wishes to have the lowest possible per book copy cost and develop internet marketing).

So, David and I invested hundreds of hours in researching and comparing the packages and business practices of Print-on-Demand businesses. Out of the plethora of such businesses we researched, we found only a few that we felt comfortable to recommend to our authors – and even those had serious drawbacks. In general, what we found were convoluted websites that disguised the bottom-line (and often hidden) costs to the author, packages and practices that were not easily comparable one to another, lots of difficult- to-validate promises.

As longtime spiritual practitioners who are now retired from “real life” careers in the world of education, David and I were shocked by what we saw. Business after business we investigated was uniformly non-transparent – shall we say even devious? – about where they are making their money off of the client’s work. Well, you might say, “that’s not surprising, isn’t that the way all business is done?” Indeed, it appears that’s the established “successful” business model…

But in the arising new consciousness, that’s not good enough for us, and not worthy of our clients. We determined that we could, and would, give our clients the best there is available by establishing our own publishing company. Our business, the River Sanctuary, had already been established as a place for spiritual renewal, and so River Sanctuary Publishing was born with the mission to support hopeful authors to get their books published with the most elegant and beautifully designed cover and exterior, easy availability through Print-on-Demand, and the most author favorable terms to profit from their work, with assistance to launch the author and the work of their heart.