When I became a broker I dreamed I could serve customers best by hand-carrying their jobs to a printer who was the best fit, instead of attempting to bend the job to fit the printer where I was employed.
What a concept. No more square pegs into round holes, or vice-versa.
It seemed like a no-brainer, but even no-brainers, I’ve learned, are often met with resistance.
My name is Bill Ruesch. I wasn’t born beside a printing press, but sometimes it seems like it. When I first entered the printing business right out of high school, I was laughingly told to watch it or I’d get printing ink in my veins. That always sounded more frightening than welcome. Of course it wasn’t meant literally, but after years of fishtailing my way through a career that included, publishing, advertising, advertising space sales, life insurance, and always looping back into printing, I have concluded that those old hats had been right all along. I do have printing ink in my veins. Not everyone gets hooked. And there are days, like I said, when instead of being born by a press, I wish it had been the stage, the courtroom, or the operating table. Some career where I could work just as hard, but get more respect and earn a bigger reward. That would be nice. But that’s someone else’s life, not mine.
Maybe the draw is, and always has been, my ability to help people come to an understanding of the printing process, and as a result help create informative and beautiful things. There is nothing like a book, a magazine, a poster, even well-designed direct mail to please the eye, stimulate the heart, and open the mind. When it comes off the end of the press I know that I had a part in making it happen.
I have been working as a successful self-employed print broker in the Salt Lake City, Utah area for nearly twenty years. Prior to that I was employed as a sales representative for several local sheet-fed printers. My first job in printing was on a Goss-Suburban newspaper press in Tucson, Arizona. Later I went to work for Rotary Offset Printers in Denver, Colorado selling heat-set web printing. These experiences may not mean much to neophyte print buyers, but to those in the know, they understand that I am one of the few people in the country that can honestly say that I bring a wide breadth of knowledge to the table.
Why does this matter? Experience and expertise always matter. If you had to appear in court do you want the best attorney you can afford or a court appointed one? In the legal field the maxim is, “He who represents himself, has a fool for a client.”
Too many people make print buying choices who don’t understand, or even want to understand printing, and this leads to poor decision making. Bad decisions can hurt you in many ways, primarily they are: 1) Spending too much; or 2) Less than optimal quality. What, you aren’t very concerned about the quality? Often the only contact a customer has is through your printed material. Think about that customer. If they have to make their buying decisions about you, your products, or your company based largely on the printed matter you provide, will they be left with a good impression or a bad? Shabby printing leaves a shabby impression. Quality workmanship leaves a quality impression.
Birthing The Red Hen Association of Self-Publishing Authors
Two years ago I wrote a book that I titled “The Whistlin’ Salamander.” I had written and published poetry, but had never written a fictional novel. You can imagine how excited I was about becoming a novelist. I was sure I was headed into fame, wealth, and glory. But, I didn’t know what to do next. Getting the book printed was going to be a snap–but what about publishing? I bought some books that told me I had to have an agent, and to get an agent, I had to write a dang good query letter. I found a book of agents and began sending out letters. Some requested pages of the manuscript which I duly sent out, others did not.
After months of trying in vain to find an agent, in frustration I called a friend, Karen Christoffersen whom I knew worked with the famous author Richard Paul Evans. She suggested self-publishing because that is what Mr. Evans did. After he sold enough books on his own, the traditional publishers who had declined him before were lining up to buy publishing rights. He walked out of New York with over four million dollars. Could I do that too?
I have the background and connections to get a book produced, but I knew nothing about selling it. So I called another friend, Phil Davis, who created an on-line marketing program for authors. With his coaching and the marketing program “The Author Platform” I started blogging and using social networking. I was learning fast and it didn’t take long to realize how easily hopeful authors without my connections could be taken advantage of by unscrupulous publishers. I thought, if self-publishers could band together and share the word on worthy services, and warn each other about the bad ones, it would be a great service. I wrote the manifesto for The Red Hen Association of Self-Publishing Authors that you can find on this blog and am, very anxiously involved in the process of bringing it into reality.
If you need help with printing or publishing please contact me:
By Phone: (801) 474-1270
By Mail: P.O. Box 521418, Salt Lake City, UT 84152-1418
By Email: firstname.lastname@example.org