Now that June is here we are thoroughly in the midst of our summer production schedule. As always, we have a variety of projects in production as well as more in development that will enter actual production either this upcoming fall or spring.
As for textbooks, we have five in production that will be ready for fall adoptions: The Quick Math Review by Diana Gafford and Dr. Mike Hosseinpour, both from TSTC Harlingen; Contemporary Math with MAPLE by Dr. Otto Wilke, TSTC Waco; two nursing books put together by the nursing faculty at TSTC West Texas in Sweetwater, and a tool and die projects book by Art Olivares at TSTC Harlingen. In addition, we are doing some odds and ends of updates/corrections to current titles in print before we start our summer print run. (As always, we do enough books for about one semester at a time to keep our printing and storage costs down.) I was hoping that we might do a couple of books via offset printing as opposed to digital print-on-demand means but I’m not sure if at this point there is time to put that together.
In addition, we have a whole slate of projects in development that will enter the actual production cycle at different points in the future: an ethics reader/anthology, two technical dictionaries, a coffee-table book about TSTC, and the epic hand tools book that is, finally, nearing completion, although not quite quickly enough to be ready for this fall. The ethics reader is a new kind of project we’re working on: all the articles in it come from outside sources so we’re doing a lot of permissions research and negotiating that, when it all comes together, should produce a well-rounded book that will have given us good experience with working with folks outside of the TSTC System.
We also have one of our interns working on a bird’s eye view map of the TSTC Waco campus; he’s been working on this for a couple of months now and we plan on having this done in time for holiday sales this fall. (Last year I saw an exhibit at the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, of nineteenth century bird’s eye view maps of Texas that gave me the idea to put something like this together for our college.) We’re also working on some sample line drawings in different styles of native Texas plants and flowers as part of a possible subcontracting job for another publisher working on a Texas gardening reference guide.
In terms of pro bono work, we’re just waiting to get materials from the Waco Cultural Arts Fest folks to put together the catalog for their fall festival. We did this last year and look forward to doing it again.
I feel like we’re finally hitting our stride at TSTC Publishing. That is, the first couple of years we weren’t at the production level we are now and, in addition, we were doing a lot of loss leader and pro bono work as a way to learn to how to do different kinds of projects. Now that we’ve published 23 books in a little less than two years, we know how to do what we do—publish books—and are streamlining and refining our processes—as opposed to still devising and developing them from scratch—so that we are as efficient as possible. Marketing issues along with some new production capabilities—namely, print-on-demand perfect binding through TSTC Waco Printing Production—are what we’ll be concentrating on the next six months or so. All in all, we’re happily on track with the overall goal of being financially self-sustaining within the next 18-24 months so that’s making me—a perennially pessimistic optimist or, maybe, an optimistic pessimist, or, perhaps, a realist—feel as good about our future potential growth as I possibly could.