Bend author, journalist and editor, Kim Cooper Findling, didn’t expect her family vacation at the Oregon coast in August to lead to a new business opportunity. But that trip, along with some serendipitous circumstances and timing, resulted in Findling becoming the new owner of independent publishing company, Dancing Moon Press.
Findling will celebrate this transition at an event on Thursday in Bend with former Dancing Moon Press owner Carla Perry.
Founded by Perry in 1995 in Yachats, Dancing Moon Press has assisted in the publication of almost 300 paperback, hardcover and e-books of both poetry and prose in a variety of fiction and nonfiction genres. The company also provides consulting and marketing services and training about all aspects of the publishing process. The business is largely virtual, with Perry establishing a network of freelance designers and editors and outsourcing physical printing.
Findling has two decades of media and literary industry experience. She is an editor at Oregon Media (the publisher of Bend Magazine), journalist and author of a memoir and two travel guides including her most recent book, “Bend, Oregon Daycations: Day Trips for Curious Families.” However, she wasn’t planning a corporate takeover when she discovered Dancing Moon Press and began communicating with Perry in late 2017.
When Findling found Perry, she was looking for a publisher for a novel she co-authored with her now 13-year-old daughter, Libby. She had spent about a year pitching the manuscript to traditional publishers, but despite some interest, wasn’t able to secure a deal.
“Having had some success with publishing before, I didn’t expect it to be so difficult,” Findling said. “And having written this with my daughter, I wasn’t willing to just shelve it but didn’t want to completely self-publish it. So I started looking around for other options and discovered Dancing Moon Press.”
Perry was enthusiastic about the novel, but Findling was still waiting to hear back from some traditional publishers, so the two didn’t formalize an agreement about the manuscript. When Findling was in Newport in August, she and Libby went to meet with Perry in person for the first time and discuss the novel. It was then that Perry told Findling she was planning to retire and asked if the author might be interested in taking over the business.
“It wasn’t something I’d considered before, but it was really cosmic and amazing,” Findling said. “While surprising, it was just something I couldn’t say ‘no’ to.”
The sale was finalized in late October, and Findling will be able to manage Dancing Moon Press from Bend. She plans to continue the business in much the same vein as Perry has operated it, although she has made some initial changes including a new logo and revamped website (dancingmoonpress.com.)
Findling hasn’t been resting on her laurels while completing the ownership transition at Dancing Moon Press. She still has her day job at Oregon Media and has also secured a contract from an East Coast publisher to write another Oregon travel book. There also are several projects in the works at Dancing Moon with both existing and new clients.
The first book to be published under the Dancing Moon Press imprint with Findling at the helm will be “The Sixth Storm” — the novel she co-wrote with her daughter — which is scheduled for release in March. The plot: The story is a supernatural thriller about a family legacy of mysterious deaths during devastating storms in a small Oregon Coast town. Sky Clancy, 14, embarks on a journey to solve the mystery and reverse the curse.
Dancing Moon Press offers something of a hybrid between the traditional publishing process and self-publishing. Authors pay the company to produce and publish their book but keep the rights to their work and proceeds from sales. The writers have significant involvement in the cover and text design process and choose which of Dancing Moon’s other support services they wish to utilize, including a team of professional designers, editors and publishers. However, Findling will screen submitted proposals and manuscripts to ensure they meet certain criteria for publication.
“It’s not come one, come all,” Findling said. “We want to be open to more people than traditional publishers, but there’s definitely going to be a submission process and some quality control, so it’s not necessarily self-publishing. The authors we publish are still under the umbrella of an established imprint.”
Despite her previous involvement in the publishing industry as an author, Findling admits to some trepidation in her new role as publisher.
“It’s a challenge for sure, and I have a lot to learn,” she said. “I do know a lot about the process, but it’s also a system that’s continually evolving and changing. I’ve really been looking for a way to do more mentoring in my life. At this point in my career it’s not just about my own projects, its about sharing what I’ve learned.”