Susan Schadt, owner of Susan Schadt Press, is a native Memphian who previously served as the President and CEO of ArtsMemphis. In her Q&A, she discusses why she decided to Choose901 as the perfect place to open her own publishing house.
Choose901: What made you want to create Susan Schadt Press?
Susan Schadt: It all started with a fishing trip. But that’s a very long story for another day (and another book).
If someone told me eight years ago when I published my first book, First Shooting Light (Wild Abundance Publishing, 2008), that I would start my own publishing company, Susan Schadt Press in 2015, I would have made a huge wager against that probability. Becoming a publisher, editor and occasional author was never a passion. It has been a generative, creative, evolving prototype that I tried, liked and developed over years, and ultimately publishing, editing and writing four acclaimed books between 2008-2014. As we launch publications number five and six in 2016, the publishing business now provides me with a life full of collaborative opportunity, an “encore career” that is fulfilling, joyful and exciting and in which I can thrive and create a life I love on so many levels.
C901: How is Susan Schadt Press bringing awareness to Memphis?
Susan: As a native Memphian, it’s thrilling to realize that our niche publishing house has generated interest nationally. Imagine receiving phone calls from total strangers, contacting me from around the county about publishing their books. A New York publisher known for publishing some of the most beautiful illustrated books in the world pushed me hard to become a co-brand or a part of their imprint with REEL MASTERS.
We have taken on some of those book projects, but not the publishing house offer. At Susan Schadt Press our currency is access, made possible early on by Memphians, local business leaders, hunters, chefs, conservationists, photographers and nonprofits. Trusted to produce quality and authenticity, to be true to their voices, to chronicle their stories and those of their friends and contemporaries, we strive for perfection, always. “Best For The Brand” requires independent publishing where we call the shots and everything matters.
We are also deeply committed to celebrate the abundance of stories that are Memphis centric, but nationally revered, with a business model that enables individuals like Justin Fox Burks & Amy Lawrence to launch their second book, the highly acclaimed, The Chubby Vegetarian (Fall, 2016) and organizations like Shelby Farms Park Conservancy to launch Shelby Farms Park: Elevating A City (Fall, 2017).
Our publications continue to receive rave reviews from local and national press & media.
C901: What are you doing to give back to the community?
Susan: On all titles that are authored, edited and published by Susan Schadt such as REEL MASTERS: CHEFS CASTING ABOUT WITH TIMING & GRACE., we donate a portion of the proceeds from book sales to non-profits chosen by each chef for their community.
For our non-profits clients, we work on a fee basis that allows incremental revenues at two-three times greater than the standard publisher’s royalty and complete ownership of the final product by the organization. For Memphis non-profit clients, we also discount our publisher’s fee.
C901: What advice would you give other Memphians who aspire to open their own business?
Susan: Luck matters and it takes a team. I was raised by an entrepreneur. My father and grandfather were both self-made men and my father was a perfect mentor and role model.
Entrepreneurs share characteristics that are crucial to success: tenacity, risk tolerance, awareness, curiosity, team building, and relating to others. They stress teamwork through collaboration, connection, “coaching” from a few important people, and engagement with a wide reaching community. They also know that everything matters.
I am often described as being lucky, a trait I now know means learning to recognize opportunities that we are all presented with frequently. We must make the choice to actively work those favorable conditions, to create and work a plan. It takes practice and coherency. A mantra that our team has adopted as a touchstone for this strategy and ensuing success is the memorable yet current phrase aptly articulated by Stanford University design educators, Bill Burnett & Dave Evans, “get good at being lucky.”
Susan Schadt Press titles have received praise and acknowledgements from various outlets across the country including The Chubby Vegetarian in The Washington Post and REEL MASTERS in Feast Magazine. The Commercial Appeal, Memphis Flyer, and Edible Memphis, along with countless other local outlets, have featured book reviews and author interviews.