In 2009, I started my first solo business. I had been in a partnership for the previous 3 years, and I wanted to build my own vision for a small community newspaper. I bought an existing newspaper that had gone out of business, and I reopened it under my own mission, a community newspaper that would be the voice of my own little piece of West Texas, my hometown of Stamford. Newspapers are in my blood starting back to my great, great grandparents, every generation has owned their own small community paper. I had not been in business very long when a local businessman came and sat in my office. He told me he believed in what I was doing, but he gave his own piece of advice. In a town of 3,000, it is important to diversify and always look to grow your business. I agreed and have grown that small community newspaper to two other community newspapers in Jones County, adding an existing newspaper that is 128 years old in Throckmorton, Texas, a bookstore in Stamford, and three years ago a publishing company.
To me becoming a book publisher was a natural progression. I share the stories that people need to tell each week in the pages of my newspapers, why not expand to telling them in a book version that can reach more people? I allocated money toward purchasing my first block of ISBN numbers and the rest as they say, is history.
Modern publishing is an odd beast much like modern newspapers. It is a world that is changing daily trying to adapt to the world around it and to me it is a very exciting time. Systems like Noisetrade, Goodreads, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter give our readers engagement with our authors and our publishing houses in ways we have never seen before. In short, the world is getting smaller, and we are connecting in ways that we only dreamed of 20 years ago. I am excited about the challenges ahead of us and excited for the people that have allowed me to have some hand in getting their story out there. I used to say that each week was like giving birth to a new baby, one that had a unique voice for the community it went into. Now every time I set up a new book, I have a new child. Unpacking the first box of each new book is like visiting a new friend.
Callie Metler-Smith is the owner of Clear Fork Media Group in Stamford, Texas. She has owned the Stamford American since 2009 and Clear Fork Publishing since 2014. When not working on her corner of the Stamford Square, she is spending time with her husband, Philip, two sons, Logan and Ben, and her niece, Sadey.