Raised in the Appalachian hills of southeastern Kentucky, Jason Sizemore is a three-time Hugo Award-nominated editor, a writer, and operates the science fiction, fantasy, and horror press Apex Publications. He is the author of the collection of dark science fiction and horror shorts Irredeemable and the tell-all creative nonfiction For Exposure: The Life and Times of a Small Press Publisher. He currently lives in Lexington, KY. For more information visit ApexBookCompany.com.
WHAT LED YOU TO START WORKING IN DIGITAL/MEDIA PUBLISHING?
Apex Publications actually started as a print-only quarterly periodical (named Apex Science Fiction & Horror Digest) with major distribution via Ingram. After a few years, I grew disillusioned with the traditional distribution system and decided to move the zine to online only (under the name Apex Magazine).
This occurred right as the eBook revolution hit the publishing business, meaning our timing was spot on. The digital side of Apex (we now do books along with the zine) brings in nearly 75% of our annual revenue.
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
I imagine it’s quite boring. I work from home, so my day is filled with a mix of Apex work, household chores, and entertaining Pumpkin the Cat.
In general, email begins my work day. It’s an hourlong ordeal. I do the accounting books. Then I meet with my two editors via online messaging to set the day’s direction. I check to make sure nothing has blown up on social media.
After all that, I finally do the fun stuff like editing and publishing!
WHAT’S YOUR WORK SETUP LOOK LIKE?
My team uses a combination of Google Talk and Slack for group communication. Dropbox and Google Drive for business documents.
I spend my day with my nose in Photoshop, InDesign, Excel, WordPress, Vellum, and Firefox.
WHAT DO YOU DO OR GO TO GET INSPIRED?
Being a publisher, it should come as no surprise that I read when I need to open the creative well.
When I need to turn it all off, I play horror-flavored video games such as Outlast, Resident Evil, and Dead Space.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PIECE OF WRITING OR QUOTE?
“Ours is not to reason why. Our is just to do and die.” — Alfred Lord Tennyson
WHAT IS THE PASSIONATE PROBLEM YOU ARE TACKLING AT THE MOMENT?
Growing pains! The company has doubled in size in the past year, and I’m finding that scaling our resources is a challenge both financially and logistically. It’s a nice problem, for sure.
IS THERE A PRODUCT, SOLUTION, OR TOOL THAT YOU THINK IS A GOOD MATCH FOR YOUR DIGITAL PUBLISHING EFFORTS?
Vellum has saved the company an incredible amount of time by simplifying the process of creating eBooks. For fiction, our primary product, Vellum is perfect.
ANY ADVICE FOR AMBITIOUS DIGITAL PUBLISHING AND MEDIA PROFESSIONALS JUST STARTING OUT?
Too many of them don’t have a basic grasp of business management principles. You’ll need to know basic accounting, business law, and copyright law.
You also need to have an understanding of social media culture. It’s a great medium for digital publishers to use, but it is a minefield if you’re not careful and considerate.