We had the good fortune of connecting with Connie Shaw and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Connie, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
I only publish books that I think have something new to offer that would advance the common cause. I want the books to have the potential to change readers’ lives, or at least be useful to them, and for the production of them to be the best use of my time, energy, and money. I don’t compromise on quality and I maintain co-creative relationships with the authors in pursuit of it.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Starting a business is very time-consuming–a lot of hard work–so you just have to be prepared for that going in. But it’s also very, very exciting! The feeling of holding the first book we published in my hands is one I’ll never forget. You also need to accept that you will make mistakes, including ones that cost you money, but you will also get lucky breaks. You need to be willing to adjust your strategy as you learn more about your business, but just don’t give up on your vision.
For me it is important to treat my employees, contract workers, customers, vendors, and all business partners in a way I can be proud of–with respect, honesty, fairness, consideration, and all that good stuff. And an important part of my crew turned out to be interns, mostly from the local university–I’ve hired over 100 through the years.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Boulder has lots of great hiking trails–some of my favorites are Royal Arch Trail, Meyers Homestead Trail, and the trails at Eldorado Canyon State Park. A great place to eat, while surrounded by intricately carved and painted panels, ceiling, and posts, is the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse, which was shipped here in pieces from its original location in our sister city in Tajikistan and lovingly reassembled next to Boulder’s Central Park. Other favorite restaurants are Salt, The Kitchen, and Pizzeria Locale. I like hanging out in Boulder’s many great coffeehouses, especially Boxcar Coffee Roastery, which has fantastic lattes and wonderful pastries made in their own kitchen. And of course, browsing in Boulder Book Store, one of the best independent bookstores in the country, is always a favorite pastime. They have three levels with over 100,000 titles so it’s hard to leave empty handed!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The publishing association PubWest has been a tremendous help in keeping me on top of the constantly changing landscape of book publishing. I found the members to be very generous in sharing their knowledge and wisdom, and since I joined the organization when I was only a few years into my business, the hard-won know-how of those who had far more time in the game was invaluable. Eventually I served as a board member for a few years, which was a wonderful experience in itself. It’s an organization that doesn’t forget about having fun along with all the attention to business.