Chelsea Prince’s passion for traveling and adventure has allowed her to explore all seven continents in search of her next “global story.” Now she’s managing to tell those stories in books, specifically readable coffee table books, affordable to the modern consumer. Chelsea Print & Publishing (www.chelseaprintandpublishing.com), an aesthetically-focused publishing company, is known for its commitment to storytelling, accessible professional art and the support of non-profits related to its published works.
As president, Chelsea ensures that her books combine professional photography with readable content, creating a threshold between art, books and causes by publishing quality books with 21st century storytelling. Chelsea tells us how she came to launch her company.
Can you point to one event that triggered your interest in your career?
My interest in publishing was compounded by years of surrounding myself with books, magazines, storytellers like my grandmother, and experience in the publishing industry. I started reading lengthy chapter books at four years old, and it’s no secret that my appetite for books is insatiable. I’m fortunate that I can translate that hobby into a career.
What about this career choice did you find most appealing?
Chelsea Print & Publishing publishes beautiful coffee table-style books, because I find the medium to be lasting and multi-functional. Coffee table books transcend. They are bought for both display and consumption, and so they become conspicuous personal expressions for each customer.
What steps did you take to begin your education or training?
I decided early that publishing and entrepreneurship intersect my many interests, so I studied magazine journalism at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. From there, I grabbed every opportunity to learn the different aspects of the business. I’ve worked the gamut, from big traditional publishing houses to various Internet publishing startups. I’ve experienced the advertising and editorial sides of publishing, and even owned an online venture, InternCircle.com, where I learned about the importance of juggling both.
Along the way, were people encouraging or discouraging?
Everyone has their opinion, but I think as an entrepreneur you have to forget the rejection and surround yourself with encouragement. I call it “selective amnesia.” If you put the discouraging moments on constant replay, progress and/or creativity just doesn’t happen. I am so blessed to have “Chelsea Prince Warriors” out there—friends and mentors— who provide an oasis of support and wisdom, spread the word and buy my books.
Did you ever doubt your decision and attempt a career change?
Of course! Doubt is the nemesis of courage, and entrepreneurship is a constant battle of courage. However, at the end of the day, this is my passion. The books I’m producing satisfy my creativity, my interests in culture, travel and art, and my natural inclination to execute with vision. I don’t see an end to my interest in publishing, and each time I push through the doubt I become stronger in my pursuit.
When did your career reach a tipping point?
It hasn’t reached a tipping point yet! I look forward to when that happens, although I’ll probably only notice “that moment” in hindsight.
Can you describe a challenge you had to overcome?
I realized that the text font size in my book Rock and Vine was too small just 24 hours before going to print! I had to have my designer re-structure the entire book. I sacrificed the deadline in favor of getting the book right. There are challenges daily, and I know that will never change.
What single skill has proven to be most useful?
The ability to write, and write fast.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
I’ll always remember the moment I got a letter from Barnes & Noble, asking to purchase my first book Snowcial for its stores.
I had sent the book to Barnes & Noble’s Small Press department (at the time I didn’t have a distributor) just days after the book arrived from the printing press. The department accepts more than 100,000 unsolicited submissions, so it was a shot in the dark. Plus, I didn’t know anyone at B&N, the book hadn’t officially released so there wasn’t any marketing or press activity, and it was the first book for my company, Chelsea Print & Publishing. Eight weeks later I received a signed letter from the company, and it was the closest I’ve come to losing my breath (well, besides the waves of several asthma attacks in my youth). It was particularly monumental because I knew that the acceptance was based on merit alone.
Any advice for others entering your profession?
The bottom line in this business comes down to relationships. It’s amazing what doors can open when you are genuine and kind.