As Kobayaashi Studios finally ‘comes out’ as an independent publisher, I’m reminded of the oft-quoted words by Winston Churchill : “This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”
Of course, I’m not comparing the birth of a publishers to the years-long war which tore apart the world, but the words themselves resonate with me. Those of us involved with bringing Kobayaashi Studios to life have reached a point on which we’ve been focusing for quite some time. Books have been written, a few have been selected to be the first to be published, covers have been designed, ISBNs purchased and assigned, blurbs written, promotional images created, the website is now up & running and we’ve started to get the word out via social media.
It’s been a slog, and now we’ve published the initial books and have them for sale, we’re suddenly able to see that beyond the bumpy, rocky road along which we’ve been trekking for so long… is more rocky road!
The Beginning of the Beginning…
KS was formed back in the olden days of the 00s. Following a number of years spent being involved in different artistic and creative projects, from photo-repair to creating and selling board games, I adopted the Kobayaashi moniker (from the lawyer to Keyser Söze, in ‘The Usual Suspects’), and KS was born!
Working together with my wife, and being joined at times by a number of other creatives, we wrote & produced ‘Scruff City’ (a serial photographic comic adventure, which is currently in the process of being adapted as a set of novellas), devised a range of puzzles, some of which (‘Sujiko’ and ‘Suko’) have been appearing in newspapers & magazines around the world for the past ten years, and also (as ‘Radical Arts Theatre School’) wrote & produced a range of musical stage productions and short films featuring child actors.
So, then came the idea that KS should focus its energies on being, officially, a publishing house.
We had a range of works we’d already completed, others we wanted to do, and we knew there was a niche into which we could fit, for those who found themselves a little too kooky for mainstream publication. It was all systems go.
Then I was brought down by Shingles. Not nice at all. Pain. Discomfort. Exhaustion. Mental fog. I wasn’t able to think properly, let alone create plans, or put them into action.
Slowly, I recovered. Not 100%, but I began to feel a little better, and was looking forward to immersing myself once more into ‘Operation Set-Up-A-Publishers’.
Then, in February last year, after spending some time with a friend who had fallen ill while travelling in India, I got so ill I thought I was going to die. I’ve never felt that way before, where I literally lay in bed for days, convinced I wasn’t going to make it through.
Since that time I’ve been suffering from fatigue, more exhaustion, more brain fog, chest pains, breathing problems and other symptoms associated with ‘Long Covid’.
So, I took things easy, did my best not to overdo things as I recuperated. I continued to write, but when it’s difficult to think because it feels like you’ve taken a few valium and your head’s full of cotton wool, writing – or thinking in general – doesn’t come easy.
Then, as the Covid plague spread across the globe, and we headed into ‘Lockdown I’ (though we just called it ‘Lockdown’, because we were told it would only be the one, and it would all be over soon – how naïve we were!), my wife broke her foot, because cats are evil.
Then, a month later, while gently ambling to the local recycling centre, just a 10 minute slow-walk away, with a couple of bags of glass bottles & jars, I tripped and fell right on top of the bags, crushing my chest on top of the bottles & jars.
I’m not making this up. We were not having a good time.
Nevertheless, we persevered, our bodies began to mend, and slowly we put our plans in motion, throughout ‘Lockdown II’ and ‘Lockdown III’, selecting which titles we would publish first, sorting ISBNs, designing layouts & covers, getting books printed, making our mistakes and learning from them, until we were ready to say “Hey, world – here we are!”
The End of the Beginning…
And so, that’s where we are now. Letting the world know we’re here. Offering up our first titles, and reflecting on the long road that has led us here.
And now we can see what lies ahead. More road, but also an exciting journey to be taken along that road. We have no idea where it leads, or where it might take us – what new people we’ll meet, what new challenges we’ll face – but we’re excited to have reached the end of the beginning, and to find ourselves at… the beginning of the middle? Wherever this is, we’re glad to be here – and if you’re reading this, we’re glad to have you along for the journey.
Be well, fellow-travellers. All the best from all of us at Kobayaashi Studios.