About Helen Ingeborg |
& Pinstripe Publishing
I started Pinstripe Publishing in 1986, the result of having interviewed a Seattle woman for a personality profile column I wrote for a local travel group. It turned out we had much in common—Swedish ancestry, a love of books and a penchant for writing. At the end of our first meeting, I had learned that she continued the work both she and her late husband had done in publishing Scandinavian-interest books about cooking and culture.
She had learned of my interest in things Scandinavian—I'd been silk-screening Scandinavian-motif wall hangings and selling—and my love of drawing and writing. She encouraged me to look into self publishing, to create a book combining my heritage and my artwork.
My research began in the public library. I read everying I could find on the topic, which was not much. I did find books by Dan Poynter and Tom & Marilyn Ross, and studied each of them intensely for two or three weeks. As my passion and knowledge grew, I saw opportunities beyond my present concept for creating other books about things I'd learned in jobs I'd held. But first-things-first: I needed to find a name for this business.
My last gainful employment was office manager at a new car dealership. I thought of how I'd hired and trained office staff, of how I'd streamlined the flow of paperwork from hand-written bookkeeping to computer-generated output. This change enabled me to construct the financial reports in a timely mannersomething other dealerships couldn't manage to do, according to what I'd heard at office manager seminars. Certainly, I could write a book showing how I'd made it work. Thinking back on my last job, I remembered glancing out of my office door to watch an artist render swirls, curls and fine straight lines on a shiny new car. Pinstriping, he called it. Pinstriping, I thought. Couple that with a how-to book on automotive office management and ... it fits! I'll call my company Pinstripe Publishing.
Under that name I, making all the classic errors of a novice, published my first Scandinavian how-to booklet. I learned a lot, and on my second attempt, I targeted my book to Swedish rather than Scandinavian, and sales increased. A few years later I bought my first computer, and was able to prepare and scan new artwork for full-color front and back covers in time for the next printing. Did my automotive how-to book ever go to print? No. By the time I could seriously consider it, computers had changed the way automobile dealership offices work. I did, however, publish a successful book on making newsletters, followed by a small business handbook.
The Swedish heritage book continues to sell well each year and the rest, as they say, is history.
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