By Jacob Mathias
Working Class Publishing, a small independent publishing house located in Stevens Point, offers resources and support to local writers.
Working Class was founded in 2012 by Bob Ballard and his wife, Kelly Ballard. Originally from California, Bob has a degree in literature from the University of San Diego and after working as an editor and typesetter for James Publishing, a niche publisher of law manuals, decided he wanted to publish writers’ works that push convention and tell compelling stories. Both Bob and Kelly have been book lovers their entire lives.
“Writers and novelists especially are still really hung up on traditional publishing,” said Bob Ballard. “It’s not always the best deal. They have pretty bad rates for the most part and unless you’re already well known, you’re not likely to get on the best seller list.”
Ballard said success stories like E.L. James with “50 Shades of Grey” are the great exception and not the rule when it comes to successful first-time authors and small publishing houses allow more opportunities.
“That’s the other problem that you run into with traditional publishers is they only see dollar signs,” said Kelly Ballard. “And mostly for themselves so it’s got to be something they can market large scale.”
Working Class has currently published two books. Their first release was “Mercy & Other Stories” by D.H. Rodriquez which is described a “woman’s descent into drug fueled madness.” Their first major release is “Girls” by Shannon Brooke which collects the photography of the acclaimed pin-up artist came out in April 2015.
The publisher’s next book, due out in April, is in the same vein as “Girls,” a combination autobiographical, photographic and how-to book featuring the work of popular pin-up model Sabina Kelley. An interactive version of the book will be developed for e-readers as well.
Bob Ballard said there will always be a place for print books and he prefers them to the electronic version but looks forward to offering the interactive, electronic version alongside the print he publishes.
Working Class also offers a full-line of pre-print services for writers who want to self-publish including copy-editing, proofreading, typesetting and cover design which is the bulk of their work.
“The appeal of the small house is really the creative control,” said Bob Ballard. “We can offer creative contracts that major publishers can’t…What we sell as a small publisher is the time and the effort.”
He said while it’s possible to do the pre-print work independently, having someone trained in typesetting and editing will make for a better, more polished finished product.
With the small size of Working Class, the Ballards both work full-time at Sentry Insurance; Kelly is an underwriter and Bob works as a fraud investigator. Kelly originally worked for Sentry while living in Arizona and subsequently moved to Stevens Point to work in the main office.
For more information on Working Class Publishing and its services and to order its published works, visit www.workingclasspublishing.com.