Welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview with a trailblazer who has redefined the realm of publishing. We are thrilled to present Dr. Nick Courtright, the visionary founder of Atmosphere Press, a publishing platform that has revolutionized the way authors bring their stories to the world.
In this captivating conversation, we delve into Dr. Courtright’s journey from authorship to entrepreneurship, unearthing the inspiration and principles that have guided him in creating a literary sanctuary for writers.
With a backdrop of an industry often marred by impersonal practices, Atmosphere Press stands as a testament to Dr. Courtright’s commitment to fostering author empowerment, transparency, and professionalism.
Through his remarkable insights and experiences, we uncover not only the evolution of Atmosphere Press but also the invaluable wisdom it offers to businesses striving for genuine growth and innovation.
Join us in this illuminating dialogue as we unveil the unique narrative of Dr. Nick Courtright and the impactful legacy he is forging with Atmosphere Press.
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Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Dr. Nick Courtright: Hello, and thanks for having me! I’m Dr. Nick Courtright, and I founded Atmosphere Press in 2015 for authors who want a true partner in their publishing journey. As the author of four books and a PhD in Literature, I’d noticed that the publishing industry was rife with bad actors.
Authors were regularly being treated poorly by publishers, or were finding it impossible to find a route to publication. I had to do something!
So I founded Atmosphere Press on the principles of Honesty, Transparency, Professionalism, Kindness, and Making Your Book Awesome, and to this day we are the only publisher that puts meaningful and rewarding author experiences above all else.
In the past year, what is the greatest business achievement you’d like to celebrate with your team? Please share the details of that success.
Dr. Nick Courtright: The biggest achievement of the past year is happening right now, as we’re just about to publish our 1000th book. That’s a lot of books! It proves that there is hunger for our service-forward model, and we’ve gotten this far without jeopardizing our personal approach.
In all, this last year has been a great one for us, as we’ve really refined our author journey to try to add value for authors at every step of the process, from developmental editorial meetings to bespoke cover design to the strategy helping them get their books to readers.
What advice do you wish you had received when you started your business journey and what do you intend on improving in the next quarter?
Dr. Nick Courtright: It’s amazing to think about, because Atmosphere Press happened just as a result of a single author needing help publishing his book, so I helped him.
I had no idea we’d be here eight years later with such an award-winning catalog. I do wish I’d had the advice to dive in more fully from the beginning, as it took me a while to get on board with the whole business-owner thing. I was a writer and a college English professor, and that doesn’t really prepare you to run a business with dozens of team members and hundreds of authors.
But I can’t complain too much with how things turned out. As for improvements for next quarter, we’ve done a lot in the last six months to provide more benefits for all writers—more helpful social media, more author interviews, more educational content, more free webinars—so we’re going to keep building on that to really make a difference for all writers, regardless of whether they are working with us.
We even build a really helpful Publication Potential Quiz to help writers determine whether they’re ready for publication. This is part of what we’re focusing on: building more generosity into everything we do.
Here is a two-fold question: What is the book that influenced you the most and how? Please share some life lessons you learned. Now what book have you gifted the most and why?
Dr. Nick Courtright: Ah, great question, given that we’re in the book industry! I think the business-oriented book that influenced me the most was Derek Sivers’ Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur.
I have read it many times, because I just love the humble and vulnerable and service-based approach he has to entrepreneurship and business ownership. Building a business for the right reasons and going about it the right way has been so important since early on this crazy journey, and getting advice from someone who’d been down that road and succeeded was key proof-of-concept.
As for what book I’ve gifted the most, that gets back to my real background in literature, as I have to say I’ve recommended books like the Bhagavad Gita and poetry like Michael Earl Craig more than anything. At the end of the day, I’m a book guy—poets are poets for life.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as THE real challenge right now?
Dr. Nick Courtright: There are so many “hard” problems right now, from economic uncertainty/inflation/interest rates, to how on earth AI is going to upend traditional models of book-creation and publication.
I think we’re going to have to keep our finger on the pulse of those things going forward, and work to keep an open mind and be more on the cutting edge than we’d always feel comfortable being. We have to keep our collective head out of the sand.
But at the end of the day, THE challenge for us is retaining our true mission of giving a meaningful and rewarding experience to authors, even when we do grow as a company.
Growth is in some ways innately contrary to personability and the human side of things, but it’s essential for our value proposition to hold true and for this to be our hallmark.
So, how do we grow as a business while still knowing the name and story and preferences of our authors? That’s what I care about, because being human-forward and expert-driven is our real differentiator.
In your experience, what tends to be the most underestimated part of running a company? Can you share an example?
Dr. Nick Courtright: There have been a lot of discoveries coming to business after a dozen years teaching in the classroom, but I think the most underestimated part is just the bureaucratic “unknown unknowns.”
Everyone knows that there will be challenges and learning curves in management, in marketing, in sales, in refining and systematizing production.
But I think it’s the less showy stuff—like tax filing and running payroll and negotiating vendor relationships—that doesn’t get the same spotlight, but that ends up eating a lot of energy. So, be ready: there will be paperwork!
What does “success” in 2023 mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Dr. Nick Courtright: Success means Atmosphere Press has held true to its values, but has grown as a company. Not just in revenue or profits, but as a confident endeavor that is ready for a long-term future.
The last few years have offered a lot of variety, and I feel like we’ve gotten much stronger as a team, and I’m so incredibly heartened that we are getting more repeat authors than ever. That means we’re doing something right. I want to keep that energy going, and build on it with improved marketing and brand awareness.
So yes, the future is bright, and if you are a writer who needs a professional team to help shepherd your manuscript into publication, reach out and mention ValiantCEO! We’ll give you a free consultation with an editor—it’ll be great!
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Dr. Nick Courtright for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Dr. Nick Courtright or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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