27 July 2021: The Man in the Arena

My job title with Dancing Lights Press has been changed. I am no longer “Publisher”. My official role is now “Man in the Arena”.

I think that every sole proprietor working hard to grow a small business should have the title of Man- , Woman- , or Person in the Arena. We do it all. Out of necessity, we need to take on every job that the business requires.  We don’t always do things perfectly but we do them with passion and determination. Most of all, we never give up.

The title comes from the famous Citizenship in a Republic speech, given by Theodore Roosevelt in 1910:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

In this industry, small publishers face a lot of criticism. There’s an expectation that we should be able to do things the same way that the big publishers do. I don’t think enough credit is given to the fact that we’re doing it at all. We’re not sitting on the sidelines, no skin in the game, judging and commenting on other peoples’ efforts. We’re not crying about how hard it is to break into this industry, or how difficult it is to earn a living. We find a way to make it work. For better or worse, we’re making the effort. We’re doing our best, learning, and growing. If we fail. at least we tried.