Today we’d like to introduce you to Jaclyn Amend.
Jaclyn, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Yes, of course. I graduated from the College of Communication at The University of Texas at Austin in 2001 and went on to work in public relations, marketing and corporate communication for nearly 15 years before starting a family and opting to stay home with our boys.
In early 2017, as I prepared to welcome our second son, my husband and I were reading a few books before bedtime with our oldest son, who was three at the time. In our travels, we had picked up a few “goodnight” books from some favorite vacation destinations and our son was enthusiastically recalling some of our favorite spots in the illustrations. I wondered aloud whether a book existed already that celebrated the things in and around our neighborhood in Lakewood and East Dallas that make living here so unique and special.
I researched a bit and learned that, while some of these books existed for states and cities as a whole, there were very few that focused on micro-communities. I originally wrote “Goodnight Lakewood” for our boys and envisioned printing a few copies for our family and close friends to enjoy. It wasn’t until we found our incredible partners in the project, including our illustrator Emily Calimlim, that I realized other families might enjoy the book as well!
From there, we created a small publishing company and developed a relationship with East Dallas printer Hill Print Solutions on production of our hard cover books. I launched a small website that allowed friends and family to pre-order the book and shared it through social media channels. The reception from the community was so warm and enthusiastic. Not only did online sales far exceed any expectations we may have had, but we were also approached by local retailers who are now carrying our book in their stores. I have been humbled to be invited to local schools and libraries for story times and have done local book signings as well. It is so meaningful to hear parents and their children say they enjoy reading our book together at bedtime!
After “Goodnight Lakewood” launched in late 2017, several of our friends with young families who reside in Highland Park and University Park asked if we had plans to create a book celebrating their neighborhoods. With this in mind, I wrote “Goodnight Park Cities,” which is currently in production and should be available before the holiday season this year. This journey continues to be far more rewarding than I ever could have imagined and I hope to continue creating meaningful work in the future that families can share together.
Has it been a smooth road?
As with all new endeavors, we have had a couple hiccups along the way. Shortly after printing our first run of books, we realized the lettering on the spine of the book was inverted, so we had to invest additional time and money to reprint the covers before the books were bound. All things considered, however, we have had a remarkably smooth experience starting our company and publishing our first book.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
Our publishing company is CamberMark Publishing, LLC. The name is derived from the letters in each of our son’s nicknames, Mack and Bear. We specialize in publishing local, family-focused children’s books. I am most proud of creating wholesome products that encourage parents and children to spend quality time together reading. While we have focused up until this point on our own books, we hope to provide a path for other aspiring authors and illustrators to produce their work in the future as well.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Dallas is a fantastic place to live and work, I believe. The evolution and maturity of neighborhoods within Dallas, and the growing sense of pride in these micro-communities, create even more opportunities for creativity for us in the future. I would absolutely recommend Dallas not only as a place to start a business, but also as a place to raise a family.
- “Goodnight Lakewood” is available at www.goodnightlakewood.com for $24.95
- “Goodnight Park Cities” is available for pre-order at www.goodnightparkcities.com for $24.95
- Address: 7324 Gaston Avenue, Suite 124-474, Dallas, TX 75214
- Website: www.goodnightlakewood.com and www.goodnightparkcities.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cambermarkpublishing/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cambermarkpublishing/
- Other: https://www.linkedin.com/company/cambermarkpublishing/
Illustrations by Emily Calimlim
Photography by Patricia Keller Photography