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EE Series: Bright Sky Press | Lucy Chambers (4)

Lucy curled up with a good book

Lucy curled up with a good book

Entrepreneur Excitement Blog Series #4 – Bright Sky Press with Lucy Chambers

The first thing I noticed after I settled into my move to Texas (nine years ago) was how much Texas loves itself. Texas takes great pride in all things Texas, and since then it has truly bred a “shop local,” “do local,” “live local,” “love local” mentality in me.

So it stands to reason as a writer that I would fall in love with Bright Sky Press, a Texas book publisher, and that’s where I met their publisher and all-around awesome gal Lucy Chambers.

Here’s just a sampling of why I wanted to not only work with Lucy and Bright Sky Press (stay tuned for our upcoming children’s book I co-wrote with NFL veteran Wade Smith for The Wade Smith Foundation), but why I wanted to share her entrepreneurial spirit with y’all.

“We live in a community so rich with every kind of talent imaginable, and buying, hiring, eating, sharing, promoting all things local keeps the world from becoming a cheap, cookie-cutter place.” – Lucy Chambers

Check out The Blonde Side’s exclusive interview with this highly talented book-dealing Texan…

The Blonde Side: Tell us who you are?

Lucy Chambers: Lucy Herring Chambers, Publisher, Partner

TBS: Approx. how long we’ve known each other/how did we meet?

LC: We have known each other almost a year. We met when you reached out to Bright Sky about Wade Smith’s children’s book that you have written with him, and we started talking about how important the education message was for young athletes.

TBS: Tell me about your job?

LC: Bright Sky was founded in West Texas in 2001, and celebrates its 15th anniversary this year. Originally focused on Texas history and culture, when I became a partner in 2008, we began expanding the definition of Texas to include the vibrant and diverse reality we see in Houston. We publish trade books, as well as providing all publishing services, and we provide a custom experience for each author. Our goal is to ensure that each book shares the author’s message with the most appropriate language, look and feel, in the most beautiful volume possible. We put a great deal of energy and heart into every project.

TBS: Describe your personal style.

LC: I would say that I am bookish but not highbrow. I have a real love of helping people share their stories, and the combination of getting to know a wide variety of people, spending quiet time with their manuscripts, and learning so much new information makes this work a real joy. I get very enthusiastic about books and the power they have to help the world. I think sometimes people expect a more intimidating or judgmental person when they hear my job title, and they will often apologize for their grammar. I just laugh and explain that I’m here to help. So I would hope my style is accessible and encouraging—at least that’s my intention.

TBS: Since this is a sports + fitness + travel column, what books would you recommend for our audience? Which ones jump out to you and why?

LC: How Champions Think: In Sports and in Life by Dr. Bob Rotella. Dr. Bob has amazing advice, and we quote his wisdom at my house all the time.

TBS: What athletes (Houston based or not) have you worked with?

LC: Years ago in New York, I had the opportunity to work on Nolan Ryan’s autobiography Throwing Heat as an editorial assistant. Since then, I have worked on lots of other baseball books, including Lenny Dykstra’s Nails and Jane Leavy’s novel Squeeze Play about a fictional Washington Senators team. At Bright Sky, we published the Astros history book, Deep in the Heart: Blazing a Trail from Expansion to World Series and it was a real joy to work with long-time announcer Bill Brown and Authenticator Mike Acosta. We also published Houston Baseball: The Early Years, a wonderful book by Mike Vance that shows how fascinating baseball history is and what a part of the fabric of the city’s life it has been. We’ve done some other interesting baseball history books, 1939 and Baseball and the Baby Boomer by Talmage Boston. As for other sports, I’ve worked on golf and lacrosse books. Sports are such a wonderful metaphor for life that they are a natural fit for books.

TBS: One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to read more – uninterrupted (turning off my phone!) – do you have any tips on how a busy person can read more? 

A full bookshelf at Bright Sky Press - all about Texas and their authors

A full bookshelf at Bright Sky Press – all about Texas and their authors

LC: Read three books at a time. Keep one by your bed, one in your car or bag, and one in your bathroom. Take more baths—the tub is an excellent spot for reading and you can’t use your phone because you don’t want to accidently drop it in the water—lots of downside there. Get co-workers reading the same book, because it makes it a social activity, too. When you go out for coffee, take your bag/car book and take time to read while you drink your coffee. Read books that excite you, not that other people think you should read. Reading is like voting—you don’t have to share your choices with anyone if you don’t want to. And last, I would say read for a variety of reasons—entertainment, enlightenment, education—and never be afraid to put a book down if you don’t trust the narrator or you are not getting anything out of it. There are too many wonderful books out there to spend time with one that is not providing you something positive.

TBS: You run your own business (which is the point of this series!) – what was the final straw to say “I can do this on my own?” 

LC: Life is too short to follow other people’s dreams. This is the work I believe I was put here to do, the talent I was given to share. This organization gives me the opportunity to share it in the ways I believe matter most.

TBS: What’s your driving force behind running your business? I know firsthand it’s hard as balls, but what keeps you going?

LC: Books have been an incredible gift to me in my life, and there is a magic to them. If they are not made well, they lose a great deal of the magic. Even if no one else but the Bright Sky staff and the author care about the attention we pay to all the myriad details of the book, we have created something of lasting value. Every time I read a review of one of our books or hear a story about how one has changed a life—a reader’s or an author’s—I think about what would have happened if we had thrown in the towel at any one of the points where the work or the business became difficult. A little like George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” there have been many different and subtle Clarences who have let us know that even when it might not seem like what we do matters in this big, fast, modern, electronic world, it does.

TBS: Best advice you’ve ever been given but ignored?

LC: Don’t give your talent away for free.

TBS: If there was a reality show about you, what channel would it be on?

LC: PBS. I’m a little quirky.

TBS: Favorite sports teams? 

LC: Astros, Texans, and sometimes Rockets.

TBS: A magazine, website or author you can’t put down? 

LC: Diana Gabaldon

TBS: Look in your bag right now – what’s the most random thing in there? 

LC: A Navajo badger fetish. And my missing calculator—thank you for getting me to look.

TBS: Most embarrassing/random thing in your Google search history? 

LC: An interview I gave about posing nude for a book jacket. When I was much, much younger.

TBS: 2016 is here – tell me one goal you’ve set? 

LC: 10,000 steps every single day, and making time for the other fitness pursuits that opens up.

TBS: Favorite part of your job?

LC: Learning what people really care about.

TBS: Moment you are most proud of? 

LC: When you publish books, it is hard to be most proud of a single one. They are like your children, and I am proud of all the books for different reasons. There have been many times when I have realized that I was able to help an important story make its way in the world and be understood and appreciated because of the quality of editing and design of the book that carried it, and I have been very grateful and happy.

TBS: You have two plane tickets for anywhere in the world: where are you going and who are you taking?

LC: To the Lake Country in England to hike and read with my husband.

TBS: Fill in the blank:

LC: I wish more people in this world would consider how their actions affect others.

TBS: For me (and most sports fans), Sunday Funday is all about football. What’s your perfect Sunday look like?

LC: Hot tea, church, brunch with latte, fire in the fireplace, game on television, dinner cooked outside.

Lucy Chambers - Publisher/Partner at Bright Sky Press

Lucy Chambers – Publisher/Partner at Bright Sky Press

TBS: Do you want to offer a discount to The Blonde Side readers to encourage them to read more?

LC: Yes, I would be happy to offer 40% off any of our titles. USE CODE: bsp_discount for 40% off all titles – valid until 2/14/16.

Sponsor: You’ll never catch me traveling without a good book (remember, Lucy recommends reading three at a time). Speaking of traveling or simply trying to find quiet time for reading, consider a staycation at the lovely Hotel Sorella in CITYCENTRE. Picture this: curled up with a good book and a large glass of wine. SOLD. The sleek bar and lounge also makes for a great reading spot (mostly because of their gorgeous fireplace) or post up at their rooftop infinity pool overlooking CITYCENTRE’s central plaza outfitted with luxe loungers, custom lanterns and draped cabanas. Just a few more reasons to love Houston (and boutique hotels, which are my favorites!).

Know someone we should profile in this Entrepreneur Excitement Series? Leave a comment below or shoot us an email – jayme @ theblondeside [.] com.