“I’m Michael. I grew up around books – my Dad was a writer. He spent his hours in the study at the side of the house. My official title in our business is Director of Publishing. I do a little bit of everything.
I’m usually a really quiet person. People who meet me through work stuff won’t know that. Back when I was an editor I sat in my office every day for nearly 10 years and worked by myself all day. I’m more than happy to sit quietly and alone, editing books and not talking to anybody. I get that from my Dad.
Running a business requires promotion, which means getting out there more. I’ve had to come to grips with that because it’s against my natural personality. It’s something I’m getting better at.
I love talking to people about publishing. It’s the one thing that opens me up straight away. I love it that much; I can talk about it for ages. Start me off on publishing and I’ll still be rambling hours later.
Anna used to work in publishing years ago, which is where we met. We knew one day we would work together again. She decided about 18 months ago to come on board. She’s the behind-the-scenes Manager and handles all the stuff that people don’t see. I’m the public side that people see, with the profile.
Today I’m editing, and I’ve spent the morning talking to authors and to our designer about a cover.
As a couple working from home we are conscious to keep work and play separate. We start our day by walking Archie at dawn. Archie and Lik are extremely present throughout the day. Yesterday Archie stared at me at my desk until I went and played with him, as he often does. Lik spends most of the day in the cubby hole on my desk. We end the day with walking the dog, to switch off.
One of the great pleasures we have is the pets here with us each day. They are a very big part of what we do. Our authors love Archie. When our Melbourne authors come here, he greets them at the door.
People talk a lot about making sure you’re doing what you enjoy.
Last year we got busier. We thought the next stage of our business was to phase ourselves out. We know theoretically we are supposed to do that. We thought we’d have a ‘logical business plan’ so I became more of a manager of the projects. But as soon as I did that I stopped enjoying it as much.
I’ve been doing this for 20 years, and I realised I still love having my hands on the books. The solution is taking on fewer projects and being more selective with what we accept. If I end up in a position of doing something I don’t enjoy then it’s not going to be right.
On the one hand I hate the word ‘passion’ because it’s such a cliché. On the other hand, I am passionate about publishing. If it didn’t excite me then I would find it really hard to do.
I figure, if I’m running my own business I should be able to spend most of my time doing what I enjoy. Otherwise, I’m not sure why I’d be running my own business.”
Michael Hanrahan helps business authors to self-publish their books: www.mhpublishing.com.au