Disclaimer: I write and do a quick audit as I’m typing, but this space is about the thought and the content. I will try and ensure the editors and word nerds out there (whom I love) don’t get too upset at me along the way.
If you’ve Googled Charles D’Amico, I should let you know that I am not a high school in New York. I’m also not an older man who killed someone in NY. I’m the one who writes, gives away sandwiches, and loves books enough to have created Blue Handle Publishing and the Book Puma Editorial Services Platform.
My name is Charles, and I’m an entrepreneur. However, I don’t like to think of myself like that. I was lucky enough through hard work to go from being the General Manager of a Jimmy John’s in Michigan to owning several of the restaurants in different cities.
I recently began writing (fiction) again, a process I started and stopped in my early twenties. Like many, I was stressed out during the pandemic, trying to keep my restaurants open and take care of my staff. Fortunately, I’d begun re-writing and editing the first two Neil Baggio suspense novels (Veritas and Ave Maria). Following their completion (though I feel a manuscript is left, never truly finished), I started writing new books in the series. During those three months, just before and crossing into the start of the pandemic, I found it therapeutic. Writing gave me an escape. I had a goal — which I hit — of writing a million words by my fortieth birthday.
This led to my next twelve books and short stories, which I wrote in just over one calendar year. Through the process of querying literary agents, publishers, and editors, I began finding the industry hard to navigate. There were plenty of videos and articles on how hard it is and what you can do to best serve your manuscript. The trouble for me was dealing with the stress associated with being told your work isn’t good enough. The other thing that kept coming up: I wasn’t allowed to do what I was doing.
So, I decided to create my own publishing company, Blue Handle Publishing, with an author-centric model, especially in our contracts. I found a great local writer as our first signed author (Andrew J Brandt) and have since added a fantastic Vice President (Madison David) and Editorial Director (Ricky Treon). We then created a new editorial platform for developing writers, with full-service manuscript editing and smaller options for those just starting their publishing journey. We call it the Book Puma Editorial Services Platform, or Book Puma for short.
For me, this space on Medium is about having a creative space — and discussing my frustrations with the publishing industry and writing in general. I love expression and sharing. I even have two podcasts (Blue Rock and Bloke and a Dude). All that’s in addition to running multiple businesses (I still open/operate some of my restaurants daily) and trying to be the best dad and husband I can be.
It can be exhausting at times, but it can also be extremely rewarding. Here’s to sharing in this amazing space.