Kristina Jacobs’ background is in teaching and writing. “For many years, I worked in higher education, working with adult learners.” She founded The Next Level Publishing in 2012 after completing her Ph.D. in Work and Human Resource and Adult Education from the University of Minnesota.
“At the time, I was already writing and publishing books for myself,” she said. “I’m a fast editor who is excellent with technology, so turning what I was already doing into a business made sense.”
Jacobs’ company, The Next Level Publishing, works with authors and small businesses to create books that educate the reader and help the client grow their business.
As of 2021, Jacobs and her team have published more than 300 titles as print and e-books.
“Even while I spend most of my time working on books for clients, I also write myself. I was delighted to release a new poetry chapbook, All the Purple Days, in the first days of 2021. All the Purple Days can be found on Amazon.
“Like many women, my biggest challenge in growing my business has been balancing business and family needs,” said Jacobs.
“I have children, and as they have gotten older, that balancing act has become a lot easier, but it never seems to go away. I’m always a business owner and a mom, and I don’t get to toss off either hat at the end of the day the way you can in some other career paths.”
Jacobs spent many years in adult education before becoming a publisher.
“I came into entrepreneurship with an educator’s background and a love of books, so the most challenging aspects of having a business were learning about all the “business” aspects that I never needed to worry about when I was just a worker,” she said. “I had to teach myself about billing and taxes and every other ‘not just making the book’ aspect of my work as I went along.”
Jacobs worked with other freelancers and writers for several years until it became clear that it was time to restructure her business.
“For several years, I grew my business enough to have other writers and editors on contract to take on more work — until one day I realized I never got to do any of the fun parts of the work, and I was operating more like an unpaid project manager!”
She explained, “I made a lot of changes over time to how I structured my business and why types of books or work I would (or wouldn’t) accept as I learned more about being a business owner and not just a ‘worker’ creating books.”
The Next Level publishing is a full-service publishing house that typically partners with other publishers and their clients.
“I try always to be professional and respectful,” Jacobs said. “My personality is patient and nurturing, so it works well to work with writers who are stuck on some aspect of their book. I work with many first-time authors who are in business and need their book to be professional and reflect well on their business, and they tend to be very nervous about the whole process, but together we get through all the steps,” she said. “By the end, if I’ve done my job, they don’t need me next time — though most still contract with me to edit their next book, just feeling more confident in the whole process the second time around!”
Authoring a book is one method for people to achieve success, but Jacobs offers some advice that helps with life choices.
“My best advice for someone seeking success today is life is to follow your heart and not do what other people think you should do for a career. You may have years following your dream where you are learning and building up your skills (and maybe working some other job to make ends meet), but one day all the pieces will come together. If you listen to others, you may never start on that path because they view it as too risky or think it won’t make enough money.”
For Jacobs, success is following her path that helps others achieve their publishing dreams. “I’ve followed a path where I get to do work that I enjoy that fulfills my dreams while helping others make their dreams and goals come true,” she said. “It gives me a lot of joy to see others hold their book in their hands and reach a milestone goal that means something to them. Success also means that my life is my own. I can be flexible enough to chase opportunities as they arise and follow the interests and passions of the moment while still keeping a roof over my head!”
In 2018, Jacobs and her husband, Matthew, started BearHeart CraftWorks and a sister company BearHeart Healing. “Before Covid-19 hit, we enjoyed attending some of our first art shows, and now we hope to keep expanding our new businesses and spend the summers working on growing our art-based healing business. We are both artists and healers, so it has been a fun new direction to explore! I still love to work with authors and business owners on editing and publishing books. Don’t worry, that isn’t going away!”
To contact Jacobs, visit Kristina Jacobs Linkenin.