Maven to Know: Michelle Gines

Ever dreamed of writing a book? This publishing CEO has some fantastic advice for you.


Michelle Gines may no longer live in Indy, but she still stays connected to the city she once called home and we love celebrating Mavens all over!

The Missouri-based CEO has worn a variety of hats throughout her nearly 30-year career in marketing and publishing. After working in client relations after graduating from Northwestern Missouri State University in 1994, Gines found her way to Hallmark Cards in its marketing and sales department, which brought her to Indianapolis for three years. Eventually, Gines relocated back to Kansas City so her young family would be closer to relatives, and she’s been there ever since.

A few years down the line Gines landed her dream job—CEO of Purpose Publishing, an independent, faith-based publishing company in Grandview, Missouri. Each day looks different, but her focus remains the same, bring clients’ work to the world.

“Writing and being creative has always kind of been who I was, even as a kid,” Gines says. “So, it makes sense that I’m publishing now. But it wasn’t a linear route. But just all the paths, the way that it’s worked out, here I am.”

We found some time with Gines to get the 4-1-1 on how indie publishing differs from traditional publishing, how to make your book stand out to publishing companies, and about that one time she was in a rap group in high school.

Maven Superpower: I have the ability to help anybody identify what it is that they do and monetize it.

How does indie publishing differ from traditional publishing?

In traditional publishing, typically the publishing company will reach out to you or an agent will reach out to a publishing company. And they will give the author an advance to complete the work, but the publishing company has all of the rights and access to the book. In indie publishing, on the other hand, the author really has all of the control. They have the creative license to write the book the way they want their story told.

What’s your advice to someone to get their book noticed by publishing companies?

Relevance—what is it that makes what you’re saying different and stand out. Can people immediately see practical application with it in their lives? The other thing is you want to have an amazing cover. You want it to pop and sparkle. You also want to make sure that you have a professional edit done on all of your work so that the wording is good, it’s not hindered by any imperfections. It is right, tight, and bright, that’s what I tell everybody.

What’s your advice to people during the publishing process?

Get help. A lot of times people want to do it themselves. You don’t want it to look like you did it yourself. So, get the help that you need. The help is out there. Everybody’s not strong in every area. So, if you want it to be perfected and polished, get the help you need.

What’s one of your favorite books at the moment?

I’m currently reading The Execution Factor by Kim Perell. Which, of course, we didn’t publish but it’s an amazing work.

How has publishing changed in light of the pandemic?

Believe it or not, publishing has actually increased. And I think that’s due to people having time at home. We had more projects that started in the months of April and May of 2020 than any other April or May in the history of Purpose Publishing. We work with authors nationally and even internationally. And we do most of our work virtually. So, because of that, we were already kind of set up for that.

What’s it like being the CEO of a company?

Busy. Full. Creative. And most of all, very fulfilling. As CEO it seems like there are no days off from giving the best to those you are serving. But at the same time, it’s extremely meaningful to be able to come up with ideas, vet them with the team, testing and seeing your dreams materialize over and over again. I love it! But over time I’ve learned that to be the best CEO I can be I have to ensure I practice self-care. This helps me stay fully engaged and not overwhelmed even amidst very hectic times and seasons.

What’s your advice to other young women aspiring to lead a company?

I’d tell other young women what I told my daughter who started her own magazine, GAWSY, last year. Build a good team, lead with integrity and stay aware of what your clients need and want. This is important and will help you determine how you need to grow. And growing is important for your business long term. You have to always have that in your point of reference.

Who’s a woman you admire?

A woman I most admire is Michelle Obama. I think many of us value who she is as a wife, mother, and professional. She gave us an awesome example of being all three on a global level and doing them all well. Not perfect, but very well and being comfortable with what that means for you as a person, a wife and a mother.

What’s one of your favorite holiday traditions?

My favorite Christmas tradition is on Christmas Eve, we spend it with my mother and my sister.  And so, all of us always get together and it’s usually pajamas and my mom does waffles and makes a big breakfast for dinner.

What’s a fun fact about yourself?

I still enjoy listening to 1990s music and dancing. I graduated high school in 1990 so that was my era of music. And I still love it. And, with that, I can actually rap. I used to be in a rap group when I was in high school called “The Renegades.”

Samantha Kupiainen is a regular Indy Maven contributor based in Carmel.

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