Camilla Zuleger — Founder of Nord Verlag


Photo by Felix Adler

Age: 28
Occupation: Content manager at ferm LIVING and publisher & founder of Nord Verlag.
Currently living in: Copenhagen

What makes you happy?

I get excited easily. By the careless bike ride to work with a few red lights, curling up in bed at night, and the first time it’s warm enough to sleep with an open window. When my boyfriend cooks me pasta with double cream or hearing a favourite song playing on the radio.

Where do you find inspiration?

For several years, I’ve tried to be one of those who got inspired by staring out the window or going for  a walk in the forest. But I’ve learned to cope with the fact that I grew up with and on asphalt, and although I like nature, I’m never going to achieve that picture-perfect image of classic inspiration. But I love the internet. It’s cheesy, it’s superficial, and more often than not cruel and brutal. Yet, at the same time filled with everything your heart desires – and to top it off, it’s the shortest way between two people. I can’t count the number of friends I’ve made through the Internet, that I probably never would have met without, and how wonderful is that?

When did you realise that you were going to start Nord Verlag?

I never had much time to consider it; today it really feels like I just did it, so I guess you could say that I’m still trying to grasp the fact that it’s here and that the platform, outlet, contribution, I’ve always wanted exists.

How do you begin a new project?

I’m a big mess in all things organisational. I’ve downloaded a thousand apps to help me organise thoughts, ideas, and deadlines, but I never use them. I buy fancy notebooks and decide “this time, it’s going to be different”. But it never is. But I guess, at the end of the day, I like it that way. The creative chaos on my dining table turned workplace, turned bookcase, turned… But as with most projects, every project starts with a lot (!) of emailing back and forth. And then a while after that, you’re done. Sometimes I even forget there’s something in between emails.

Where’s your favourite place to work from?

My favourite place is anywhere I find two available minutes. I have a full-time job on the side, which means that everything else is either early in the morning or late at night. I had a plan to not work from home to at least create the illusion of having time off but going to a café or library after work rarely feels very appealing after a long day at work, so usually I end up at my dining table anyway. The good thing is that publishing books is a lot about emailing, so I also get a lot done on my phone when I’m waiting in line or in other of those free time slots during a day.

Describe a normal workday.

Recently, I started working full time with content management at ferm LIVING, which means that now I get up and go to work like everyone else from 9-5. It’s the first time since I graduated that I’ve had a full-time job and had you asked me then, I would have never thought it possible. I was certain that I would live one of those insecure lives with no insurance, pension or paid leave. But as everything is quite new, I’m still trying to figure out how to keep the lives of the books alive on the side. I’m a big fan of systems and I think finding the ideal routine will solve everything. But until then, a day hopefully looks like work, yoga, a bit more work and time at night to have a glass of wine or read a book. It may be naïve of me to think that there can be time for everything in one day but I’m going to give it a go.

Describe an experience you had, that confirmed you, why you are doing what you do.

I have a lot of those currently. I’m an incredibly impatient person, so it took a lot of getting used to the fact that the book business is a slow one. But these days, I’ve received such lovely feedback from the people who’ve read the books, I’ve published. And even if they’d just been moved by a single one, I would say it was worth it. I really have been so overwhelmed by kind comments, positive emails and Instagram likes. They make you forget all the emails that you’ll never get a reply on or all the things that could’ve turned out better.

Name one person who helped you get to where you are today.

I’m not a fan of cheesy romance, but I have to say my boyfriend, Lars. Not only was he the one to turn my entire life into a half Danish, half German one, nor just the one who helps to proofread, connecting me with people who can help, not to mention the fact that he translated the first book at Nord Verlag. And it’s also not just because he does the cooking. But mainly it’s the fact that nothing gets him down. No matter what he always believes that everything is going to be alright. And even though that pisses me even more off when I’m upset about something and just want to be mad, I’m pretty sure I would have given up several times by now without him.

What does art mean to you?

It means a lot, obviously. But in terms of literature, which is the leading art form in my life, if you could talk of a such, I think the expression is the most important thing. I take a snapshot with my phone every time I come across a beautiful sentence. I rarely look at it again, but I like the feeling of keeping it. Also, when I’m writing myself, I spend a lot of time looking at images. I think it’s the quickest way of changing or finding a mood, which is an essential thing of what I do as a copywriter.

Name one women who inspired you on your creative journey?

I’m deeply inspired by every one of the amazing women I meet who dare. It doesn’t matter what they dare to do, but just the fact that they find the courage to go their own way, even when it’s difficult or what they want is the opposite of what they’re expected to do. But if I have to name names, I’m really in awe of what Ricarda Messner is up to, publishing her heart out from Berlin. She founded and created the Flaneur Magazin, which I love. On the same note, I’ve to mention Agnese Kleina, the publisher and founder of the Latvian magazine Benji Knewman. I’ve followed her for a while but was so lucky to get the chance of meeting her this year, and she’s nothing short of amazing. I guess I have a thing for women who do print, and as the scene of indie magazines is booming right now, it’s impossible to name just one.

Which challenges have you met in your work?

Generally, I think I’ve to a great extent underestimated the business I was getting into. Paper, books, and poetry as my first two books are, is not in any way a lucrative business from day 1, nor is it easy getting fast anywhere. And I think that’s my biggest challenge, the pace of it all. I’m in no way a patient person, and I don’t like waiting for things. I want everything, and I want it now. But still, I consider the fact that I underestimated it a big asset: I’m sure, I would’ve never have done it, had I known what I was getting into, and today, standing in the midst of it with books everywhere in my home, I couldn’t imagine not having done it.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

The same advice I give my present self: Relax, it’s going to be alright. I’ve always had the feeling that everything I did was so important, and if I failed it was the end of the world. Now I know that not that many will notice the mistakes of just one person, and that you get better with every mistake. But it’s still hard for me to accept that sometimes you just can’t get it right on your first attempt.

Check out Nord-Verlag here and Camilla’s own profiles here and here.

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