Friday, July 31, 2009

New Book Consortium to Fill Gaps in Publishing Biz for Literary Authors

Backword Books, a new publishing enterprise out of Los Angeles, fills a huge gap in the publishing business, according to founder and literary author Henry Baum (North of Sunset). "With the changing landscape of the publishing industry," says Baum, "and the countless new avenues for authors to directly reach readers, there has never been a time like this. There's a perfect storm brewing."

The perfect storm is that publishers are less willing to take chances with literary fiction while, says Baum, "Emerging media make it easier for quality writers to reach readers. Backword Books is a new approach to the book business."

Named to give focus on old-fashioned values in quality writing, Backword Books brings together the best literary writers that Baum and a small group discovered. The seven writers use new digital printing technology to publish titles under their own imprints.

After Baum and four other authors landed in Entertainment Weekly in 2006 for their well-regarded print-on-demand (POD) books, he saw the gap in what traditional publishers were doing and what could be done. He created a new forum, the website Self-Publishing Review, devoted to the emerging potential as well as to the pitfalls of self-publishing.

Backword's authors bring together their quality books to help each other in marketing because they know multiple people pushing multiple, related products together is more effective than one person pushing one product alone. They make clear they're not a publishing company, but a consortium of like-minded authors who have important books that have been getting exceptional reviews.

"The writers in Backword put a lot of care into their work," says Kristen Tsetsi, author of the novel Homefront. "We've all hired editors, book designers, and have acted truly as publishers. The reviews bear us out."


Monday, July 13, 2009

Author Makes Mark by Inking Book Deal in Spite of Hurricane Katrina

On August 27th, 2005, two days ahead of Hurricane Katrina, Daphne Marie Doucette and her family fled New Orleans, Louisiana in her Toyota Sequoia en route to Alabama. Underestimating the threat of Katrina, Doucette packed very little and as a result left behind floppy discs of her three finished manuscripts, which represented nearly four years of work at her personal computer. By the next night, Doucette was in Atlanta, Georgia, finally realizing the gravity of her miscalculation as predictions regarding Katrina grew more grave with each CNN broadcast.

One day later, August 29th, even the darkest of predictions were not enough to prepare anyone for what would become reality. Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the Gulf Coast, destroying lives, leveling homes, and leaving thousands of survivors with the same story: "We lost everything." Despite her gratitude regarding her family's safety, Doucette could not refrain from counting what she had lost, and it was then that she remembered the manuscripts she had left behind.

For two long months, Doucette believed that her work was gone forever. The thought of recreating it was too daunting and she tried to come to grips with the fact that her dream of being a published author had become impossible in the wake of Katrina. However, in October of 2005, Doucette's younger sister recovered the floppy discs containing her sister's three finished manuscripts. Thankfully, Doucette had long since developed the habit of placing her most treasured possessions in the uppermost drawer of her furniture chest. Although the chest had been pushed over by the water of Lake Pontchartrain that had infiltrated the house, it had fallen forward against a bed in such a way that the contents in the top drawer were totally salvageable.

Having the discs back in her hands again, Doucette recommitted herself to seeing her work recognized and published. The fact that the discs had survived the elements refueled her passion and she immediately went to work revising Dirty Butter, the manuscript she believed was destined to be her debut book release. "Dirty Butter has been six years in the making for me. God willing, it will do well. No matter what becomes of the book, my message is to remember that there's always a rainbow after every storm," says Doucette.

After a few false starts, Dirty Butter is ironically set to be released on the 4th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina by Waterway Books. Doucette and Waterway executive, Akbar Cojoe, consider the launch date to be indicative of the fact that she has come full circle… and on this 29th day of August 2009, she has reason to celebrate. "We've waited for the perfect book for a really long time," says Cojoe, CEO of Waterway Book Publishers, LLC. "Waterway is a great company and our people really understand our writers' vision. We're looking forward to a long-lasting relationship with Daphne and many books to come."


Monday, July 06, 2009 Prize Winner Signs Three Book Deal With St. Martin's Press, LLC announced that Saoirse Redgrave, 1st prize winner of the 2008 Textnovel Writing Contest (, has accepted a three book publishing deal with St. Martin's Press. The initial novel in the series is scheduled for release in the Fall of 2010 and will be her prize winning story. "13 to Life: A Werewolf's Tale," which she wrote on in serial form over the course of only five weeks with interactive reader input.

Michael Homler, editor at St. Martin's Press, commented "I first read Saoirse's story after hearing that she won the Textnovel writing contest. I could immediately tell she had created a great young adult novel. She has developed characters with unique and compelling voices and an exciting plot and concept. We were very pleased we were the winning bidder for Saoirse's three-book series and I look forward to working with her to make it successful."

Stan Soper, literary agent and founder of Textnovel, commented, "We were very pleased that St. Martin's Press, a top national publisher, was able to see the potential in Saoirse's work. was designed to help authors take their writing to the next level and to help publishers validate the market potential of new fiction. This contract further validates our model and should give new authors confidence that participating in our unique writing format and contests are a viable path to success and publication."

After winning the 2008 writing contest, Ms. Redgrave chose Stan Soper, literary agent and founder of, as her exclusive agent to represent her story to potential publishers. More information about Ms. Redgrave and her novel can be found on her site at