Wednesday, April 01, 2009

No fooling, our website has moved

As of April 1, 2009, the Book Publishers Northwest's website has moved to:

Join us there!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

That's A Wrap: 31 Stories in 31 Days for Small Press Month

We started on March 1 with a pledge to publish 31 stories in celebration of Small Press Month drawn from the lives and experiences of our members. It's been terrific fun to read about the many, many different types of publishing being down here in the Northwest by our members.

Novels, poetry, nonfiction, fragmentary writing, and so much more. We've learned about members who literally traveled in the footsteps of Marco Polo, who brought their childhood stories from Africa to the American radio via picture books, who started writing to escape farm chores, and who are persistently peppering the President of the United States with a call to expand health services for returning veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq.

You can still read all these stories at:

And feel free to pass this link along or share with a friend.

And we still haven't told everyone's story! At Book Publishers Northwest, we're meeting new people at every gathering of the group, both veterans of publishing and newcomers. Starting April 1, this blog and website will be migrating a new location. We're keeping all the wonderful resources here and adding new features to help both experienced and new publishers.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to our blog in March. You made this truly a celebration of the Small Press Month.

Small Press Story #31: Publish or Farm

Located near Walla Walla, Washington, Detour Farm is devoted to wildlife and habitat conservation as well as Rocky Mountain horses and alpacas. It's also the name of owner and author Sam Macleod's publishing venture, a business move that got him out of day-to-day farming chores assigned by his wife Annie.

"I love living on the farm, but leave the farming to Annie. When we first moved to Walla Walla, the concept of getting back to nature, appealed to me. I’d read about it in books. Seemed inviting, free-range, maybe even heart-healthy," writes Sam on his website. "But the concept took on new meaning when Annie asked me to turn the manure pile with a big shovel, help her move six tons of hay from one place to another, and climb up on the barn roof."

So Sam has moved onto the porch with his laptop, turning out books and a blog about life in eastern Washington while Annie runs the farm. If you buy a book from Sam, Annie will plant another tree or two. Or you can just drop into his blog and check out what he's cooking for dinner. He even shares his recipes, like how to make Aunt Wiese's Strawberry Pie.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Small Press Story #30: Rose Alley Named For Dryden's Mugging

Rose Alley Press was founded by David D. Horowitz in November 1995. It was named for the London street where, on December 18th, 1679, poet and playwright John Dryden was brutally beaten by three thugs. Evidence suggests that an aristocrat who mistakenly attributed a satire's authorship to Dryden hired the assailants. Undaunted, Dryden continued writing, even more boldly than before the assault. Inspired by such perseverance, David established Rose Alley Press, which publishes rhymed and metered poetry, cultural commentary, and an annually updated booklet about writing and publication.

Rose Alley's authors appear at a variety of public events including the following for April:

Parkplace Books
Wednesday, April 8, 2009, 7 p.m.
Take a Poem From Your Heart
Joannie Kervran Stangeland, Nancy Dahlberg, Murray Gordon, & open mic
348 Parkplace Center, Kirkland

Green Lake Branch Library
Saturday, April 11, 2009, 4 p.m.
Donald Kentop, Lyn Coffin, Priscilla Long, & open mic
7364 East Green Lake Drive North, Seattle

Edmonds Bookshop
Thursday, April 16, 2009, 6:30 p.m.
David Ash, Amanda Laughtland, Jack McCarthy, & David D. Horowitz
111 Fifth Avenue South, Edmonds, WA

Green Lake Branch Library
Saturday, April 18, 2009, 4 p.m.
David D. Horowitz, Larry Coffin, one other TBA, & open mic
7364 East Green Lake Drive North, Seattle

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Small Press Story #29: Examining a Guitar Legend's Circuits

Northwest publisher Pentode Press specializes in academic and technical titles. Publisher and author Richard Kuehnel's first book about a guitar legend began with the desire to build his own amplifier.

"My goal was to design my own guitar amp. When I discovered that so many amplifiers are based on the 5F6A circuit, I decided that what worked for Jim Marshall and other legendary amp builders might work for me," he writes on his website. "So armed with the Radiotron Designer's Handbook, the works of Frederick Terman, and many other great references from the tube era, I began to study Leo Fender's famous schematic. I wanted to completely understand how the original circuit worked before attempting to modify it. The results literally filled a book."

Circuit Analysis of a Legendary Tube Amplifier: The Fender Bassman 5F6-A has now gone through two editions. Pentode Press has grown to include two more books on guitar amplifiers as well as a translation of Frederich Mann's work on Georg Simon Ohm.

The publisher's website also includes numerous articles on technical and academic subjects.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Small Press Story #28: Playing Cards and Wine

When Raconteurs Press publisher Tom Parker wanted to reuse his illustrations for his guide to Washington wineries, his answer was playing cards. Following the success of the "Washington Wine Playing Cards," Raconteurs has added "Vineyard Traditions Classic Wine Playing Cards."

The "Vineyard Traditions" cards celebrate the classic wine grape varieties prized from ancient times through today. Every face card in this two deck Bridge-size set features a beautiful illustration depicting grape varieties, winemaking scenes, historical wine subjects, wine facts and trivia, and much more relevant to all wineries and wine regions.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Small Press Story #27: Publisher and Activist Gary Worthington

Timebridges publisher and author Gary Worthington helped develop the new Cama Beach State Park on a historic waterfront resort site formerly operated by his wife Sandra's family on Camano Island, Washington. The story of the area is the subject of Worthington's most recent book, Cama Beach: A Guide and a History.

The couple are also involved in planning and developing The Cooper Point Wildlife Preserve, with several green-built houses and a large natural area on a 38-acre site by their home.

Following their travels in India, Gary and Sandra established a private foundation which funds primary schools in India and other projects to help people become economically self-reliant.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Small Press Story #26: Oguneye's Story Featured on KOMO

Sikulu and Harambe are becoming radio stars. If you're in Seattle tune in to KOMO 1000 Radio. The story first broadcast between 7:15 am and 7:45 am and will be repeateded throughout today (March 26). Previously they were featured in story broadcast by Sound Focus on KUOW.

If you're not in Seattle, you can listen online at

BPNW member and author Kunle Oguneye was born and raised in Nigeria. He graduated from Valparaiso University in Indiana with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. He left the world of computers and technology to focus on his passion for story-telling.

His first book is based on a folktale from his childhood, and the great story reinforces the beauty of kindness to young children. The book also offers a glossary of terms and weaves information about Zambian culture into the story.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Small Press Story #25: How I Came To Write A Self-Help Book With Mom

It all started because we were in the same profession. Doing similar things.

Ruth (a.k.a. “Mom”), and I were both clinical social workers. In our practices, we both ran support groups for the widowed and other bereaved.

One day I mentioned to Mom that I’d noticed group members bringing in small articles or pamphlets on how to cope with loss. They seemed drawn to these because when grieving, it’s difficult to concentrate on lengthier forms of advice such as typical bereavement books. Mom had also noticed this in her own groups.

Then it hit me: why not create a self-help book for the widowed that was easy to use? Having been widowed herself at 45, Mom’s personal experiences would also add a “been there” quality to our professional insights.

We agreed to title the book, Lost My Partner – What’ll I Do? A Clear, Practical Guide for Coping and Finding Strength When Your Spouse Dies.

First, we outlined the contents.

Then started writing. We soon discovered that my strengths lay in envisioning the “big picture” and doing the actual writing. Mom’s strengths were providing the most authentic “voice” for the narrative and editing.

Eventually we created a working process:

1. We would agree on a chapter topic.
2. Mom would dictate. I would add my three cents worth.
3. I would draft the words into chapter form.
4. Mom would edit.
5. I would rewrite.
6. Mom would edit.
7. Then on to the next chapter.
8. Repeating the above.

The writing and publishing processes were definitely challenges to our relationship. Family gatherings became punctuated by my sister’s protestations of “No talking about the book!” whenever Mom and I became engrossed in shop talk.

But Mom and I persevered, eventually publishing a book that has been praised by widowed readers as “the only bereavement book I’ve been able to actually use.”

We’ve recently launched the "Revised and Expanded Edition of Lost My Partner."

And fortunately, my sister hasn’t disowned us. Yet.

submitted by Laurie Spector, McCormick Press

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Small Press #24: The Cutest Personal Finance Book

Money Sucks! Money Strategies for Real Life, the cutest personal finance book you’ve ever seen, has recently released the 2nd Edition, chock full of updated information and adding an information glossary. 1st Edition created a stir among adults who immediately bought numerous copies to give to children, nieces, nephews, new high school grads, and college kids off to school.

Published in 2006, Money Sucks! Money Strategies for Real Life quickly made a name for itself as an easy way of transmitting basic financial information on how to manage money to young adults. Each chapter includes a light-hearted one-panel cartoon that gives a little lift of humor. The overall feeling of the book is that financial information isn’t that scary, and you really can manage your money successfully. But, yup, it takes some work to do it (and that sucks).

Topics include areas such as: how to create a budget, how to fill out a W-4 IRS form, how to balance a checkbook, how to successfully manage credit cards, and techniques to keep your identity as safe as reasonably possible.

Whether your child was lucky enough to learn these tasks at school or not, Money Sucks! Money Strategies for Real Life is available to give basic instruction in this most important life skill. Accessible, easy-to-read, and fun for young adults, the large font, white space between paragraphs, and short chapters entice the reader to give it a try. While there are many thick volumes on this topic with wonderful information, Money Sucks! Money Strategies for Real Life boils down to these essential elements. For more information on this outstanding book, visit the publisher’s web site at

Monday, March 23, 2009

Small Press Story #23: Big River Press

Big River Press is the brain child of editor and author R. J. Brown, an avid reader and writer since childhood who knows what she likes in a book. The mission statement of Big River Press is to bring unusual and engaging fiction and creative non-fiction to the reading public.

From 1998-2006, R. J. Brown, with her husband, created and ran the award-winning book review site, preferring to highlight lesser-known authors who published themselves via POD - Print On Demand. Using her 40 years of editing experience, R. J. Brown also worked with writers on their manuscripts.

After caring for her husband's father, Lincoln Brown, in the last years of his long life, R. J. Brown wrote a creative non-fiction memoir of that experience; Standing the Watch: Memories of a Home Death, and set out to find a literary agent. With her rejection folder bulging at the seams, she asked the many authors she had interviewed while reviewing their books about going the POD route. In 2002 she published with iUniverse and was not impressed by the final product nor the then customer service.

By winter 2005, she was burnt out managing the weekly updates to her book review site and felt the call to write her own books, and in July 2006, she closed to tend to personal health. It was revived in 2008, under new management in a different format by Irene Watson of

In the Fall of 2006, while D. H. Brown recovered from multiple bypass surgery, he completed his first military thriller, Honor Due, assisted by his wife's editing. After more than 200 rejections from literary agents and major publishing houses, R. J. Brown formed Big River Press to publish Honor Due in 2007, to critical acclaim. It has since been awarded the 2008 Silver Medal for Literary Fiction from the MWSA - Military Writers Society of America, and also received an Honorable Mention from the American Authors Association.

In 2008, Big River Press published the expanded second edition of R. J. Brown's memoir Standing the Watch: The Greatest Gift. It has been awarded First Place in the 2009 Memoir/Autobiography Category by

Also in 2008 Big River Press published Honor Defended, D. H. Brown's second book in his Citizen Warrior Series. Big River Press's newest book (2009) is Epitaph, the second submariner thriller by Veteran and author D. Clayton Meadows. The next addition to the Big River Press catalogue will be R. J. Brown's first fiction, The Dead Husband: A Sally Sees Cozy Mystery due to be launched April 2009, and the third book in the Citizen Warrior Series, Honor Redeemed due by late Fall.

Big River Press works hard at presenting its books to the highest of publishing industry standards. Books are available to retail outlets through Ingram, Baker and Taylor, and most online booksellers/distributors.

Media Contact:
Big River Press
P. O. Box 371, Clallam Bay WA 98326-0371

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Small Press Story #22: Dispatch Travels

Founded by globetrotter, Beth Whitman, Dispatch Travels publishes the popular Wanderlust and Lipstick guides for women travelers. This currently includes The Essential Guide for Women Traveling Solo (Whitman), For Women Traveling to India (Whitman) and Traveling with Kids (Leslie Forsberg & Michelle Duffy).

The Essential Guide for Women Traveling Solo
was first released in March 2007 and has sold nearly 6,000 copies. A second edition of the book is due out in April, 2009.

After spending nearly 20 years traveling and 17 years teaching travel-related workshops in the Seattle area, Whitman had wanted to extend her reach farther than the Northwest. She created the Wanderlust and Lipstick guides and website ( in order to do just that. The catchy series title has helped propel the brand into the international market and she regularly receives orders through her website from women in Asia and Australia.

The authors of Traveling with Kids will be appearing at a half dozen bookstores in the Pacific Northwest from April through June.

An anthology of women’s stories is expected to be released in early 2010.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Small Press Story #21: Metacreative Press

Metacreative's books address creativity, spirituality, and transformation. This Bellevue publisher's titles include Joyous Child Joyous Parent: 60 Ways to Have More Fun and Joy with Your Child by Connie Allen, MA.

In Joyous Child Joyous Parent, Allen encourages parents to focus on their behavior, to look at what actions they can take that will nurture their child’s emotional, social, and physical wellbeing.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Small Press #20: Pun & Oink Graphics

Dawn Kravagna's Cattle Capers mystery series follows the adventures of master detective Adam Steer.

"It is possibly the first cartoon mystery novel in existence," writes Kravagna in her blog. "I was inspired by my lifetime love of the classic Warner Bros. cartoons, particularly a great fondness for Tweety and Sylvester."

Thursday, March 19, 2009

March 19 "Small Press" meeting begins at 4 pm

Participate in a publishers' roundtable on ways to promote a small press. Pick up a free "Big Things" poster celebrating the work of Northwest book publishers (while supplies last). Book Publishers Northwest's March meeting starts at 4 pm at the Good Shepherd Center, 4649 Sunnyside N., Room 221, Seattle, Washington.

Small Press Story #19: Placing Writing for Wellness in Churches

"We are calling about four churches a day to see if they would be interested in starting Writing for Wellness classes," says publisher Tom Blaschko of Idyll Arbor. "Most say yes. We follow up with emails: one from Dawn at Idyll Arbor (including a description of how a church could implement the program) and one from the author, Julie Davey. Dawn follows up a week later with a phone call."

Idyll Arbor's website for this book is

"If anyone reading about the program wants to get more information about starting one, they can contact Dawn at or call us at 360-825-7797," added Blaschko. "We think that these classes really help and are always looking for people with time, energy, and the desire to help others."

Sample Letter from author Julie Davey:
Hello, I'm Julie Davey, author of the book Writing for Wellness: A Prescription for Healing.

Dawn Craft at Idyll Arbor Publishers gave me your email addresses after you all asked for information about possibly teaching a Writing for Wellness class. Some of you may have also asked about one-on-one help for members of your church through in-home ministries.

I offer here some advice and counsel. Having been a volunteer writing teacher for more than eight years, I can tell you for sure that the process works. People need to write about what they are going through or have gone through and have never discussed.

Given the right setting and opportunity, they will.

You may be in a better position to help people than I often am. Most of the time I do not know the participants in my classes at City of Hope until they arrive at the classroom door. I must, in just a few minutes make them feel welcome and safe and willing to write about what they are going through. I have methods I have developed. I feed them, I hug them and I tell them I have found that we all have stories to tell, especially when we have been through a great deal. I promise them they won't have to read aloud and that I will help them learn some techniques they will find to be easy.

Here is my "pep" talk to you. Since I can't feed or hug you, here is my advice:

As you establish Writing for Wellness classes in your church, follow your beliefs, follow your heart. There are people who need your support and that of your church members. They need to write about how they feel and to do so in a safe and comforting environment. Your church is that place.

You may discover, as I did, that the religious beliefs of participants as they face extreme challenges in their lives are sometimes tested. What they believed before their child got cancer or they lost a friend to it may come into question. When they suffer great losses or have family separations, they need to write and talk about these upheavals in their lives.

Unlike in my classes which have been offered in a secular setting, City of Hope National Cancer Center, yours can bring spirituality and faith to the forefront.You may choose to refer people to the minister/pastor for Biblical explanation. You may choose to open and close your classes with prayer.

In my 33 years as a public high school teacher and college professor, I learned to avoid revealing my own religious beliefs in classroom settings. Had I been free to express those, as you are in your own church setting, I would have had much to say. My "mixed-faith" background of Methodist (mother), Catholic (father), Lutheran (husband) makes me more ecumenical than some, perhaps, but my belief in God has brought me through cancer twice and, I believe, has placed me in the classroom at City of Hope for more than eight years as I try to show, by example, that we are indeed, our brothers' keepers.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Small Press #18: Impassio, home of fragmentary writing

Impassio is a literary press publishing a variety of fragmentary writings and a mix of genres, including journals, diaries, notebooks; letters; aphorisms; and short prose pieces.

Olivia Dresher, Impassio’s founder, editor and publisher, has been reading, writing, and collecting fragmentary writing for more than 30 years. She founded the Diaries, Journals, and Notebooks Collection for the library at the Richard Hugo House literary center in Seattle, and is editor of two anthologies: In Pieces: An Anthology of Fragmentary Writing and (with Victor Muñoz) Darkness and Light: Private Writing as Art. She is also director of the Life Writing Connection and the founder and editor of an online magazine of fragmentary writing, FragLit.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Whitman Selected For Pub U Scholarship

This year's Pub U Scholarship goes to Beth Whitman of Dispatch Travels.

"Though I am now in the process of publishing my fourth book, thus far what I’ve learned has come from how-to books and through BPNW meetings and members. While these have all been extremely valuable, the next logical step to successfully grow my business is to attend Publishing University," wrote Whitman on her application.

Every year, IBPA awards a full scholarship to a member of Book Publishers Northwest for Pub U, a three-day course on publishing held in conjunction with BookExpo America.

Small Press Story #17: Shakespeare, Poetry, and NW Authors

Established in 1996, 74th Street Productions in Seattle started out publishing picture books for children and adults based on the works of William Shakespeare. Since then, this small press located "just north of the Center of the Universe" has issued a book by acclaimed poet Marvin Bell, a popular guide to public speaking for writers, and an anthology of Northwest writers to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association.

The company's mission remains to develop books of high literary and artistic quality which encourage interest in Shakespeare, the theatre, other performing arts, literature and art among children and adults.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Small Press Story #16: Thin Threads

I live with an idea about human potential, the common ability to create reality. So I pulled a story from the Akashic Records and wrote a novel, transforming those seeds of human potential into a stream of consciousness on paper that I can present for sale. Now, those seeds are alive, sprouting in someone else’s mind – someone I’ve never even met. That’s incredible.

Thin Threads, the first novel in a series, introduces a handful of ordinary people – just like you and me. They hail from all walks of life in Tibet, England, Tasmania, Canada, Brazil, the US and France. From across the globe, only this handful of people can potentially save humanity. For tools, they have their intent and the need to survive – and they’d better hurry. The fabric of the Universe is unraveling.

Can they reweave the fiber of reality? Could you? We’re going to face things no one has ever faced before. Can you feel it coming? I can.

I formed a publishing company, Denim Books, to present Thin Threads. Now, how do you sell books?

GayLinda Gardner, Denim Books

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Small Press Story #15: Bennett Up For 8th Award

The Pale Surface of Things has been short-listed for the Montaigne Medal, part of the Eric Hoffer Awards. The Montaigne Medal is given to the most thought-provoking titles, books that either illuminate, progress, or redirect thought. Books are nominated for the medal by the judges of the Eric Hoffer Awards.

If it wins, it will be the eighth award for the independently published novel from Hopeace Press. "Amazing, eh?" writes the author Janey Bennett, who is a member of Book Publishers Northwest and spoke to the group last fall about how to promote a small press novel.

"I'm in my Canada time of year," added Bennett, who lives part of the year in British Columbia and part of the year in Washington. "Makes heading south for BPNW tricky. But I still love the group. Best support group ever!"

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Small Press Story #14: Books that rock!

"We publish books written by or about music and musicians. Books that rock!" writes Gary McKinney about Bellingham's Kearney Street Books.

McKinney joined his first rock-and-roll band at age sixteen, and worked professionally as a musician for two decades. These days, he continues to play acoustic rock-and-roll with Fritz & the Freeloaders.

Kearney Street's books include Tribute to Orpheus, an anthology of short fiction, poetry, and non-fiction prose by or about music or musicians, as well as McKinney's mystery, Slipknot, about a Deadhead turned sheriff investigating a murder in southwestern Washington.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Small Press Story #13: Builder Boards and Other Hands-On Projects

Jack McKee is a builder/designer who started volunteering in the schools when his kids were in school.

"Much to my surprise kids were appreciative of the hands on activities I did (many copied from old science books) and I went on to teach woodworking and science for the city Parks Department. Parents and teachers kept asking about both woodworking and my set of Builder Boards so I wrote two books: Woodshop for Kids and Builder Boards," writes McKee on his website

McKee's YouTube page also includes videos on builder boards and other projects.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Small Press Story #12: Dogwise

Dogwise Publishing was established in 2001 as a subsidiary of Direct Book Service Inc. and to produce and market high quality books on dogs.

Dogwise is committed to publishing books that improve upon the information available, use humane training methods, cutting edge science, and proven solutions to make living with a dog more fun and enjoyable. Their audience includes dog owners, trainers, breeders, dog sports competitors, veterinarians, shelters, and dog-related professionals.

Over the years Dog Writers Association of America, DWAA, has selected several Dogwise books for their highest honor, the Maxwell Award, and book industry insiders recognize that Dogwise Publishing titles give readers well-written, sound educational information on dogs.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Small Press Story #11: Bright Ideas for Learning

MaryAnn Faubion Kohl has a passion for children and for their natural creativity through art that first permeated her teaching years, then her parenting years, and now her current daily life. That passion became a publishing company in 1985, Bright Ring Publishing, Inc., with her first book Scribble Cookies: Creative Independent Art Experiences for Children (now Scribble Art). There was nothing on the market like it and it has become a cherished classic for parents, teachers, childcares, homeschools, and libraries around the world.

Bright Ring has progressed from that simple classic to a full color glossy art book for kids, Great American Artists for Kids: Hands-On Art Experiences in the Styles of Great American Masters (2009). When asked about independent publishing, Kohl says, “Independent publishing has given me a voice and a crayon-bright-pipeline directly to kids that has changed the face of art for children in this country. What used to be cute kid crafts directed by adults is now true art inspired by children’s own creativity. My mission has been a joy and continues to grow as I bring my passion to the lives and art tables of kids everywhere. One of the side benefits of my independent press is traveling and speaking to large groups of educators and librarians around the country, sharing my passion for creativity and art for children, and best of all, sharing hands-on art experiences with them. After they have been through ten or fifteen art experiences, and they feel the hands-on joy of pure creativity, they are hooked! If I sell a few books in the process, well then, I know I’ve succeeded.”

Bright Ring Publishing, Inc. recently completed a count of all the books in print that Bright Ring has published, those Kohl has written for Gryphon House, Inc. (another independent press), and those translated in numerous foreign countries. The total it is closing in on 2 million copies. Kohl was asked, “How many children has each copy reached?” She replied, “The sheer thought of that number is gloriously staggering and impossible to know. It could be over sixty million, if I do a quick estimate. I think I will just take a moment and stare at the clouds imagining each of those children finding art within themselves. Inspiring doesn’t quite cover it!”

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Small Press Story #10: Bestsellers One Laugh At A Time

Being on a top-ten bestseller list would make a publishing house of any size proud. But a small Washington state humor publisher with only eight titles has managed something of a sales coup during a tough holiday season, proving that depth can be as good as height.

Basho Press
, based in Mukilteo, Washington, is the producer of the Haiku for Life® series of humorous haiku gift books. Billed as “witty, insightful, inspiring, and sometimes just plain weird,” each book is filled with 100 seventeen-syllable poems aimed at the funny bone. From Haiku for Coffee Lovers to Haiku for Catholics, the series adds a new target market every other month or so.

“We’re trying to make enough titles to fill just about anybody’s gift shopping need,” says poet and publisher David Ash. He even wrote Haiku for Christmas in case customers needed something generically festive and fun for the holidays.

Book buyers seem to agree. The Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association (PNBA) has crunched the holiday sales numbers from the premier independent bookstores in its five-state region to see how the 152 titles in its annual Holiday Catalog fared. Taken individually, Ash’s books did respectably. But from the beginning, Ash has believed that the product line’s strength lies in the diversity of the series. “People ask me which book is my favorite, or which one I hope will sell the best,” relates Ash. “I tell them I really don’t care which title they like most. I hope they will buy the one most appropriate for their friend or loved one.”

And that’s what pulls the Haiku for Life® series up into bestseller territory. PNBA reported that when sales of the eight titles are combined as if they were one book, the series comes in at #7 on the Holiday Catalog bestseller list. Coming in so high is even more impressive when one considers that:

  • Five of the six books that ranked higher were being advertised nationally
  • PNBA Holiday Catalog is the only marketing promotion to customers that Basho Press has ever done
  • Only a fourth of the stores initially ordered Ash’s books in November for the catalog promotion (others were slow to order; some never did)
Ash is very pleased overall, and hopes those who passed now recognize they missed a sure seller. “I was very pleased with the results that PNBA’s catalog provided,” Ash states. “It was our first time launching an advertising campaign. The sales bolster our reputation and give us a solid foundation for future growth. Our exposure on the back page of the mailer was essential to our success. The books will be in this spring’s Leafing Out Catalog as well and we look forward to continuing our relationship with PNBA and its member stores.”

In preparation for supporting the spring catalog, David Ash will be appearing at more than a dozen stores and events in the Northwest between March and May. You can enter his name in the search bar of to find details. For more information on the books, go to or call (206) 200-9525.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Small Press Story #9: Volvos by Frederick Su

bytewrite LLC is the publisher of An American Sin, about an Asian American and Vietnam. In the novel, David Wong’s Volvo breaks down on the freeway outside Missoula, MT. This actually happened to me and my wife when we were moving from Kalamazoo, MI, to Seattle. So, I incorporated that breakdown into the story, having Wong meet the fictional representation of one of the pivotal heroes of the Vietnam War, the guy who saved civilian lives at My Lai.

“One December, our 1987 740 Turbo Volvo station wagon died. Its death was a great mystery. What killed it?” So begins my humorous article, “Can an Ex-Physicist Fix His Volvo No-Start?” available at It took me six weeks to diagnose and fix the car, in the middle of winter. I grew as a backyard mechanic. And, I decided to turn that knowledge and experience into the aforesaid website to help do-it-yourself Volvo mechanics. There was a need for it because so many manuals leave out critical steps and rarely produce good troubleshooting procedures.

Is there a return? If the self-help documents have saved people money (do you know the cost of professional mechanics these days?), I ask for a donation of $4-$6, depending on the topic. At the same time, I make a pitch for them to buy my novel at a 20 percent discount. I have also signed up for Google Adsense. No, I’m not making much money, but I’m having fun getting the word out about me and my novel in a guerrilla marketing sort of way at almost no cost. Participating in Volvo chatrooms, where I’ve been promoted to “Senior Member,” I’m getting more hits per day on my stepbystepvolvo site than on my An American Sin site,

People want to save money, and learn.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Small Press Story #8: Blogging to Book

Blog to Book & Beyond (Orion Wellspring) outlines a new approach to writing that helps authors successfully create an audience for their work while they write.

BPNW president Tom Masters explores why publishers are starting to view the blogosphere as a fertile ground to find promising writers. As he pointed out during a recent BPNW meeting, an author who blogs can identify and quantify the audience for their work and this is attractive to risk averse publishers.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Small Press Story #7: Nixon Book Debuts on President's Day

Book Publishers Network has released an intimate look into the family of one of this country's most influential, innovative, and controversial American Presidents: Richard Milhous Nixon. The life of Richard Milhous Nixon will forever be a focal point of 20th century American history.

Written by Nixon's youngest brother, Edward Nixon , tells the story of the family both before and after Nixon's term in office in The Nixons: A Family Portrait.

Publisher and BPNW board member Sheryn Hara said this is the first book that she has ever launched at a presidential library. Ed Nixon appeared at the Nixon Presidential Library Musuem in California on February 16 to reminisce about the family, growing up in Orange County, the early influences of the community on his brother, and to sign copies of the hardback.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Small Press Story #6: Exxon Valdez skipper says he’s sorry

A new release from Epicenter Press, The Spill: Personal Stories from the Exxon Valdez Disaster, is creating some news in Alaska because one of its interviews contains an all-out apology to Alaskans from Capt. Joe Hazelwood, who commanded the oil tanker that went aground in Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound twenty years this month, spilling an estimated 11 million gallons of crude oil.

In the new book, sixty-two men and women share personal stories in their own words describing what they saw, how they reacted, and how they coped with North America’s worst tanker spill. Reliving their experiences were fishermen, Alaska Native villagers, biologists, environmentalists, sociologists, Exxon executives, the governor, mayors, journalists, workers who washed oil rocks—even Hazelwood.

“I was the captain of a ship that ran aground and caused a horrendous amount of damage,” Hazelwood told co-author Sharon Bushell. “I can’t escape responsibility, nor do I want to. I would like to offer an apology, a heartfelt apology to the people of Alaska for the damage caused by the grounding of a ship that I was in command of.”

The book and Hazelwood’s apology were the subject of a front-page lead story in the Anchorage Daily News on March 5.

Other first-person accounts tell of a shockingly slow response, the struggle to save the stricken tanker, the often heroic but largely futile efforts to limit the spread of oil and clean the beaches, a heart-breaking loss of fish and wildlife, and a loss of innocence among Alaskans who believed this spill never would happen.

Epicenter Press printed an initial press run of 5,000 copies of The Spill in a trade paperback original with a list price of $17.95. Among its 288 pages are 18 pages of color photos and an elaborate two-page map. Epicenter is a regional trade publisher based in Fairbanks, Alaska and Kenmore, Washington specializing in nonfiction titles about Alaska and the Pacific Northwest.

For more information, visit or contact Kent Sturgis at

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Editors' Conference: Beyond Red Pencil #2

Want to improve your professional editing skills and revel in the company of more than 100 fellow word lovers? Sign up for "Beyond the Red Pencil, No. 2," the second biannual conference organized by the Northwest Independent Editors Guild. It takes place at North Seattle Community College on Saturday, March 28, and is open to members and nonmembers alike.

The conference offers a full day of activities, with something for everyone. Enjoy professional development workshops, interact with expert speakers, and meet fellow editors. The keynote speaker is Sheila Bender, publisher of Writing It Real, an online instructional magazine. Sheila will speak on “Using Our Hearts to Head in the ‘Write’ Direction: Editors and Writers Moving Forward.”

Morning and afternoon seminars will address such topics as dealing with problem clients, online vs. print editing, tooting your own horn, editing longer manuscripts, and “Taking Control of Microsoft Word,” led by Hilary Powers from the San Francisco Bay Area. Plus, there’ll be a catered lunch (included in the conference fee) and an informal lunchtime spelling bee! Get the best choice of sessions by registering now at

The Northwest Independent Editors Guild ( is a 12-year-old professional and social network for editors in the Pacific Northwest, with more than 200 members in four states.

Small Story #5: Margaret Doyle starts Orcas news site

BPNW member and publisher Margaret Doyle has a background as a newspaperwoman and recently launched a new website devoted to telling the news for the residents of Orcas Island.

Margie, as she calls herself on Bullwings, been an Orcas Island resident since 2001 and the editor of the Islands Sounder from 2006 to 2008. She hopes to make Bullwings " a new model of journalistic notice, debate and depth" where "citizen journalists and contributors are monitored by editors."

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Small Story #4: Following Marco Polo Across Asia

BPNW member Harry Rutstein was the first person to accurately follow the route of Marco Polo over land and sea from Venice, Italy to Beijing, China, making his own journeys from 1975 to 1985.

The author of In the Footsteps of Marco Polo: A 20th Century Odyssey, originally published by The Viking Press, Rutstein currently heads The Marco Polo Foundation, Inc. This non-profit foundation is dedicated to providing a better understanding between the East and the West by means of international research.

Rutstein worked with Bennett & Hastings in Seattle to publish The Marco Polo Odyssey in September 2008. An interview with Rutstein about his adventures was broadcast on February 9 on Sound Focus and can be heard at KUOW's website.

Extra: The February 9 Sound Focus broadcast also includes an interview with BPNW member Kunle Oguneye on the publication of his first book Sikulu and Harambe By the Zambezi River

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Small Press Story #3 by Linda Carlson, Parenting Press

Why should authors consider small presses?

Because many small presses don't distinguish between front list and back list: they promote their back list, and their back list authors, as enthusiastically as they do those brand new books. Because selling rights and licensing are important sources of income for small presses, some pursue these opportunities, and that can mean significant income and exposure for authors. Because a small press recognizes that its authors cannot live off royalties, and may assist its authors in landing speaking engagements, school visits and other revenue-producing assignments. Because small presses invest emotionally in each book they publish, and in each author, which means that publishers and authors often become trusted colleagues, and sometimes dear friends.

Linda Carlson handles marketing and media relations for Parenting Press.