Barry Libin’s “The Vatican’s Vault” tops Milford House Press bestsellers for March

Barry Libin’s “The Vatican’s Vault” tops Milford House Press bestsellers for March

MILFORD HOUSE PRESS – Bestsellers for March 2019 (by Revenue)
Rank Prior Title Author Category
1 NEW The Vatican’s Vault Barry Libin Detective Thriller
2 9 Where Elephants Fought Bridget Smith Historical
3 1 Dead of Winter Sherry Knowlton Murder Mystery
4 8 Emeralds of the Alhambra John Cressler Historical
5 19 The Wolf of Britannia part 1 Jess Stephen Hughes Historical
6 All the Aliens in the Neighborhood Donald Dewey Short Stories
7 The Sign of the Eagle Jess Stephen Hughes Historical
8 Dead of Autumn Sherry Knowlton Murder Mystery
9 5 Winter of the Metal People Dennis Herrick Historical
10 6 Moon Games Shelly Frome Detective Thriller
11 Dead of Summer Sherry Knowlton Murder Mystery
12 13 Dead of Spring Sherry Knowlton Murder Mystery
13 Who’s Killing the Brooklyn Dodgers? Donald Dewey Detective Thriller
14 7 As the Raven Flies Job Leach Crime Thriller
15 12 Atonement Kyle Alexander Romines Western

Link to Milford House Press Bestsellers …

Keith Rommel takes the top spot at Hellbender Books / Verboten Books for March with “White River Monster”

Keith Rommel takes the top spot at Hellbender Books / Verboten Books for March with “White River Monster”

HELLBENDER BOOKS – Bestsellers for March 2019 (by Revenue)
Rank Prior Title Author Category
1 White River Monster Keith Rommel Supernatural Thriller
2 1 The Keeper of the Crows Kyle Alexander Romines Supernatural Thriller
3 The Devil Tree II: The Calling Keith Rommel Supernatural Thriller
4 2 The Cursed Man Keith Rommel Psychological Thriller
5 7 The Lurking Man Keith Rommel Psychological Thriller

Link to Hellbender Books Bestsellers …

Karim el Koussa’s “The Phoenician Code” is the Ars Metaphysica bestseller for March

Karim el Koussa’s “The Phoenician Code” is the Ars Metaphysica bestseller for March

ARS METAPHYSICA – Bestsellers for March 2019 (by Revenue)
Rank Prior Title Author Category
1 2 The Phoenician Code Karim el Koussa Metaphysical Fiction
2 Let Me Carry You Home Susan Kiskis Metaphysical Memoir
3 1 Jesus the Phoenician Karim el Koussa Religious History
4 5 The ABCs of Narcissism Michelle Hoffer Relationships
5 3 Living in the Afterlife Michele Livingston Metaphysical
6 4 The Complete Story of the Worldwide Invasion of the Orange Orbs Terry Ray Paranormal
7 The Crossers #2 – The Circle Terry Ray Metaphysical Fiction
8 The Crossers #3 – Crossing the Valley Terry Ray Metaphysical Fiction
9 Inspirational Creatures Michele Livingston Metaphysical
10 10 Messages from Beyond Michele Livingston Metaphysical

Link to Ars Metaphysica Bestsellers …

Tory Gates’s “Searching for Roy Buchanan” is the Brown Posey Press bestseller for March

Tory Gates’s “Searching for Roy Buchanan” is the Brown Posey Press bestseller for March

BROWN POSEY PRESS – Bestsellers for March 2019 (by Revenue)
Rank Prior Title Author Category
1 NEW Seaarching for Roy Buchanan Tory Gates YA Science Fiction
2 NEW You Are Not Alone Jyssica Schwartz Abuse Memoir
3 2 Whispers in the Alders H A Callum Literary Fiction
4 1 The Accountant’s Apprentice Dennis Clausen Literary Fiction
5 3 The Heatstroke Line Edward Rubin Climate Fiction

Link to Brown Posey Press Bestsellers …

Mike Sgrignoli’s “Dinorific Poetry volume 1” is the Speckled Egg Press bestseller for March

Mike Sgrignoli’s “Dinorific Poetry volume 1” is the Speckled Egg Press bestseller for March

SPECKLED EGG PRESS – Bestsellers for March 2019 (by Revenue)
Rank Prior Title Author Category
1 Dinorific Poetry v 1 Mike Sgrignoli Juvenile Animals
2 Dinorific Poetry v 2 Mike Sgrignoli Juvenile Animals
3 Dinorific Poetry v 3 Mike Sgrignoli Juvenile Animals
4 3 Colors in the Garden the Creator Made Wendy Latty Juvenile Christian
5 4 The Bear Wendy Latty Juvenile Adventure

Link to Speckled Egg Press Bestsellers …

FAQs

We’ve signed a number of new authors in recent months. We also continue to receive many of the same questions from a lot of you. I thought it best to summarize these into an FAQ for this month. Here we go!
Q. When will we see the production queue report? It’s been many months since you included it in this newsletter.
A. I know we promised to provide an updated version of this but we just aren’t ready. We’ve been too busy releasing and selling books. We will get to this soon.
Q. How do I order books at the author discount?
A. Go to our bookstore at www.sunburypress.com. Find the books you want to order and use coupon code A50 when you check out. This code is for authors only and triggers your discount. Please note that your order total must be at least $100 in order to qualify for free shipping.
Q. When will I get my author copies?
A. We do not automatically send you your author copies. Many authors wait until their first book order and have them added to it. In that case, include a note with your order. If you just want your free copies, send a note to orders@sunburypress.com. Identify yourself, your book title, the number of copies, and the shipping address.
Q. When will I get my royalty statement?
A. We send statements four times a year on January 31, April 30, July 31, and October 31.
Q. I have not received a royalty check. When can I expect one?
A. When your total royalties hit $50 or more, you will receive a check in the mail. These checks are issued fifteen days after the royalty reports — four times a year.
Q. It’s Wednesday and I need books for a signing on Saturday. Can I get books?
A. Please allow up to three weeks lead time to be sure to get your books in plenty of time. Our print orders usually are prioritized lower than consumer orders so we are at the mercy of the capacity of our printer partners. Please try to plan ahead, if possible.
Q. I am working on a new manuscript. Must I go through your submissions process like I did the first time?
A. The short answer is “no.” If a new fiction concept, send to Chris Fenwick at cfenwick@sunburypress.com. If nonfiction, send to me at lknorr@sunburypress.com. Please include a summary of the book in your email and your estimated completion date. Also note which number it is in the series, if applicable.
Q. I’ve been waiting quite a while for you to start my book. Why the delay?
A. We are working diligently to catch up on our backlog all the while signing new authors. We are making significant progress in recent months. Bear in mind we are also always re-prioritizing our backlog based on category and market conditions. If you think your manuscript has been waiting too long, reach out and find out why.
Q. I’m selling too many books and my royalty checks are too large!
A. Yeah, right! Maybe you should move to Baltimore and run for mayor!

Scandals

This has been a very strange month in the publishing industry. If you haven’t heard, down below the Mason-Dixon, Baltimore’s mayor, Catherine Pugh, is now on leave from her position due to health reasons. However, she has been embroiled in a self-publishing scandal that sure smells like corruption. Somehow she managed to sell hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of her Healthy Holly series of books to various municipalities and organizations in the DC-Baltimore metro area. It is alleged some of these organizations received favors in exchange. Amazingly, the book series has little action on Amazon or other platforms — mostly available to the mayor’s exclusive clients. We all know how hard it is to sell 1000 copies of a book let alone 100,000 in one deal!
Meanwhile, the New York Times is embroiled in a scandal regarding its bestseller list. How many of us have faithfully believed the New York Times to be the ultimate arbiter regarding which books are worth reading and are selling the best? It has been the goal of many authors just to chart on their Sunday bestseller list. I had recently written about this being a sham — subject to being gamed by shady bulk purchases.
Now we learn former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett’s new book Finding My Voice charted at the NY Times despite very low rankings at Barnes and Noble and Amazon. If you check, you will see only 30 reviews on Amazon, most of them trashing the scandal. Apparently the publisher, Viking, used a third party to game the system by buying a huge quantity of the first print run. I am sure you will find this book in all the bargain piles at the beach this summer. You might buy it just to stomp on it or throw it out. Surely the publisher will lose money on this deal — their scheme backfiring. This hurts all of us in the book trade — especially the authors who really are selling well at independent presses and don’t get the time of day from the NYT. This is a lot like that college admissions scandal …

And one more. You can read the article below about the myriad of scandals on the Amazon platform. There is a lot of graft going on. While we refuse to game their system in any way, once again it is the dishonest perpetrators who are hurting everyone else …

TV shows and awards

This past month brought even more good news for the Press. Karim El Koussa has been with us since 2010 when we published his historical novel Pythagoras the Mathemagician–he’s been with us as long as Thomas Malafarina and Keith Rommel. We have published his retelling of the history of Jesus based on Phoenician records and artifacts in his native Lebanon. This book, Jesus the Phoenician, has been one of our bestsellers of all-time. It is our most exported book. We were also very fortunate that Karim sent us his novel The Phoenician Code, an action-adventure that delves into many of the mysteries discussed in his nonfiction book about Jesus.
Karim hails from Lebanon — the country — not the town in Pennsylvania. He has visited us on two occasions, even presenting at our bookstore when it opened at 50 West Main in Mechanicsburg. While the bookstore is no more, Karim has endured. Now, we hear The Phoenician Code has been picked up by Northern Star Pictures to be a five-season TV show in the US and worldwide. Nick Tarabay, a Lebanese-American actor, will play the lead. He is best known for his role in Spartacuson Starz. He also appeared in Sex and the City, The Sopranos, and numerous other television and movie roles. This will be a fun ride for Karim. The book was published seven years ago, but it will only now be gaining prominence. I am sure it will continue to be a bestseller at Ars Metaphysica for some time to come.
Kristen Cunnane is the author of Undoing Jane Doe, the gripping story of her escape from sexual abuse as a teen by a teacher and then a coach. Subsequently, she helped put her perpetrators behind bars. Her book has been one of our better sellers since its release in early April. Late last month Kristen was on the Dr. Oz show where her book was featured. The show was taped and has yet to air. We will let you know when it does.
Also this month we got word that our book A Short Season, about the incredible life and faith of a boy with progeria who loved baseball and inspired others, has been awarded the top prize in the Family category of the Christian Independent Book Awards. Authors Jake Gronsky and G. David Bohner were thrilled to hear the news. It helped to remove some of the sting of losing Josiah Viera who was David’s grandson. Josiah passed away late last year, but always provided those around him with a positive outlook on life despite his near-hopeless predicament. Josiah will be missed, but the book about him will now be read by many more. May his story never be forgotten.

Dreyer’s English

Every so often there comes a book that you just can’t put down. You find yourself laughing and learning and very soon sharing with your spouse or friends. Often such a book is on a subject that you love. Rarely is it on a subject you abhor – like punctuation and grammar.
Yes, I admit, I am a book publisher who did better in math than English on the SATs. While my high school writing teacher (and baseball coach) enjoyed my work and had me read it to the class, I was never a lover of the subject. Mr. Haag, whom we nicknamed “The Tin Man” for his lack of a pumping muscle inside his ribcage, made 9th grade English a chore. Admittedly, I did receive A’s in his class, but they were brutal to achieve. Suffice to say, despite my advanced degree in business, mastery of the written word was not envisioned in my future. When I was running a software consulting firm in the ’90s I never imagined I’d be running a book publishing company two decades later, let alone enjoying editing other people’s work, let alone writing my own.
Alas, a good friend told me about this little book by the head of copy editing at Random House — Benjamin Dreyer — entitled Dreyer’s English. In my opinion, it is an instant classic. It is both humorous and educational. It is a book in which the footnotes are just as interesting and funny as the main text, similar to the subscripts at the beginning of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. No, a moose did not bite Benjamin’s sister. But you do get a silly anecdote about a time an author left out an absolutely necessary serial comma and another about the “actual” difference between grey and gray. One reviewer described it as “pithy.” I humbly agree. It is pithy as pithy can be.
I highly recommend this book to our authors and employees alike — as well to my adult children, coworkers, and clients. This is a writing guide that educates and entertains. If only Haag had been like Dreyer, God rest his soul (Haag’s).

Double, double, boil and …

As of this writing, we are about to hold our third imprint meeting. The first two, with Hellbender Books and Ars Metaphysica authors went very well. There was a lot of positive energy on the calls and the exchange of ideas was more than one-way. At Hellbender, it was decided to produce a compilation of short stories by our authors. There was also collaboration regarding our BookSpeak Network podcast programming. Likewise, at Ars Metaphysica, there was a lot of sharing regarding media opportunities. So far, so good. Next up is Brown Posey Press later this month. Milford House Press and Sunbury Press will follow and then we’ll start the cycle again. Our regular interaction should help build and grow our opportunities.
In the meantime, we have embarked on our most aggressive growth effort to date. Too many of you have been waiting too long to get started while we’ve been shifting our mix. Recently, we realized we have among the 1000+ manuscript proposals per year at least another 100+ quality opportunities. In order to move faster and do more, we have split our process onto two primary tracks — nonfiction and fiction. Over the last 12 months, we published 118 titles. Over the next 12 months, we expect to produce over 200.
How, you ask? We have brought in publishing veteran Chris Fenwick to jumpstart our fiction backlog and new fiction acquisitions. Chris is a publishing polymath who can quickly move books through the process — a process she helped start during the early days of Sunbury Press when she brought us our first fiction manuscript that jumped to #1 in visionary fiction. She has experience at other publishers and has a keen eye for quality and efficiency.
Many of you may have noticed movement on your manuscripts in the last month. Chris has been picking up a bunch as has Jen’s team. You may also be so lucky to have me working with you. It is all hands on deck at this time as we catch up the backlog and attend to the new in a more agile fashion.