Launched by veteran crime novelists, Lee Goldberg and Joel Goldman, Brash Books is a new publishing venture with a debut list of 30 titles by award-winning crime novelists. Brash's books are available in print and digital through an exclusive, and unique, partnership with Amazon.
Speaking to the Amazon partnership, Goldberg and Goldman told PW they have long worked with the e-tailer to self-publish their own backlists, as well as those of other novelists. Amazon, they said, is offering the new house a variety of promotional opportunities for going exclusive. Brash Books titles are also available in print via POD also through Amazon and Create/Space, its POD print unit.
“They like what we do,” Goldberg said of the Amazon partnership. “We have award-winning books, they give us special marketing. And many of the backlist books I published did better [with Amazon] than they did with their original publishers.”
Goldman is based in Kansas City, Miss., while Goldberg is based in L.A. Brash Books, a virtual company, has an office manager who takes care of day-to-day operations. The company also employs a freelance staff of copy editors and designers.
For marketing, Brash Books will use social media and Goldman said, the publisher also has a public relations firm it will use. “We’ll be visiting writers conferences, giving away hundreds of copies [of books], and there will be advertising. We’re not relying on Amazon marketing; we think word-of-mouth is essential.” Goldman added: “We have professional standards. Our books are indistinguishable from books from the Big Five.”
The two co-founders are friends who met on the crime/mystery convention circuit, attending events put on by organizations like the Mystery Writers of America. The pair decided to team up and start a company after they found they were both self-publishing and looking to acquire the backlists of deceased authors and revive them. “Brash Books came out of a love of crime novels and pestering by author-friends looking for information on how to self-publish.”
“What sets us apart is that all our books are by award-winning crime novelists,” Goldberg said. “We publish a curated list of crime novels. We’re not all things to all people,” Goldman added. While Goldman said Brash Books contract terms are confidential, “they’re better than traditional trade publishers. We don’t offer 70% but our terms are competitive and fair.”
Both co-founders are veteran novelists, who self-publish while continuing to publish with traditional houses. Goldman published eight novels in his Lou Mason and Jack Davis thriller series with Kensington between 2002-2012, before retrieving his rights and switching to self-publishing, exclusively with Amazon, in 2011.
Goldberg has written more than 40 books, including coauthoring the Fox & O’Hare series with Janet Evanovich. He has self-published over 24 novels. Goldberg is also the author/publisher of Dead Man, a monthly e-book series co-written with William Rabkin, and exclusively published through Amazon.
Before teaming up, both authors were publishing their own backlists, as well buying rights to series by deceased authors, then starting those series up with new authors. This is an approach they will also use at Brash Books.
Brash Books is launching its list with Treasure Coast, an original work by popular crime author Tom Kakonis. Despite launching with a new work, Brash is more focused on reviving backlists. For example, the publisher has acquired novelist Carolyn Weston’s three Krug & Kellogg police novels, which were used as the basis for the 1970s TV show, The Streets of San Francisco. Novelist Robin Burcell will be writing the new novels in the series for Brash Books.
“Yes we can make money,” Goldman said, when asked about the mounting competition to genre fiction publishers from self-publishing. “We’ve got a lot of quality material and there’s a ton of content out there that hasn’t been discovered. All authors aren’t entrepreneurs; you have to be able to reach readers. We’re very confident that we know how to do that.”