Author Solutions has signed its third deal with a traditional publisher to create a self-publishing division, inking an agreement with Hay House to create Balboa Press. According to Hay House CEO Reid Tracy, the publisher receives “thousands of manuscripts annually, but we can publish only 100 products a year.” Similar to agreements with Harlequin and Thomas Nelson, Hay House will monitor the self-published titles to look for potential Hay House authors.
Author Solutions’ agreement with Nelson to form the self-publishing arm WestBow Press is about six months old and the division of the religious book publisher has published more than 50 books and has another 200 in the pipeline. Earlier this month, WestBow sponsored a writers contest through the Orange County Christian Writers Conference in Irvine, Calif., that attracted 41 entries and awarded a publishing package to winner Mary Henderson, who will publish Break Free: Journey with God through Chronic Illness to Health.
Pete Nikolai, director of backlist development, publishing process, and self-publishing services at Thomas Nelson, said WestBow had signed more than 250 authors. “We continue to work closely with the WestBow team, monitoring the sales and reviewing titles for consideration,” he told PW in an e-mail. “While Thomas Nelson has not picked up any WestBow authors to date, it has only been a few months since the first WestBow titles released.”
In religion publishing, Author Solutions also has partnerships with evangelical Christian publisher B&H, the publishing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, which maintains the imprint Cross Books. Within religion, self-publishing particularly appeals to clergy who already have an audience and want an additional medium for getting their message out. Authors can buy their own books at significant discount and produce their work quickly through print-on-demand. “Typically they can get to market quicker,” said Author Solutions’ Keith Ogorek.
You’ve got to keep the flow of new talent coming in as traditional publishing compresses,” Ogorek said. “Right now we see what we’re doing as creating more opportunities for authors and more choices to readers.”