After about 40 years in the music business, acting as the personal manager for such artists as Miles Davis, Frank Zappa and Willie Nelson, Neil Reshen decided it was time for a change. So in 1986 he founded Benay Enterprises, a personal- and business-management firm catering to independent book publishers.
Along with his daughter and partner, Dawn Reshen-Doty, Reshen has created a business that can take over any back-office function—from accounting to contract negotiations to foreign rights sales—for small publishers and other book-related businesses.
The firm's clients include about 13 small publishers, among them Steerforth Press, Softskull Press, Seven Stories Press and the Overlook Press. And Benay recently added a new client, Disinformation, the alternative publishing and media firm/community.
Based in Danbury, Conn., Benay has seven employees. It charges a monthly fee based on the services a publisher wants. Inevitably, Reshen said, clients add more services over time.
Chip Fleischer, publisher of Steerforth Press, said his former distributor recommended Benay, and now the company handles all of Steerforth's royalties, business statements and invoicing. "There are other companies like them, but none so well-versed in book publishing," said Fleischer.