Self-publishing company FastPencil has made a number of inroads into e-books lately, and is expanding further this week. The company has appointed former Simon & Schuster executive Bruce Butterfield to its board of directors, and is developing a new imprint which, said co-founder Steve Wilson, “will cater to mid- and upper-tier authors.” One of the first authors to sign with the as yet unnamed imprint is cartoonist Guy Gilchrist.

Butterfield is a former president of Prentice Hall Regents/Simon & Schuster and is currently CEO and president of The Wittfield Group, an enterprise involved in education and publishing, via print, multimedia, Internet, broadcast, and film. In his role on FastPencil’s board, he is helping develop a new imprint for established writers and “top-tier authors,” a group that Wilson had told PW earlier this year FastPencil would be focusing on. Wilson said FastPencil is on the verge of signing three more established authors this week and has "dozens" more in the pipeline.

Butterfield believes many of FastPencil’s services are appealing to authors who have published with traditional houses. He cited the quality of FastPencil’s publishing software, its higher royalty rates, its quarterly (versus bi-annual) royalty payments, and the availability of monthly sales statistics as incentives to both new and already established authors. “In today’s world of a lot of the major publishers are not taking big risks,” he said.

Gilchrist, with whom Butterfield had worked previously, has a syndicated cartoon in 80 countries. Butterfield said Gilchrist chose to publish with FastPencil because of “the quickness to press, the promotion ability FastPencil has, and the quality of their physical books.”