Book packager Writers of the Round Table has teamed up with nonfiction comics publisher SmarterComics to produce a line of comics works based on bestselling business, motivational and personal self-help titles. The SmarterComics line of adaptations will launch in 2011 with books based on bestsellers by tough-love personal motivator Larry Winget, Latino entrepreneur Robert Renteria; sales and marketing guru Tom Hopkins, performance psychologist John Eliot and internet distribution visionary and Wired magazine editor-in-chief, Chris Anderson. The books will be distributed by National Book Network.

The books were produced by Writers of the Round Table Press, a book packaging firm founded by Corey Michael Blake, for SmarterComics, a Silicon Valley company founded by Franco Arda. Arda came to Blake with the notion of selecting popular self-help, business and motivational nonfiction and turning them in lively, visually appealing comics, for a “generation of readers who want valuable information in quick, easy to understand bits,” Blake said.

Blake said that he was impressed by Arda’s concept. Arda hired Writers of the Round Table Press to “produce three prototypes for the series as proof of the concept,” Blake said. “With those in hand I went out acting as an agent, contacting authors and their agents/publishers and signing them up for the series. It seemed a natural fit for Writers of the Round Table Press to publish the print versions.”

The books will be 60-70 pages each, “about a 30 to 40 minute read,’ said Blake, and will be perfect bound. Writers of The Round Table Press will publish the print works and SmarterComics will release the books digitally through the iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Kindle and other digital readers. Both print and digital works will display the SmarterComics brand. Print volumes will sell for $12.95 and digital versions for $9.95.

Round Table Press and SmarterComics will publish about a book a month in 2011 beginning with; Larry Winget’s Shut Up, Stop Whining & Get a Life and Robert Renteria’s Mi Barrio (based on From the Barrio to the Board Room) in January; Tom Hopkins’s How to Master the Art of Selling in February; Chris Anderson's The Long Tail in March and Dr. John Eliot's Overachievement in April. The script adaptations for each of the initial release of books was done by Cullen Bunn (except Mi Barrio, which was adapted by Shane Clester) and illustrators include Shane Clester (Stop Whining, the Long Tail and Mi Barrio) and Bob Byrne (Art of Selling)

Both National Book Network v-p of sales John Groton and v-p of business development Gail Kump said they were excited by the potential of the new line of comics they will be distributing and both emphasized that these books are not for children. “These are graphic novels that should be shelved in the business or self-help sections of the bookstore, right next to the original prose versions,” Kump said. “That way, a reader can choose a quick, illustrated and engaging summary and follow up to the original version.”

Blake called the series “revolutionary” and explained that the SmarterComics series “is perfect for busy professionals and the Twitter and Facebook Generations, all of which are inundated with information and prefer to grab meat and potatoes lessons in a quick and entertaining format. Traditional comic book readers will also appreciate that our best-selling authors are valuing the comic format as a vehicle to reach readers.”