Despite the combination of a fragile economy and a roilingpublishing industry, people continue to launch presses, although some are doingso by creating innovative business models to minimize their financial risk.Five Stones Press, a press headquartered in Atlanta, jumpstarted operationsthis past fall by adopting a business model that's already been used in themusic and movie industries to finance projects: mystery writer David Fulmer andtwo business-savvy partners, communications professional Tara Coyt and financeexpert Anna Foote, sold 100 shares to 32 of the author's friends and fans inthe press's debut publication, The Fall,by Fulmer. The Fall is scheduled forrelease March 15, 2010.

While Coyt declined to disclose the amount raised by sellingshares, she did disclose that enough funds had been raised to produce andmarket The Fall.

The Fall isFulmer's seventh mystery novel. Previously, his books have been published byPoisoned Pen Press and Harcourt. His first novel, Chasing the Devil's Tail, won a Shamus Award in 2002, and his fifthnovel, The Blue Door, was nominatedfor a Shamus Award in 2009.

Harcourt's not renewing their option to continue publishingFulmer -- despite positive reviews and accolades within the industry for hisprevious works - prompted him to partner with Coyt and Foote in the venturethat evolved into Five Stones Press. Despite its unconventional (for thepublishing industry) business model, the press will otherwise adhere toindustry norms -- such as sending out galleys and ARCs to media reviewers.

Five Stones currently employs its three founders, withassistance from freelancers. Of the three, Coyt has a book publishingbackground, having performing marketing, editing, and writing responsibilitiesfor various small and mid-sized publishers.

The three principals behind Five Stones Press intend topublish fiction and nonfiction books by previously published authors with anestablished fan base.

"I don't think what we're doing is an option for anyone whodoesn't already have real momentum," Fulmer states on the company's website.

While no other books are scheduled for publication after The Fall, Coyt explained that the pressis in the process of soliciting manuscripts from Fulmer's friends andcolleagues in the industry, and hopes that by the end of this year, they willhave signed on at least one other author.

"There are lots of other authors out there who, like Fulmer,have published five, six, seven books, and then couldn't get another deal," shetold PW Daily.

Five Stones Press releases will be distributed throughSmall Press United, IPG's program for small press distribution.