TitleTown, a small press with headquarters in Green Bay, Wisc., is moving in new directions less than a decade since it was launched in 2008 to publish true crime narratives and inspirational stories of survival. This fall, TitleTown—the name of the company refers to Green Bay’s nickname as the hometown of the Green Bay Packers—is launching two imprints: TitleTown Children, for its young readers' titles, and Peregrino Press, which will specialize in inspirational books containing religious themes.
Tracy Ertl, TitleTown’s founder and publisher, explains that it is launching TitleTown Children after doing a "soft release for BEA" of 14-year-old Emily Ross’ debut novel, Blue’s Prophecy, in May. The science fiction novel, which features dogs as main characters, is the first in a planned series that will be published under the new imprint.
Ertl said that after reading the manuscript, she knew she wanted to publish Blue's Prophecy, but didn't want to add it to TitleTown's adult offerings, so TitleTown Children was born. "I knew I wanted to publish it but we’re not a children’s publisher. I have so much interest in her—it doesn’t make sense to have her as part of our regular line.”
Ertl will give Blue's Prophecy a second round of promotion this September with the official launch of its children's imprint. The second title in TitleTown Children will be the first title in its Growing Strong Together series, entitled Kindness in a Scary World, written by Rebecca Hubbard and illustrated by Becca Johnson. Kindness in a Scary World, which examines terrorism in terms that children can understand, is being released on September 8, three days before the 16th anniversary of the terrorist attack upon the U.S.
“The Growing Strong Together series will address topics that parents are afraid to talk about with their kids,” Ertl said, noting that the author of Kindness in a Scary World is a therapist whose specialty is helping those who have experienced traumatic events.
TitleTown is launching Peregrino Press as an imprint following the acquisition this summer of the two-year-old De Pere, Wisc., publisher of four titles containing Roman Catholic themes. Peregrino’s founding publisher, Travis Vanden Heuvel, has been named TitleTown’s president and COO by Ertl, who, until now, has run the press as a one-person operation distributed by Midpoint Trade.
“Peregrino really caught my eye,” Ertl said, describing the merger as a “wonderful business marriage that keeps our brand clean and gives us a lot more depth.” The imprint emphasizes books about different types of survivors, with Ertl pointing to such books as Heaven & Back: The Journey of a Roman Catholic Priest (2015) by Fr. John Tourangeau, the story of a priest who claims he went to heaven and came back during surgery, and One More Day: On a Mission to End Bullying (July) by Joe Christensen, the account of a man with disabilities who was bullied both as a child and as an adult and writes about the people around him who had a positive impact on his life.
In its flagship imprint, TitleTown is publishing three titles this fall: Slave (Oct.), a memoir by Jabali Smith, a survivor of human trafficking; Journey of the Heart (Oct.), a memoir by Richard Crystal, actor Billy Crystal’s brother, that includes a foreword by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; and Blue Lives Matter: In the Line of Duty (Nov.), the first volume in an eponymous historical true crime series spotlighting policemen and women killed in the line of duty. The series is being written by former Los Angeles County district attorney Steve Cooley with L.A. Police Department archivist Robert Schirn.