Clay Stafford, founder and CEO Killer Nashville, has announced the launch of Clay Stafford Books, a six-person independent publishing house located in Franklin, Tenn., 15 minutes south of Nashville.

Stafford said he decided to form a publishing house to take advantage of the writing talent that takes part in Killer Nashville, which began life as a writer’s conference but has since become a well known and rapidly growing resource for writers. “For over a decade, we’ve been discovering new writers at Killer Nashville for other major publishing houses,” Stafford said. “We’ll still continue to do that, but it only makes sense that we should also expand our vision and publish the authors we truly love to read.”

Towards that end, Clay Stafford Books will release five books this year, including three novels, Paid in Spades by Richard Helms, The Damage Done by P.J. Parrish, and Bar None by Cathi Stoler. Stafford eventually would like to publish at least 10 books a year. Distribution will be through Ingram.

In addition to the novels, Clay Stafford Books will also release the first installment of its Killer Nashville Presents… series, a short story anthology featuring works from Jeffrey Deaver, Robert Dugoni, Steve James, Anne Perry, John Gilstrap, and more. There are also plans to release the inaugural edition of Broken Ribbon, a literary journal, this month. Created in order to give a platform for new and emerging voices in the writing community, the journal will be available in both print and digital editions.

Stafford said he sees the formation of the book unit as an extension of Killer Nashville, as well as of the Killer Nashville Claymore Award, which was founded in order to help to discover unpublished authors. “A part of me wanted to continue that process, from finding these authors and then carrying them through to a finished book, and also continuing onward as these writers build a career,” he said. “It’s a journey I’ve walked with so many who are now published at other houses.”

He added: “I wanted a publishing company that operated with the transparency of the old houses, and with the editorial guidance of the old editors. I’m interested in building the long-term careers of writers, not just focusing on the current book. I’m fascinated by the individual voices.”