Seven years ago it began with how-to titles, moved on to popular culture and this year published its first fiction title. Santa Monica Press, the brainchild of Jeffrey Goldman, is a little publisher with an unorthodox marketing formula -- one that has led to a doubling of revenues in each of the past three years.

"Early on I realized it was next to impossible to make it in this business by relying on the book trade," declared Goldman. "So we've always emphasized premium and special sales, alternate retail, catalogue companies, general merchandisers, libraries and corporations. Our goal is to be profitable with or without bookstores."

Success has led to expansion, and Santa Monica Press has added a commission field force of 30 reps in order to focus more on the book trade. Among those hired was Don Sturtz of Illinois-based Fujii Associates, who has already opened a direct account with Borders.

Until now, Goldman had worked exclusively with wholesalers and taken responsibility himself for creating demand for his products. "I've always been a huge believer in publicity -- and the bandwagon effect," he remarked. "We do mailings, broadcast faxing, media."

As Santa Monica Press closes in on the $1-million revenue mark, it has brought on a new, more experienced crew to bolster the company's growth. Last summer, Ed Young, previously at Bantam and Barnes &Noble, was named sales and marketing director. On board since last fall have been Minju Pak as editorial director, previously with Larry Flynt Publishing, and Valerie Lernihan as operations executive, who came over from the entertainment industry. The latest to join the company is Debra Burleson as director of publicity and sub rights editor.

This year, Goldman is more than doubling the list, to seven titles from an earlier average of three per year. The nature of the title mix is also changing. Previously, most of Santa Monica's books were Goldman's ideas -- such as Offbeat Museums -- which he hired writers to produce and then shepherded through the publishing process himself. "Today," said Goldman, "we are receiving new manuscripts and work from authors who have already been published by established companies but who are looking for more focused marketing, more editorial attention, greater care." One such author is Nancy Savick, formerly published by Avon and Berkley, whose book Tarot Universe is on Santa Monica's fall list.

An important component of Santa Monica's revenue stream is what Goldman calls "service publishing" -- producing books for corporations for in-house use. The press has published two titles for Browning Ferris, a waste-management company, and more than 75 titles for United States Purchasing Exchange, which has used them as promotional giveaways. "This is publishing for the 21st century," Goldman pointed out, "because it combines all the different forms to make a viable, profitable mix."