Helen Rosburg, a romance writer and great-granddaughter of Wrigley Co. founder William Wrigley, has founded Medallion Press. The new company, which just released its first titles, plans to be author-friendly and will publish titles that don't fit at traditional houses, Rosburg said. A published author, Rosburg said she "wished that authors could have a better relationship with their publishers, so I decided to put my money where my mouth is." Among the courtesies Medallion will grant authors are input on cover designs and help in planning marketing campaigns.

Medallion will focus on publishing in the categories of general fiction, romance, fantasy, paranormal, science fiction, mystery and thrillers. The company also plans to eventually publish novels for young adults. Medallion's primary format will be mass market paperback. "We want to make the books as affordable as possible," said Leslie Burbank, v-p for marketing and sales. The mass market titles will generally be priced at $5.99 and $6.99.

Within 18 months, Rosburg expects Medallion to be publishing 24 mass market titles annually plus 12 trade paperbacks and an occasional hardcover. Rosburg describes the hardcovers as "adult fairy tales" that will include illustrations. The first hardcover was Rosburg's own Ellie and the Elven King and is a good example of the type of book that most publishers pass on but that Medallion is willing to publish, Burbank noted. Other titles that are just out or due out soon include Nan Ryan's The Last Dance, Jinxed by Beth Ciotta, Lady Dragon by Jewell Mason and Burbank's To Tame a Viking.

Medallion has done a lot of trade advertising, including a PW cover package, to promote itself and its authors, and more trade and consumer promotion is planned. "We realize marketing will be key to our success," said Burbank. And for now Burbank is serving as Medallion sales manager. Baker & Taylor and Ingram are both stocking Medallion's titles, and the company has "incentivized" those wholesalers to sell its titles. The company has also hired a liaison to work with independent bookstores, and Burbank said Medallion will eventually hire rep groups.

Rosburg is operating Medallion as a virtual company. She is based in Palm Beach, Burbank is in Chicago and editor-in-chief Pam Ficarella is in Philadelphia. "We have a lot of conference calls," Burbank said.