After several years of change and uncertainty, the two original forces behind MacMurray & Beck have received investment money to start up their micropublisher again.
Greg Michalson and Fred Ramey, who left M&B to found BlueHen, which was eventually acquired, then discontinued, by Putnam, said they had secured private investment and would begin acquiring imminently for a publisher with "the same model as MacMurray & Beck." The two hope to publish eight to 12 books per year, about the same number they did at M&B.
They'll call the venture Unbridled Books, a reference to BlueHen, which is not a type of fowl but a horse. The pair will use the marketing and publicity firm founded by Caitlin Hamilton, who served as director of marketing at MacMurray & Beck and BlueHen. They'll continue to live in Missouri and Colorado, communicating mostly by phone, and will use commission reps to sell their titles.
Michalson and Ramey will continue their practice of acquiring authors for fairly small amounts of money, hoping to develop them over a long-term period, though they lost some of those same authors to other houses once the authors hit it big. The investment, which the publishers termed a surprise, comes from what they described as a "wholly private and silent" investor. The duo said they have enough money to last for the foreseeable future.
In the year since their contract with Putnam was not renewed, the pair had talked to a variety of publishers, such as Carroll & Graf, about joining up with them. Michalson, who was M&B senior editor, was reported to be in the running for the editor-in-chief position at Algonquin Books. Instead, a few months ago, he took a role there as editor-at-large. Ramey, more the publisher half of the duo, continued to look for funding but had not been actively involved in book publishing.
The move completes a cycle of sorts: the ultimate indie publishing partners, the pair had originally started as entrepreneurs who did not live in the same city and who also began without a distributor or larger publisher to attach themselves to. Said Michalson: "The chance to get back together with Fred came as a surprise, too good an opportunity to pass up. I feel like we still had some unfinished business together."