For Greenleaf Book Group, which sprang to life in 1997 as a distributor and began developing a publishing program in 2000, 2006 is proving to be something of a turning point. The company's distribution program has reached a level where Greenleaf is trimming the number of publishers it represents while taking on more publishing projects. Executive v-p Meg La Borde said that since its inception, Greenleaf has represented more than 700 clients, but that number has now been pared to 203 active clients. At the same time, the number of books published under its Greenleaf Books imprint is projected to increase from eight this year to more than 20 in 2007. And this spring, the company published its first fiction title under the Greenleaf imprint; Charles Eppings's Trust has 10,000 copies in print and Greenleaf has gone back to press for another 10,000.

When Clint Greenleaf founded the company nearly a decade ago, he always intended to get into the publishing business, but knew he couldn't attract authors with large advances, so he developed another lure—distribution. After the distribution arm established itself in the marketplace, Greenleaf launched his publishing program, which is a modified self-publishing model in which Greenleaf charges authors for its services, but allows them to retain all rights. That approach has attracted both established authors looking for more control (and more money) over the publishing process and new authors. Steve Alten, author of Meg (originally published by Doubleday) published his 2005 book The Loch with Greenleaf because he was driving lots of sales through his Web site and felt publishing with Greenleaf would work better financially. The Loch has 80,000 copies in print in hardcover and paperback. Dr. Steven Hotze, founder of the Hotze Health and Wellness Center, has sold more than 20,000 copies of his Hormones, Health and Happiness.

Hachette acquired the paperback rights to Hormones and Warner will release it in June. The success of Trust helped Eppings get an agent, Kirsten Manges, who is working on paperback and foreign rights deals. Another Greenleaf author who's moved on to a bigger house is Hal Runkel, whose ScreamFree Parenting was published by Greenleaf last year; Broadway will publish the book in hardcover next year.

La Borde said that in both its distribution and publishing operations, Greenleaf is looking for bigger authors who have promotion platforms. La Borde noted that she's found two promising titles: David Lieberman's You Can Read Anyone, which Greenleaf will distribute; and The Lost Link by Greg Crawford, which Greenleaf will publish next year. The latter will be its biggest book to date, with a 50,000-copy first printing. Crawford is a management consultant "with a large network of clients," said La Borde.

With its distribution and publishing arms both gaining traction, Greenleaf recently made the Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing private companies. Its sales are estimated at just over $5 million. "We're hoping to make the list again next year," La Borde said.