Tag Archives: book industry news

Meet the Authors in January 2015

Lisa Black

Lisa Black

Two exciting events promise to benefit both authors and readers in late January. The first of these is the Writers’ Domain program at Norris Home Furnising in Naples, Florida on January 29 from 5:30-7:30pm. No reservations needed to attend. Just show up. Among the many authors selling and signing their books will be Karen Bartlett, Ben Bova, Karen Harper, Lisa Black, James Lilliefors, Jean Harrington, Gwendolyn Heasley, Don Farmer, and Chris Curle. See Writers’ Domain – Norris Home Furnishings for more information.


Two days later, there is a splendid event planned in Sarasota by Avon Books.

Avon Books and Bookstore 1 Sarasota are teaming up to bring Florida romance readers the area’s first-ever multi-author KissCon (an Avon Affair!) on Saturday, January 31, 2015. This special VIP event includes a catered mix & mingle with the authors, followed by a special “Actor’s Studio”-type discussion, audience Q&A, interactive trivia, and an exclusive book signing (there will be tons of books to buy onsite!).

The star-studded author line-up includes: Katharine Ashe, Maya Banks, Lena Diaz, Megan Frampton, Jeaniene Frost, Laura Lee Guhrke, C.J. Kyle, Julia Quinn, Kerrelyn Sparks and C.L. Wilson.  For details, see Avon Romance Presents: KissCon Sarasota- Eventbrite

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A blazing, heart-wrenching novel of Bangladeshi independence

 Sponsored book reviews are reviews paid for by the author or publisher. Most often, sponsored reviews are reviews of books that would otherwise not get attention in the shrinking marketplace for review publication. Usually, this means self-published books. By refusing to publish reviews of self-published books, review editors can avoid their share of the stigma attached to self-publication. They can also avoid having to consider books that – in many cases – do not meet professional standards. Most of all, they can save time by hiding behind such a policy. With so many books to consider, review publications – and reviewers – can simply ignore this category of publication, which grows larger every day.

There are, of course, many self-published books worthy of notice. What’s an author to do? Wait for word of mouth to click in?

Sponsored reviews are the answer. Some publications will offer placement of professionally written reviews at a price. Note that I said “placement.” The ruse is that the author is not being charged for the writing of the review (and thus, supposedly, the reviewer is not being paid by the author).

Fees are fairly standard for this kind of sponsored review (placement). Here is a link that explores the policies of one book review publication (print and online) that offers the sponsored review opportunity.

 Portland Book Review – Submitting Books for Review

My own experience with the sponsored book review marketplace came during my attempt to establish a relationship with the San Francisco Book Review and its twin the Sacramento Book Review. The main editor/publisher of these periodicals needs a good number of freelance reviewers on hand to create the editorial copy required to serve its public, build circulation/viewers, and attract advertisers.

By sharing the proceeds of a sponsored review with the review’s author, the publication can please everyone.

When this enterprise (SFBR/SBR) circulated a list of books available for review, sponsored review possibilities were also listed. I decided to give it a try and put my name in for one of the sponsored review titles. I chose The Silent and the Lost by A. Zubair, I hoping that the book would turn out to be one I could address with honesty and objectivity. In fact, I was pretty sure this would be the case after doing a little research on the title.

The book arrived, I read it carefully, did my job (though writing in the extremely short form customary in such periodicals is neither my strength nor preference), and uploaded the review according to instructions. Then I waited for the review to appear.

It took longer than I expected (the paying author had some influence on the timing of when the review would come out), but the other day – there it was online. It was, honestly enough, labeled as sponsored review. What seemed odd to me, at first, was that I was given no by-line. Perhaps this was to protect me from the stigma of writing a sponsored review!

However, I approached the task in the same way I approach all my reviewing projects. I had reasons to admire the book, and I had no qualms about the arrangement. But do I trust other reviewers’ sponsored efforts? Hmmm.

Here it is: The Silent and the Lost | City Book Review

What do you think about sponsored reviews?

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Keeping Up with Sandy Lender

by Philip K. Jason

This article appears in the November-December 2010 issue of Fort Myers Magazine. Click here to see it: Ft.Myers magazine – Sandy Lender

The early fall of 2010 found fantasy author Sandy Lender in a whirlwind of projects coming to fruition. As she enjoyed her new home – a canal-view condo on Cape Coral from where she can walk to everything she needs – this refugee from Naples added three new titles to the three she already had in print. It’s been an exciting time for her, with new challenges built upon solid accomplishments.


Lender has worked diligently and effectively to build a fan base in the world of fantasy fiction with her “Choices” novels: Choices Meant for Gods (2007) and Choices Meant for Kings (2009). Complex plot lines, striking characters, and the remarkable, legendary domain of Onweald have captivated readers and won the acclaim of critics. Is Sandy Lender an established star in the literary firmament? Not yet. However, the seeds have been sown. With these two titles from ArcheBooks Publishing plus What Choices We Made (2008 from BookSurge), a supplement of related short stories, Sandy Lender is recognized and respected among her fantasy writer peers, and her work has a growing list of followers.

Writing, of course, comes first. Lender loves the time she can spend spinning out her world of sorcerers and dragons, her saga of duty, loyalty, and betrayal. Far less attractive is the time she allots to networking and marketing. Yet she is committed to these tasks.

Thus, the first few days of October found Lender in St. Louis, attending the 34th annual Archon convention. At such a gathering, she interacts with and amplifies her audience: “When I set foot into a convention like DragonCon in Atlanta, ConQuest in Kansas City, ConText in Ohio or Archon in St. Louis, I’m stepping among a crowd of people who watch the same shows I watch. We read the same books. We use the same corny jokes. If I say ‘Kapla,’ they all understand me. I had a radio personality interview me not long ago, and he asked if I wrote anything out by hand. I told him that I do sometimes because my host enjoys the tactile sensation. He kept right on asking questions, but any Stargate SG-1 fan listening that day was rolling! At one of these conventions, everyone would get that reference and then, of course, proceed to buy one of my books because I’m just that cool.”

She is.

Lender considers the business of marketing her work to the public important: “Signings at Barnes & Noble, Borders, Hastings, etc., are hard to come by because corporate rules dictate which authors are allowed to have stand-alone book signings. If you’re not in Amazon’s Top 100, you have an uphill battle. Knowing the customer service rep at the local store is vital. You want to be able to show that person what kind of crowd you can bring in to elevate his or her sales on your special signing day. You want to show him or her how great you are at participating in local author events. Flexibility is an awesome trait.”

Sandy Lender on social media: “I use social media with balance. An author friend of mine alienates people with constant updates. That’s counterproductive. That’s navel-lint marketing. No one cares what time an author went to bed last night. No one cares about the weather in her neck of the woods unless a hurricane has just lifted your roof or an earthquake has just opened a fissure that’s eaten your car. That’s Tweet-worthy. If I see someone updating their status about rain making them feel like taking a nap, I figure they write boring books. I teach this in the social media workshops I give. Now, audience matters in your marketing efforts, even with social media. I have a lot of followers on Facebook who are into companion parrots, so I’ll post updates about crazy things my pet birds have done. The nice thing about that is most people who don’t own parrots get a chuckle out of these antics, too.”

Here’s what’s new:


Problems on Eldora Prime is a young adult sci-fi/fantasy novel that adults can enjoy. When collecting reviews and cover blurbs, Lender sent the manuscript to adult reviewers who are connected to teens in some way. These previewers were encouraging. The premise: “a 17-year-old girl crash lands a spaceship on a foreign and hostile planet. She assumes command for the survivors and ends up learning about leadership as she takes her team through a monster-infested land to what they hope will be a safe haven to call for help. I won’t spoil anything, but ‘help’ doesn’t arrive the way it’s supposed to, and her dragon allies aren’t always the good guys you want them to be.”

This book, which is a slightly revised version of Lender’s entry in the 2009 3-Day Novel Contest, will be published by her own company, Night Wolf Publications. Canadian writer Jamieson Wolf is her partner in this venture.

Why go out on your own? Says Lender “We figured out that we both had awesome books that our test readers praised, and we wanted to publish them without the hassle of agents or publishers or production schedules that relied on other people. We knew of other writers going through the same process. There are some incredibly talented people out there who have skill and storytelling ability, but the gatekeepers aren’t letting them in. So we decided we would help.”

An important Night Wolf project is A Yuletide Wish. “This is an anthology of children’s stories, young adult stories, sweet romances, and poems that encompass Thanksgiving, Christmas, winter, and New Year’s. The cover art is a gorgeous illustration by local artist Aluska Bissaro, who has exhibited at the Naples Press Club’s Authors & Books Festival in the past. She’s extraordinary and the winter scene of a Blacktop Chickadee that she provided is lovely. It really sets the tone of a sweet, family book. We wanted something full of positive, happy endings, and the authors really delivered. We plan to have it ready for ordering by early November.” 

The second new Lender book is What Choices We Made, Volume II, Short Stories and Legends from the History of Onweald. Writes Lender, “This chapbook includes more meat than the first one and includes a novella called The Influential Love Story of Ella and Rohne. My fans will wonder about that for a moment because I don’t write love stories. That’s all the warning you get about that. Local artist Megan Kissinger, who’s preparing the lovely illustrations at The Edison House these days, helped with formatting and the front cover and is responsible for the awesome map of Onweald.”

Sandy Lender’s third new book is Desecrated Ring from Keith Publications, scheduled for Halloween as part of a Halloween series. “This is a horror story that takes place in Collier County. Evil faeries and wolf-like beasts terrorize a woman who doesn’t realize how much we’re held accountable for in our lives.”

A busy author and now a publisher, Sandy Lender is chairing the 2011 edition of the Naples Authors and Books Festival, which is scheduled for early April.

Find out more about this nonstop writer at authorsandylender.com. Also, check out nightwolfpublications.com.

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Barringer Publishing Seeks Books That Matter

This article appears in the January 13-19, 2010 issue of the Fort Myers Florida Weekly. It is available at Florida Weekly – Barringer Publishing. It also appears in the February 4-10 issue of the Naples Florida Weekly.

For Jeff Schlesinger, whose advertising and marketing career includes over two decades in Naples, the collapse of home building presented a challenge. Many of his clients are local builders whose misfortunes have been his as well. After researching new ways to apply his talents and experience, Mr. Schlesinger made a surprising choice: book publishing. Most failed publishing endeavors, he believes result from faulty marketing – and marketing savvy is Mr. Schlesinger’s forté.

Barringer Publishing, a name that combines his own last name with that of his wife – psychologist-author Dr. Molly Barrow – is a full service publishing house that guides authors through four major steps: publishing, marketing, graphics, and advertising. For Jeff Schlesinger, however, marketing considerations embrace the entire process. Authors who do not want piles of books in their closets need carefully designed plans that target potential readers and turn them into buyers.

With a background in art, Mr. Schlesinger feels that his creative side is responsive to the needs and aspirations of authors. He savors the preliminary conversations that eventually build the author-publisher relationship. Mr. Schlesinger entered advertising from the perspective of graphic design, and he steps into publishing with both that interest and decades of marketing know-how.

“Publishing,” for Jeff Schlesinger, includes editorial assistance, cover design, interior layout and design, and printing. A book’s appearance must attract attention and provide a message. The impact of the cover and the power of the title are essential marketing decisions. So are decisions about manufacturing quality, distribution channels, and pricing. Each book’s price must include a percentage allotted to marketing costs.

 “Marketing” includes public relations, media contacts, review copies, mailings, press releases, networking (electronic and otherwise), and speaking engagements. Branding the author as an expert on topics addressed in the book opens up marketing opportunities.

“Graphics” supplements book design with advertising design, handouts, bookmarks, fliers, web site design, business cards, and posters for book signings and other exhibits. For Mr. Schlesinger, “a distinctive, cohesive graphics campaign is essential.”

“Advertising” goes beyond ad design to include print and electronic media placement. Barringer Publishing works to define the market for a book and reach that market “with the correct message as cost effectively as possible.” Many books have niche markets (“grandparents purchase four out of ten children’s books”), and advertising campaigns must exploit media that truly reach the potential buyers.

Self-published authors have the opportunity to make far more money per book than authors who work with traditional “royalty” publishers. However, this opportunity cannot be realized unless the authors receive appropriate guidance and assistance. Jeff Schlesinger developed Barringer Publications to do just that.

Published authors unhappy with their books are turning to Barringer Publishing for book makeovers. Makeovers typically include reshaping the book’s content, stylistic smoothing, a new title, enhanced graphics, more astute production and pricing decisions, and – of course – an effective marketing plan.

 Barringer Publications established its initial list of titles primarily by word of mouth, and interest has spread far beyond Naples, aided by the promise of a 60-day turnaround time and the showpiece titles by Dr. Molly Barrow.

Jeff Schlesinger has discovered that there are many good writers in the Naples area, accomplished people with fascinating experiences who are ready to share what life has brought them and taught them. He intends to help them refine their voices, share their stories and insights, and do it all effectively.

If a book already in print is in desperate need of a strong marketing campaign, Mr. Schlesinger offers that service as well. For information, write to info@barringerpublishing.com.

Coming soon (along with new Dr. Molly Barrow titles):

 “Six Months to Dr. – How I Completed My Dissertation in Six Months and Saved Thousands of Dollars” by Dr. Judi Cineas, Ph. D. The title says it all. February.

“Seven Soldiers” by Philip Storm.  This substantial makeover of a fact-based Vietnam War novel involves seven military brothers, a golden triangle drug operation, and the Congressional Medal of Honor.  February.

“Why Men Must Lie to Women” by Philip Storm. What types of lies are there? When do men/boys start lying to women, and why are they compelled to become experts in the art of lying? March.

“Why Wait? Be Happy Now,” by Donna Daisy, Ph.D.  A self-help book answering the question, why wait for something to happen to provide your happiness when you can be happy now?  Even people living in dire circumstances can attain happiness by following good advice. March.

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Peg Longstreth: Renaissance Woman

Indiana-born Peg Goldberg Longstreth is a woman with many college degrees and many areas of accomplishment.  Trained as a classical musician, she first built a 15-year career in social work and health care administration, helping sexually abused and battered kids. She performed in a dance band and as a duo piano partner. In 1980, she began a new career as a private art dealer. In 1998, shortly after her marriage to Joseph Longstreth – known as a concert harpist, author of award-winning children’s books, and a force in the publishing world – the Longstreths moved to Naples. By year’s end, she and her husband opened the Longstreth Goldberg Art Gallery, the largest contemporary gallery in the area. First located on 12th Avenue South, the gallery moved to 5640 Taylor Road on the infamous date of September 11, 2001.

Along the way, Peg Longstreth developed a career as the classics and pops music reviewer for Naples’s daily paper, and more recently as a features columnist for Florida Weekly. She is also involved in charities and animal rescue programs.

And now Peg Longstreth is a book author and publisher.

Peg Longstreth always wanted to write, and she kept journals for years. Because her father managed the Farm Bureau Printing Corporation in Southern Indiana, the smell of ink and the noise of presses was part of her childhood, as was hand-setting type, reading upside down and backwards. Even today, she “gets high on the smell of paper and books.”

These paragraphs preview an article that appears in the November-December 2009 issue of Fort Myers Magazine. The full article is available at: Ft.Myers magazine – Peg Longstreth


Peg with hero of "A Bear Called Charlie"

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Books Across the Bridge

Sunshine 4

This was the working title of an article I submitted to the Naples Florida Weekly.  It was published in the August 20-26, 2009 issue. To read it, click here: Florida Weekly – Sunshine Booksellers.

 Here are some other book industry pieces in Phil’s archives:

Trident Press                                      Wickham Books South

Mina Hemingway                                  Whitehall Printing

Ft.Myers magazine – ArcheBooks

Stuart Unsworth in the south branch of Sunshine Booksellers

Stuart Unsworth in the south branch of Sunshine Booksellers

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New Book Talk Radio Show

             “Cover to Cover” with Frank Gromling  

It’s with great pleasure and anticipation, I invite you to tune in to my new radio talk show about books and the book industryFrank Gromling


   What’s it about? 

It’s all about books!  Cover to Cover” will examine all aspects of the book publishing world — from what titles are really hot, to up-and-coming authors, to the fascinating world of how books are produced and marketed.  My guests will come from every aspect of the book world, including publishers, authors, illustrators, buyers, reviewers, and more.



http://wnzf.com/radioarchives.html and select cover to cover and date.

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BOOK BEAT 46 – Janet Evanovich

BOOK BEAT   Naples Sun Times    June 13-19, 2007

by Philip K. Jason

Janet Evanovich needed a “mud season” house. She had a house in New Hampshire and a condo in Boston, but she wanted to get away from the extreme cold and the messy thaw that follows. After driving around Florida and rejecting many other locations, she settled on Naples for several reasons. Key West was too inaccessible, and Evanovich didn’t feel that she had had enough plastic surgery to qualify for Palm Beach. Naples excited this best-selling author immediately.

A very busy and disciplined writer (she is up and writing at 4:30 each morning), Evanovich doesn’t spend much time preparing meals. So, a large assortment of outstanding restaurants is a must, as are easy travel connections, a full range of services, and the sense of living in a real town with a distinctive character. After a few short years, Naples became her primary residence. For Evanovich, Naples is the place where she does not have to make the choice between having a life and pursuing all of her writing projects. She can have it all. 

We know Janet Evanovich best for her enormously popular Stephanie Plum crime novels, a series about a bounty hunter and her hilarious, suspenseful adventures. Though Evanovich was already a successful writer (primarily of romance fiction) before she invented Plum, this series broadened her readership enormously and placed her firmly on the best-seller lists.

Success breeds demand, and Evanovich is riding the crest of a wave as she builds a brand name by authoring reliably entertaining novels. For the past two years, she has brought out seven books a year. These include not only novels in the Plum series, but also titles in others series, some of which are collaborative endeavors, and also reprints of earlier works for which her fame has assured a new readership. In fact, collaboration – enjoyable in itself – provides an opportunity for her to meet the demand for more books with her brand name on them.

The latest Stephanie Plum installment, “Lean Mean Thirteen,” comes out in hardcover on June 19, but Evanovich sent it in only two weeks before our sit-down (on May 10). Not many writers could get away with this – but a dependable best-seller can. It follows after a special hardcover Plum Valentine’s Day Novella, “Plum Lovin’,” published in January; a hardcover omnibus “More Plums in One” (Plum titles number four, five, and six) published in April; and another April title, the paperback original “Hot Stuff,” co-authored with Leanne Banks.

Also on June 19 comes the paperback of the Plum “Twelve Sharp,” to be followed in late July by the paperback of “Motor Mouth.” And, if the bookstores have room, these titles will be joined in the fall by “No Chance,” Evanovich’s first collaboration with Stephen J. Cannell, and by “The Grand Finale,” the re-release of a pre-Plum romance.

This South River (New Jersey) High School graduate and Douglass College art major was not an instant success as a writer. Many manuscripts were rejected by publishers and agents before Evanovich (as Steffie Hall) hit with a title in the now-defunct “Second Chance at Love” line. Then she published regularly with the Bantam Loveswept imprint. Eventually, Evanovich decided that she wanted to enter the world of crime fiction, and, after two years of brainstorming and research, she invented Stephanie Plum.

Evanovich has no illusions about being or becoming a hi-brow writer. The immediate past president of the Mystery Writers of America, she means to be entertaining to a wide variety of readers. People who read literary fiction can switch off to an Evanovich novel for something light. “People who only watch television can read my books,” she says. “They are really television substitutes. I design them that way.”

Find out more about this amazing writer and “Lean Mean Thirteen” at Evanovich.com, a website that receives millions of hits a month and which the author believes is critical to her success, keeping her in touch with her readers and keeping her readers in touch with each other. Designed and run by her daughter, the website has helped generate an electronic family of devoted Evanovich readers, who return often to enjoy its changing content, contests, and Evanovich news. The website helps prepare the anticipation for each new book. When I checked on May 29, three weeks before its release, “Lean Mean Thirteen” was already the #23 best seller on Amazon.com and #13 on Barnesandnoble.com.

Philip K. Jason, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of English from the United States Naval Academy.  A poet, critic, and free-lance writer with twenty books to his credit, this “Dr. Phil” chairs the annual Naples Writers’ Conference presented by the Naples Press Club.

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BOOK BEAT 44 – Whitehall Printing

BOOK BEAT   Naples Sun Times   May 23-29, 2007

 by Philip K. Jason

The name is Whitehall Printing Company, but when you ask its president, Jeff Hirsch, what his company does he says that it manufactures books. This fine distinction cuts in two directions. On the one hand, Whitehall is not in the brochure, flyer, and postcard business. On the other, it has bookbinding equipment and can provide any publisher, organization, or individual with a finished product. With a very high national reputation, Whitehall counts among its satisfied customers many who choose to self-publish. Its large facility on Corporate Square off Radio Road is a busy, state-of-the art place where page and cover stock arrives at one end and boxes of finished books get shipped out at the other.

Jeff’s father, Mike, began the business in Chicago in the late 1950s. Several relocations brought them to nearby Wheeling, Illinois where by the early 1980s the business found itself (once again) running out of room. It needed space to house a new press for book covers. After carefully researching possible new locations, Whitehall rented space in the J & C industrial area and installed the press there, later acquiring a lot in Corporate Square and relocating once again. This partial move to Naples occurred in 1983-4.

Hirsch says that the economics of shipping covers back to Illinois made Naples as good a place as any from a business standpoint. Shippers gave Whitehall special incentives since many brought full trucks or air cargo capacity to Naples and left nearly empty. Before long, Whitehall had same-day air freight service for less than the cost of three-day truck service.

Enjoying the Florida weather and lifestyle, company leaders decided to move the entire business to Naples, and by 1990 they acquired additional adjacent space in Corporate Square. The planning, building, and full transition of operations was completed in 1992. By starting with a clean slate, Hirsch and his partners were able to plan for an efficient work flow, for future growth, and even for future technologies.

After long experience with self-published authors and with all kinds of organizations publishing books for the first time, this agile enterprise has learned how to consider the needs of novices. Whitehall benefits from being customer-friendly as it guides customers through the steps in the printing process.

For many customers, the first point of contact is Sandra Yeyati, Whitehall’s Marketing Director. Yeyati helps customers in several ways. She prepares book printing quotations, sends out samples and information kits, and determines what specifications best serve the customer’s purpose. Once she understands the nature of the book and how the author plans to market it, Yeyati can recommend the most appropriate features.

Yeyati can also assist in the layout and design of the book’s interior pages and its cover. Sometimes authors can do much of this work themselves; sometimes she will suggest that a particular objective requires the services of a graphic designer.

Yeyati can answer questions about how many copies to print, about shipping and distribution, and about copyright issues. She can help authors obtain ISBN and Library of Congress numbers for their books.

Once a project comes to Whitehall, two other people join the team – a customer service representative and a technical specialist. They stay in touch with the customer while preparing the book for printing, preflighting the customer’s digital files, and creating proofs. Every customer receives text and cover proofs for review and approval.

Most authors prepare their manuscripts as text files in Microsoft Word. Though book pages can be formatted in Word, it is best for these files to be converted into professional software that is meant for book design and that readily communicates with high-end printing technology. Whitehall, through its website, makes available special software that allows conversion from Word and then permits customers to refine their files. Yeyati can test these digital files to make sure that they will run properly at the printing stage.

Hirsch and Yeyati are proud of Whitehall Printing’s customer service. Sandra Yeyati claims that you never get voice mail at Whitehall: “We are very accessible and eager to find solutions for our customers.”

Herself a writer, Yeyati loves to hear about people’s book projects. She is impressed by the contributions Whitehall’s authors and publishers make with diet books and exercise manuals, addiction recovery books, investment how-to’s, and more. She enjoys the poetry books and cookbooks, too. It excites her to see a self-published author fulfill the life-long dream of writing (and publishing) a book.

While effective at working with self-publishing authors, Whitehall serves all kinds of customers and projects: directories, industrial catalogs, training manuals, university journals, religious books, and so forth.

Find out more by visiting whitehallprinting.com.

Philip K. Jason, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of English from the United States Naval Academy.  A poet, critic, and free-lance writer with twenty books to his credit, this “Dr. Phil” chairs the annual Naples Writers’ Conference presented by the Naples Press Club.

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BOOK BEAT 42 – Mina Hemingway

BOOK BEAT   Naples Sun Times   May 9-15, 2007

by Philip K. Jason

Do you want to shop for books, sell books, or have a book designed and printed? Between them, the husband and wife team of Jon Rothenberg and Mina Hemingway can take care of your book needs. As an owner of Presstige Printing, Jon can provide you with information and service on all your printing concerns. He calls his outfit a “single source solution.” As the owner of Mina Hemingway’s Florida Book Store in Naples, Mina will open her shelves of used and new books for your perusal and recommend titles for your reading pleasure. She might also take some old books off your hands. Together, Jon and Mina can guide you through a personally tailored process from the design through the production and pricing of your book via their Kilimanjaro Books printing program. 

Presstige Printing, located at 10940 Harmony Park Drive in Bonita Springs, has a twenty-five year history in the area. Four years ago, Jon Rothenberg joined Bob Wiedenmiller to become a co-owner of the firm, which is not only a one-stop printing establishment but also provides direct mail services. Presstige has a digital press for short run print-on-demand jobs as well as the traditional ink-to-paper printing press for high quality larger print runs. Many customers choose to have a book produced digitally in order to have a small number, perhaps 25 or 50, available for showing to stores, distributors, or trade publishers – or even for proofing purposes – before deciding on the quantity of the full print run.

All Presstige Printing needs from a customer is a basic Word file. The less formatting the author has done, the better. Jon and his staff will reformat the material and send back design options, along the way developing an understanding of an appropriate cost to the author and an appropriate retail price for the finished product.

Two recent books printed at Presstige are Skyblue Pink, a gorgeous collection of Gulf Coast Florida sunset photographs by Jason and Kristyn Schwartz, and the 2007 edition of Valerie Miller’s Naples Restaurant Guide. The latter is a Kilimanjaro Books project, though the former could just has well have been due to the joint input of Jon and Mina on design and pricing issues. Mina wrote the introduction to Skyblue Pink.

She also wrote an introduction for a special printing of her grandfather’s classic The Old Man and the Sea, the sales of which benefit the Ocean Conservancy. This book is only available locally, and most conveniently at Mina Hemingway’s Florida Book Store, which is located in the Pavilion Shopping Center at 857 Vanderbilt Beach Road. That same address had already been a destination book store for over twenty years before Mina started here business there this past September.

Mina’s place is one of that vanishing breed of independent book stores in which customer and owner can genuinely enjoy talking about their reading interests. Mina is an enthusiast who has read widely, who keeps current, and who can match up customer interests with her own knowledge of related titles that the customer is bound to enjoy. There is no running to the computer – she can put her hand on the book suited to her customer’s taste or help the customer pick out a book for a gift.

As the name of the store suggests, Mina stocks a great many titles of interest to Florida residents and visitors. She is also generous in allowing space for books by local authors. As her own name predicts, there is a sizeable number of titles related to her grandfather’s life and career – as well as editions both popular and rare of his books. There is also a generous selection of magazines.

Other areas of specialization among the used and rare book holdings have to do with modern greats such as Edgar Rice Burroughs, Graham Greene, and other trailblazers. There is a good assortment of science fiction and an unusual collection of vintage paperbacks and magazines. Celebrity biographies are also available. And if Mina doesn’t have what you are looking for on her shelves, she may have it stored at home.

So come in, grab a cup of Manatee Coffee (or buy a bag with Mina’s picture on it for home brew), browse, talk books and Hemingwayana with the engaging proprietor, and breathe in the atmosphere of a place where books are not just displayed and sold, but truly loved.  

Philip K. Jason, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of English from the United States Naval Academy.  A poet, critic, and free-lance writer with twenty books to his credit, this “Dr. Phil” chairs the annual Naples Writers’ Conference presented by the Naples Press Club. Send him your book news at pjason@aol.com.

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