New Book Consortium To Fill Gaps In Publishing Biz For Literary Authors

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Backword Books is a consortium of seven authors who are banding together to market their recently published literary novels. "With the changing landscape of the publishing industry," says author Henry Baum, "and the countless new avenues for authors to directly reach readers, there has never been a time like this. There's a perfect storm brewing."

Backword Books, a new publishing enterprise out of Los Angeles, fills a huge gap in the publishing business, according to founder and literary author Henry Baum ("North of Sunset"). "With the changing landscape of the publishing industry," says Baum, "and the countless new avenues for authors to directly reach readers, there has never been a time like this. There's a perfect storm brewing."

The perfect storm is that publishers are less willing to take chances with literary fiction while, says Baum, "Emerging media make it easier for quality writers to reach readers. Backword Books is a new approach to the book business."

Named to give focus on old-fashioned values in quality writing, Backword Books brings together the best literary writers that Baum and a small group discovered while reviewing new books. The seven writers use new digital printing technology to publish titles under their own imprints.

After Baum and four other authors landed in Entertainment Weekly a couple of years ago for their well-regarded print-on-demand (POD) books, he saw the gap in what traditional publishers were doing and what could be done. He created a new forum, the website Self-Publishing Review (, devoted to the emerging potential as well as to the pitfalls of self-publishing. He's reviewed many new books and has realized a couple of things.

Yes, there are a number of dull or poorly written self-published books, and their authors don't understand what they need to do. Additionally, subsidy publishers, such as AuthorHouse or iUniverse, "make their money in printing, and so the books are very expensive," Baum says. "That's the main problem with subsidy publishers. Add to that that untested writers rush to print without editing or marketing, and it's unsurprising if people have a hard time selling books."

Backword's authors bring together their quality books to help each other in marketing because they know multiple people pushing multiple, related products together is more effective than one person pushing one product alone. They make clear they're not a publishing company, but a consortium of like-minded authors who have important books that have been getting exceptional reviews.

In short, they are united in purpose under one banner to accomplish three primary goals:

  •      Attain mainstream media coverage.
  •     Generate sales.
  •     Bring an aura of professionalism and legitimacy to high-quality self-publishing.

"The writers in Backword put a lot of care into their work," says Kristen Tsetsi, author of the novel Homefront. "We've all hired editors, book designers, and have acted truly as publishers. The reviews bear us out."

Briefly, the books are as follows. More in-depth overviews can be found at

· "The Brightest Moon of the Century" (ISBN: 978-0615249148) by Christopher Meeks, whose book "The Middle-Aged Man and the Sea" joined Baum's book in the "Best Of" Entertainment Weekly article. "Brightest" is a comic novel of a young Minnesotan blessed with an abundance of "experience"--first when his mother dies and next when his father shoehorns him into a private school where he's tortured and groomed.

· "Homefront" (ISBN: 978-0615139906) by Kristen Tsetsi, a former reporter and award-winning fiction writer. Twenty-six year-old Mia faces a battle against anxiety and despair when her boyfriend deploys to Iraq, twisting herself into self-doubt and self-destruction. Says Emmy Award-winning news correspondent James Moore, "I never had a better understanding of the agony of military separation until I read Kristen Tsetsi's haunting and lyrical debut novel."

· "Broken Bulbs" (ISBN: 978-0578004259) by Eddie Wright. Called "a brilliant and stunningly original work," "Broken Bulbs" tells the story of Frank Fisher and his search for "something." When a mysterious young woman named Bonnie offers assistance by injecting seeds of inspiration directly into his brain, Frank finds himself involved in a twisting mystery full of addiction, desperation, toothaches, hamsters, a vindictive postal worker, and self-discovery.

· "Waiting for Spring" (ISBN 978-1440461163) by R.J. Keller. "Waiting For Spring" takes readers beyond the Maine tourists know, beyond lighthouses and lobster and rocky beaches, and drops them instead into a rural town whose citizens struggle with poverty and loss, yet push onward with stubbornness and humor.

· "Spam and Eggs: A Johnny Denovo Mystery" (ISBN: 978-1598588644) by Andrew Kent, pen-name of Kent Anderson, a writer and publishing expert living in Massachusetts. Johnny Denovo strips crimes down to their metaphorical roots then uses these mental insights to unnerve and thwart criminal plots. This fast-paced novel has been hailed as "a masterpiece of deductive challenge, engrossing reading, and engaging entertainment."

· "Threshold" (ISBN: 978-0595497584) by Bonnie Kozek, recipient of National Endowment for the Arts and the Rockefeller Foundation awards. "Threshold" is a take-no-prisoners noir thriller whose protagonist, Honey McGuinness--a gal who moves to Skid Row to escape a haunting past--descends into a dark, seedy, and dangerously seductive underworld in the fearless pursuit of her best friend's killer.

· "The American Book of the Dead" (ISBN: 978-0578026930) by Henry Baum. Eugene Myers is writing a book about the end of the world, and he soon discovers that his novel is predicting real events. He may be the one to stop the apocalypse. In the tradition of Philip K. Dick and Robert Anton Wilson, The American Book of the Dead explores the nature of reality and the human race's potential to either disintegrate or evolve.

For more information on Backword Books, Self-Publishing Review, or any of the authors, please visit, call Henry Baum at (310) 402-9367.


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