When Words Count, a Vermont Writer's Retreat, Shoots Trailer for New Reality TV Show; “Publish or Perish” will Spotlight Competing Authors and Showcase Central Vermont

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Rochester-based When Words Count Retreat is shooting the trailer for a proposed, new reality TV show, "Publish or Perish" that turns authors into fierce pitchmen for their books and offers the winner backing from an all-star book-publishing team. The talent and production crew are all 'locally sourced," and the show will shine a national spotlight on central Vermont.

ROCHESTER, VT: What does it take to ‘wake up’ a sleepy hollow known far and wide for its stunning views and extraordinary quiet? Writer’s colony When Words Count Retreat found a way just eight months after first opening its doors to authors: It made its location the setting for a proposed high-end reality TV show.

This Friday, five “Publish or Perish” finalists, and one alternate, all former guests at the retreat, will return from as far away as Milwaukee, WI and Brooklyn, NY, to meet the show’s judges and shoot a promotional trailer. Steve Eisner, the retreat’s CEO and executive producer of “Publish or Perish,” says he will use the trailer to interest broadcast, cable and emerging online television networks in carrying the program that turns ordinary writers into fierce pitchmen for their books.

“When you hear the backstories that drive these folks to write, and when you see how they pull out all the stops to dramatize and promote their books, you realize this is compelling, riveting stuff!” Eisner says. “What’s more, these authors are chasing a prize that is nothing less than game-changing.”

That prize, which When Words Count Retreat has named, “The Literary Trifecta,” consists of an all-star book-publishing team determined to make the winner’s book a huge success. It includes:

  •     Kenzi and Kenichi Sugihara, president and marketing director of respected New York publishing house, Select Books
  •     Rachel Ekstrom, a prominent agent with the top-flight Irene Goodman Agency, also of New York and
  •     Meryl Moss, CEO of Media Muscle, a leading literary PR firm based in Connecticut

Together, they will provide the winning author with: a book deal, quality literary representation and a national book-launch publicity campaign.

Samson Productions, a Burlington-based video production company, headed by local celebrity and former Late Night Saturday TV host, Tim Kavanagh, has signed on to produce the trailer and the show. Kavanagh’s six-man Vermont crew will be on site from Friday, May 31st to Tuesday, June 4th filming all the action. Kavanagh is both directing and hosting the program.

“We are excited to be associated with such a dynamic, new concept and such great people,” Kavanagh says. “This show is a locally grown operation that will bring renewed national awareness to the beauty, opportunity, creativity and energy that can be found throughout central Vermont.”

Most of the trailer will be shot on site, in the hollow, Kavanagh says. But the show’s elimination round will be filmed on a temporary sound stage that Samson Productions will build in Rochester’s Pierce Hall Community Center. Pierce Hall is now in the final stages of a multi-year renovation.

“The trailer will include shots of such Rochester landmarks as the Huntington House Inn, Pierce Hall Community Center, Sandy’s Book Store and more,” Kavanagh says. “Then, we will treat viewers to a bird’s eye view of this breathtaking landscape as we fly up Rochester Mountain to the retreat.”


About the company: When Words Count Retreat occupies the site of the former Harvey’s Mountain View Farm, which served, for decades, as an inn and weekend farming experience for families with young children. When Words Count Retreat acquired the property in April of 2012 and immediately began extensive renovations, fully modernizing the original farm house and restoring it to its original aesthetic as an 1809 historic structure. Authors Steve Eisner, the retreat's CEO, and Jon Reisfeld, its Sr. Vice President, provide extensive author coaching services and run an innovative, advanced writer's workshop that helps authors rapidly develop their book concepts and manuscripts for submission to agents and publishers. More than 130 authors and their guests have visited When Words Count Retreat, since it opened in the fall of 2012. The retreat offers total escape from daily chores and the chance for writers to focus, exclusively, on their work -- all in a pampered, comfortable, distraction-free environment. Retreat guests enjoy great food, uncommon quiet, natural beauty and solitude. For more information, visit http://whenwordscountretreat.com.

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