Greg Kofford Books – A profile of a Mormon studies publisher

Greg Kofford Books has become a significant player in Mormon studies publishing. Greg Kofford, a Utah-based investor, created the company in 2000. It was originally known for producing just a few books a year about Mormon theology and history. In the last six years it has significantly increased the number of books it produces, and has published a wider variety, including more literary works. The ideological content of the books covers a wide range of positions, and the company is seen as occupying a middle ground in terms of orthodoxy and scholarship. This profile will look at the origins of the company, its place in the wider world of Mormon studies publishing, and solicit the opinion of authors who have worked with the publisher.

Greg Kofford and the origins of Greg Kofford Books

Greg Kofford is the son of LDS business owner Lewis Kofford. The elder Kofford bought Covenant Recordings, a small LDS tape recording business in 1977 and eventually turned it into a publisher, Covenant Communications. Lewis Kofford also created his own chain of bookstores, Seagull Books & Tape, in 1987.

Image taken from Financial Review.

Greg Kofford received a BS from the University of Utah and an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He became a financial manager, specializing in the capital markets, hedge funds and private family office investing. He founded the corporate finance group at the Salt Lake City broker Wilson Davis. In 1990 he was brought in by his father to become the President and CEO of Seagull Books & Tape. Continue Reading →

Introducing Immortal Works Press

by James Wymore, Immortal Works Press Acquisitions Editor

Immortal worksImmortal Works Press, a new publishing company centered in Salt Lake City, Utah, is now open to submissions. Focusing on genre fiction for general audiences, we intend to distinguish our work from other small presses by focusing on a very specific reader audience and producing entertaining books of higher moral quality. We want our readers to know they can count on us to deliver what they are looking for every time. If our books were movies, they’d be the lighter side of PG-13. Every book we release will be released in all the e-book formats, in addition to trade paperback and audiobook.

So what’s different? We want to produce books that everybody over the age of 12 can enjoy, regardless of the age of the protagonist. Continue Reading →

Publisher’s Corner: Future House Publishing

FHPlogosAdam Glendon Sidwell is here to tell us about his publishing house, Future House Publishing. Adam founded the house in 2012, to publish his first book, Evertaster. In November 2014 he turned it into a full LLC company, and began publishing other people’s work. Over the last year it has published over a dozen of YA, Middle Grade, and Picture books, from a variety of authors. Based in Utah, many, but not all, of its authors are LDS.

The more I attend conferences such as LTUE, Storymakers, and Salt Lake Comic Con, the more I am surprised at the number of science fiction and fantasy writers scratching out stories in the state of Utah. It’s as if a comet were hovering overhead (perhaps Calamity itself), bestowing imagination and character arcs on the populace, turning them to their keyboards in droves. Is this perception a result of confirmation bias? Maybe. Or is there something to the fact that Salt Lake Comic Con is the fastest growing Con in the nation? And Utah ranked highest for number of google searches for the term “Star Wars”? Utah is a nerd gold mine!

So where will all those stories go? Continue Reading →

What color is a polar bear? Redefining ‘adult’ in ‘adult fiction’

Today’s guest post is by Penny Freeman, editor-in-chief at Xchyler Publishing.

Xchyler_logo_color_hi-res-2Although Andrew asked me to write a blog post for his site some time ago, the date of publication came and went with me still staring at the monitor, unable to formulate my thoughts—or, at the very least, unable to figure out how to adequately express my thoughts in a way that would communicate my intent. Then, I read an op-ed in the New York Times about university students who are so intent on protecting [insert special interest group of choice here] from any sort of offense or emotional turmoil, they are campaigning to restrict freedom of speech and the actual texts used in courses.

Huckleberry Finn had to go because of the N-word. Guest lecturers must be un-invited from speaking because they used the N-word in discussing the evolution of the N-word and its social acceptability. Euclid could not be taught in humanities classes because it might trigger emotional responses in victims of violent crime. Such persons may not feel safe or sheltered in such discussions, so those discussions must not occur. Anywhere. Ever.

I believe this is where we, as Mormon writers, too often find ourselves, and why the term “Mormon literature” causes some readers to roll their eyes in frustration. We are so intent on sheltering the reader from offensive material, we wrap them up in cotton and set them in a cozy egg carton, safely deposited on a high shelf. The problem: when readers happen upon stories that refuse to admit life rarely comes equipped with bubble wrap and packing peanuts, they find the writing shallow and dissatisfying, with little dimension and no color. Continue Reading →

Publisher’s Corner: Trifecta Books

tristiprofilepic2012My name is Tristi Pinkston, and I don’t recall a time in my life when I didn’t want to become a writer. I wrote my first story when I was five—a gripping tale about a little dog who wanted to be a ballerina. It had drama, it had conflict, it showed the power and importance of having a dream—it was basically awesome. Fast forward through my teen years (I’ll spare you a synopsis of my angst-ridden poetry phase) and into the year 2002. I published my first novel through Granite Publishing, and my dream came true. Perhaps the little dog in my story was somehow cheering me on.

trifectalogoOver the years, I’ve had a lot of fun interacting with other authors in the industry, as well as putting out books with a few different publishers. I also worked for a short time as senior editor for a publishing company. Every so often, the thought would flicker through my head, “When I have my own company . . .” and I’d push it away. I didn’t want to run a publishing company, did I? It seemed too far-fetched. Well, I changed my mind.

MPHPI started Trifecta Books in September of 2013 because I was concerned about a trend in young adult books—a focus on darkness. While it’s true that many of these dark books include redemption, I felt it was time that young adults had a broader range of new releases to choose from, stories that were lighter and full of more hope. Continue Reading →

My experience with self-publication (so far)

We’ve talked a fair amount on this blog about the publishing aspects of Mormon Lit. Wednesday, Darrel Nelson wrote about his experience as an LDS author with a Christian-market publisher. For three years, Chris Bigelow arranged a regular Publishers’ Corner feature with guest posts from various editors and publishers active in Mormon Lit–Bigelow was even generous enough to share sales information from Zarahemla Books as of February 2012. Andrew Hall (the almost-all-seeing-eye of Mormon Lit) has assembled tables on the number of titles various Mormon presses have put out each year since 2005. Anyone willing to dig around a little on this blog can find a wealth of information on Mormon publishers, small to large.

Off the top of my head, though, I can’t remember any posts dedicated to the process and prospects of self-publication. Recent developments, particularly through Amazon, have changed the dynamics of self-publication such that it’s being increasingly hailed (or hyped?) as the next big trend in publishing, period. But what does self-publication add to the rich range of options for a Mormon writer today?

I don’t actually know, so I’ll just tell you my story instead. Most readers here know that I self-published my first novel, The Five Books of Jesus, in September. It recently won the Association for Mormon Letters’ Novel Award and is currently a Whitney Finalist. Today, I’ll follow Chris’s lead by sharing sales numbers, then give a brief behind-the-scenes look at each major step in my process. I will bold headings–feel free to skim to the parts of the process that are of interest to you. Continue Reading →

From the Writer’s Desk: The Future of Irreantum

Since 1999, Irreantum has been committed to publishing the very best in Mormon literature. Over the years, a number of editors and editorial board members have volunteered their time to discover, polish, and publish this literature, passionate in their conviction that promoting and preserving LDS voices is a communal responsibility. Christopher Bigelow founded the magazine, and at the end of his editorial tenure new editors stepped forward. Laraine Wilkins, Valerie Holladay, Scott Hatch, and Angela Hallstrom all served as editors-in-chief over the magazine’s 13-year lifetime. I took over editorial duties in 2010, and was joined by co-editor Josh Allen in 2011.

Continue Reading →

Publishers Corner: Write the Story that Matters

Guest post by Christopher Loke, executive editor of Jolly Fish Press

When I was first approached to join Jolly Fish Press (JFP) as executive editor, my first question was, why Utah. After all, all of the houses I’ve been involved in are headquartered in the east coast, mainly New York and Boston. Don’t ask me why, but the common consensus is that if your house is in New York, you must be big. So, naturally, I was curious as to why JFP would want to set up shop in a state not particularly known for its publishing industry. But after a good observation, and being LDS myself, it is apparent why Utah is a good choice–this state is brimming with great and talented writers. In fact, the LDS culture focuses heavily on reading and producing good and wholesome literature, the LDS fiction genre being one of the most prominent genres among LDS readers. Continue Reading →

Break It Down!

Like Lehi of old, I stepped from the front door of my house and found something beautiful sparkling in the sunlight. It was not a Liahona; it was the final proof of iPlates Volume 1, a graphic novel based the Book of Mormon that Jett Atwood and I produced. (Note: this book keeps kids quiet during sacrament meeting).

I say I found the final proof there because I had gone through two unfinal proofs previously, their beauty having been marred by the difference between the black produced by Photoshop and the black produced by QuarkXpress. But I had fixed the problem, and now we had a perfect proof. (Note: you can buy this book with its pure tones of black on Amazon or from our shop page.)

But I could not rest. Like Lehi, I needed to venture into the wilderness—in this case, the wilderness of Kindle. Continue Reading →

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