|The 4RV Shop-lett at Serendipity Market, Edmond, OK|
4RV not only has two shop-letts, one at The Market at Quail Springs, Oklahoma City, and one at Serendipity Market, Edmond, but the company also has made the front page of the Edmond Sun
. Paul Fairchild interviewed owner Vivian Zabel and authors Wayne Harris-Wyrick and Charles Suddeth by phone before putting the information gained through the interviews and from the 4RV website
into a well-written article, copied below, which appeared on the front page of the Midweek edition.
Area book publisher fills gap between major, vanity publishers
Edmond resident Vivian
Zabel, a professional writer for almost five decades, loves to tell
stories. Ten years ago she branched out. Today she tells other peoples’
stories, as well. Her small, award-winning publishing company, 4RV
Publishing, is one of the best kept business secrets in Oklahoma.
”We are a small, traditional publisher that produces quality books for all ages,” said Zabel.
looks for authors who fall through the cracks at major publishing
houses, victims of a cost-cutting war being fought at those companies,
Zabel said. With margins in the industry shrinking, larger publishers
tend to focus solely on marquis authors. She finds gems in their
needs to be something between the major publishers who won’t accept
anything and the vanity or self-publishing entities,” she said. “Ten
years ago, I made the decision that maybe I could help fill that gap.”
4RV’s small size, it offers all of the services of a larger publishing
house, separating it from other smaller publishers. Authors do not pay
for editing, illustration, color art, formatting or other needs.
A big part of Zabel’s strategy is giving authors a lot of attention in sales and production.
major publisher puts a book out for six weeks,” she said, “then takes
it off the shelves. We leave it out there as long as the author is with
us. We don’t put a time limit on it. It may be six years or 16 years,
however long they’re with us. That book will be available to be sold.”
publishers lock authors out of the production process, she said. It’s
not uncommon for an author to be excluded from the illustrating, editing
or cover art procedures. 4RV gives authors input on both, attracting
writers who are tired of the way big publishers operate.
we’re a traditional publishing company, we don’t request or require
that manuscripts be through an agent,” Zabel said. “I think we’ve only
had two that came through agents. Everything else is directly from the
4RV also anonymously
evaluates manuscript submissions. Race, creed, color and gender don’t
enter the equation. Neither does an author’s sales history. The process
is so carefully anonymous that Zabel has had a couple of her own
submissions rejected from 4RV. The company only wants quality.
the only way to keep the company honest because we want it to be
universally open for anybody that meets our standards,” she said. “Good
writing is good writing.”
great-grandmother, Zabel does impose a few restrictions on submissions.
Excessive violence and profanity are off limits. But her rules aren’t
getting in the way of attracting — and keeping — authors.
10 years we’ve released at least 115 books. Of those, we still have
about 100 that are still under contract,” she said. “Our contracts
aren’t long-lasting like a lot of other publishers’ contracts. Most of
our authors choose to stay with us.”
Authors like the agility and speed with which 4RV books works. They also like the laser-like focus on quality.
all writers, I submitted to multiple publishing houses. 4RV was very
quick to respond. They do a thorough editing of every book they accept. I
think it’s very critical to make sure it’s the best product that it can
be,” said Wayne Harris-Wyrick, writer of four 4RV titles.
keeps its production process lean by handling everything from soup to
nuts in electronic communications. There are no physical offices.
have email. We have different ways that we can store files on Google
Drive. We can put all of our files together and look at them and share
them and go on,” Zabel said. “The only thing physical is when the books
are actually shipped and there they are. Real, live books.”
are largely electronic, as well, she said, adding that Barnes &
Noble charges for shelf space, increasing sales costs with low to no
promotion. But while readers might not find 4RV on the shelves of the
bookselling giant, they can order titles from the stores.
uses one of the industry’s largest companies — Ingram — to handle
printing and distribution. Ingram ensures that titles are available on
Amazon and available for order by brick and mortar stores. It also
allows Zabel to print titles on an as-needed basis, wiping out
small, agile size allows her to move books through the publication
process faster than larger publishers. It’s a process that can take up
to seven years at bigger publishing houses. Zabel has shaved that time
to a matter of months, giving 4RV crucial chances to recoup its
happened quicker for me than other friends of mine that publish at
other publishing houses. Kabam! I guess that’s because it’s a small
publishing house and they focus on the authors that they have,”
not getting wildly rich, but her strategies work. She’s had four books
do sales in the thousands, she said. But due to her cost-cutting
efforts, it doesn’t take a best-seller to be profitable.
focus on quality rewards 4RV in other ways. She’s had roughly 20 books
garner major awards, including Literary Classics Awards, Oklahoma Book
Awards, and Mom’s Choice Awards for some of her children’s books.
is always on the hunt for new ideas. In June she published Spearfinger,
a first-of-its-kind offering. A Native American legend, the story is
told in both English and Cherokee. 4RV created that niche from scratch
with no competitors on the field.
I really hope is that enough Cherokee kids will get interested in the
book and get interested in the language and keep speaking Cherokee,”
said author Charles Suddeth.
does make books physically available for Edmond residents. 4RV titles
are available at Serendipity and The Market at Quail Springs. A book
signing is scheduled at Serendipity July 29.
really have been one of the best kept secrets in Oklahoma and
especially in Edmond. Nobody realizes who we are here and they’re
surprised to find out we are not just another typical independent book
publisher,” said Zabel.
Everyone within driving distance of Edmond is invited to the Meet the Authors event July 29 at Serendipity Market, 917 E. Danforth, next door to Pickles (between Boulevard and Bryant). Wayne Harris-Wyrick and Kathleen Gibbs will be autographing their books from 10 AM - 2 PM. At 2 PM, Jodi Heaton Hurst and vehoae will be signing until 5 PM.