Monday, July 31, 2017

4RV Author Events Successful

vehoae and Jodi

     July 29, 2017, four 4RV authors meet the public at Serendipity during Krazy Days and signed books purchased. Taking the 2 PM - 5 PM shift were vehoae and Jodi Heaton Hrust, pictured to the left. 

     The 10 AM - 2 PM shift was manned by Kathleen Gibbs and Wayne Harris-Wyrick, pictured below.

     According to the authors, most customers mentioned reading about 4RV in the Edmond paper. All were interested in our books and the fact that we were located in Edmond, .

      A few books were sold, but considering our shopletts are just now becoming known in the area, we were pleased with the outcome. 

Kathleen and Wayne

     Another author, Kena Sosa, was part of an author event in Carrollton, Texas, the same day. I haven't any photos to share, but the bookstore informed me that the event went well.

     July 15, Jodi, Wayne, and vehoae signed books and visited with customers at The Market at Quail Springs.

        The two shopletts are the two places where 4RV books can be found. We try to rotate some of our titles, giving new releases a chance to be found locally.

NOTE:        The 4RV website is being updated with a new template. Everything can still be found, but we need to do some tweaking to make everything neat and tidy. After Aidana WillowRaven and I finish, we will begin updating the 4RV Online Bookstore site.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

4RV Makes Front Page of Newspaper

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.

4RV 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 throw-aways.

“There 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.”

Despite 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.

“A 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.”

Major 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.

“Since 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 authors.”

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.

“It’s 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.”

A 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.

“In 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.

“Like 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.

4RV keeps its production process lean by handling everything from soup to nuts in electronic communications. There are no physical offices.

“We 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.”

Sales 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.

4RV 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 warehousing costs.

Zabel’s  company's 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 investments quickly.

“Publication 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,” Harris-Wyrick said.

Zabel is 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.
Her 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.

Zabel 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.

“What 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.

Zabel 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.

“We 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.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

5 4RV Authors Have Signings in 2 Events July 29 - revised

      4RV Publishing's second Meet the Authors in July will be July 29 at Serendipity Market, Edmond. As part of Edmond, Oklahoma's annual Krazy Days, the book signing is one of the events and special happenings at Serendipity. The four authors participating will sign books in two shifts: 10 AM - 2 PM and 2 PM - 5 PM.

      For the first shift, Wayne Harris-Wyrick will have three of his releases: If You Swallow that Seed ... illustrated by Matthew Hughes; Why Am I Me illustrated by Stephen Macquignon;  and Kimmy Finds Her Key illustrated by Liz Warren. Partnering during the same time will be Kathleen Gibbs, author of Journey of the Cheyenne Warrior.

     During the second shift, the author who writes under the name vehoae will be signing her nonfiction book that many colleges have on reading lists, Conscience: Breaching Social Amnesia, which examines the treatment of indigenous peoples of North American from European leaders to the beginning of the United States. Also participating from 2 PM - 5 PM will be Jodi Heaton Hurst. Her book Merry Tilda: A Winter Fairy Tale was illustrated by Jeanne Conway.

      Other pre-signed books will also be available during the hours the authors will be: 10 AM - 5 PM.

      Kena Sosa will be part of the Kids' Book Day at Kinodunitya Bookstore, Carorrollton, Texas. 

     Kena has two books released by 4RV: Kindertransport, cover shown in the upper left corner, illustrated by Jeanne Conway; and Rey Antonio and Rey Feo, a English/Spanish bilingual book, illustrated by Jessica McClure. Kindertransport is the story of a Jewish family and a young girl in Poland as the Nazis take control and the beginning of the Holocaust.

     Hopefully, many people will take advantage of a chance to meet and visit wth these authors, and examine their books at both events and other 4RV books at the Serendipity Market in Edmond, Oklahoma.


          4RV books can be found through most online bookstores and physical bookstores. The publisher also has an online bookstore. Books by these authors and the other nearly 100 authors can be found there,

Saturday, July 15, 2017

One July 4RV Meet the Authors Down, One to Go


     Since 4RV Publishing has a shop-lett at The Market at Quail Springs, three authors attended the first Meet the Author event July 15, 2017: Jodi Heaton Hurst, the author of Merry Tilda: A Winter Fairy Tale; Wayne Harris-Wyrick, author of Why Am I Me?, Kimmy Finds Her Key, If You Swallow that Seed ..., and others; and vehoae, author of Conscience: Breaching Social Amnesia and a fiction novel to bed released in 2018. 

Jodi Heaton Hurst signed the book for her first customer
     The 4RV Shop-lett (the display of books at The Market) is located right outside the area where The Market set up the table for the book
signing. The hosts were friendly, helpful, and welcomed us to return. 

     The Market at Quail Springs is located west of Quail Springs Mall in north Oklahoma City.

     Considering the lack of extensive promotion, the authors enjoyed the number of people who came by and visited. 

     The second Meet the Author event for July will  be held at Serendipity Market, 917 E Danforth Rd, Edmond, Oklahoma 73034.  Four authors will be participating at that event: the three who took part in Meet the Author at The Market plus Kathleen Gibbs, the author of Journey of the Cheyenne Warrior.  Other books signed by authors not able to attend will also be available.


Sunday, July 9, 2017

New Christmas Childen's Release - Merry Tilda: A Winter Fairy Tale

     4RV Publishing tries to release a Christmas book each year. Even if more than one is pubished, one is considered the "official" Christmas release. This year's "official" Christmas Children's Book, Merry Tilda: A Winter Fairy Tale, arrived to begin the before-Christmas-shopping. 

      Author Jodi Heaton Hurst took a short story she wrote for a writing group project and changed it into a delightful children's story that shows how a family tradition can come to pass. Illustrator Jeanne Conway used her art to bring Jodi's words to life. The story and illustrations blend to create a literary work of art.

      Books can be purchased from the 4RV Bookstore, at the 4RV Shop-letts, from Jodi Heaton Hurst, and from other online or physical bookstores.

      Jodi Heaton Hurst will be participating in two group book signings at the 4RV Shop-letts, July 15 and July 29.