Stephen Provost knows enough about the publishing business to know you have to be targeted with manuscript submissions.
It’s what he did with his first book, “Fresno Growing Up,” which is in its second printing and still selling well.
So, when it came time to shop around his latest work – a fictional paranormal thriller called “Memortality” – he first sent it to publishers he knew worked in the genre.
“And got a couple of rejections,” says the Fresno native, now living in Arroyo Grande.
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It was a shock when “Memortality” was picked up by Fresno’s Linden Publishing as the first book on its new fiction imprint, Pace Press.
The publishing company started in 1980, printing woodworking books for hobbyists. Over the years it has carved a niche doing historical nonfiction, with a heavy focus on California. That includes a series of books by local water colorist Pat Hunter and historian Janice Stevens. And also Provost’s “Fresno Growing Up.”
The idea of expanding into fiction had been percolating around the office for awhile, says Linden’s Publishing’s chief editor Kent Sorsky.
Provost’s book was the catalyst to make it happen.
“It was sort of a no brainer,” Sorsky says. The company has all of the infrastructure in place. It is set up for the editing, design and promotion work and has a distribution deal with Ingram Content Group that puts its books in stores across the state.
With “Memortality,” it has a fun, cross-genre mystery thriller that sticks in your head, Sorsky says.
“You read it before bed and find yourself thinking about it at work the next day,” he says.
“You find yourself immersed really quickly.”
Without giving it all away, the book’s central character has a photographic memory and a psychic gift that allows her to project those memories back into real life. The idea came, oddly enough, from Provost’s work in nonfiction. He wrote “Fresno Growing Up” (and an upcoming book on Highway 99) to give readers the chance to actively relive history. In “Memortality,” he explores that idea from a fictional standpoint.
“What if people could literally relive history?” Provost says.
The fact that Provost can move between fiction and nonfiction and make both compelling is a testament to his writing chops, Sorsky says.
It’s learning process. Fictional and nonfiction works are evaluated and marketed differently, Sorsky says. So, the company is still feeling things out, though it already has a release date set for a second novel, a legal thriller from local attorney/retired judge James A. Ardaiz. It will be out in October.
The imprint will pick up the pace over the next year, Sorsky says.
“No pun intended.”
Sorsky hopes to have a half-dozen new books scheduled for 2018.
Already, he is getting submissions. The bulk of those have been from locals, Sorsky says.
“We’re come to learn there are a heck of a lot of writers in the Fresno area,” he says.
Those interested in submitting work can email Sorsky directly at firstname.lastname@example.org because that is the type of company this is.
“We all enjoy reading at the end of the day,” he says.