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Kendel Lynn (above) and Art Molinares of Henery Press
Today we feature Henery Press out of Dallas. Fans of whodunits know that in a short time these publishers made their mark in the mystery genre. We were excited to corresponded with the Henery Press team a couple of weeks back.
Lone Star Literary Life: Why did you pick the Dallas area (Plano) as the location of your publishing house? What are the pros and cons of being away from New York and the presumed center of the publishing scene?
Henery Press: We chose Dallas by default, since both co-founders live here. And it’s been wonderful. With GoToMeeting, Skype, and even old-fashioned email, Dallas is just as centered as New York (plus the rent is cheaper here!). We like being on our own lily pad (or chicken coop – we make a lot of chicken/hen references here in the Hen House). Of course, situated in the middle of the country means we’re only a quick plane ride to either coast.
Tell us about Henery Press. How—and when— did it come together? Who are the members of the team and their roles? How would you describe your mission? We understand that you specialize in the mystery/cozy genre, what are your books like?
What came first you ask, the chicken or the egg?
Henery Press was formed in January 2012 by two Californians who first met while working at Raging Waters in the ’80s. Though we never lost contact, we never would’ve guessed we’d someday launch a publishing house (especially one with a chicken as a mascot). Fast forward to a Dallas patio bar, a couple of cocktails and a stack of bar napkins scribbled with notes…
Kendel Lynn (co-founder and managing editor) experienced frustrations while searching for a home for her debut novel. Though a successful entrepreneur for over fifteen years, Kendel turned to her passion by writing novels. As her big-time New York agent subbed it out to New York houses, Kendel (also a longtime member of Sisters in Crime National), researched other outlets, including small presses. The options were not only extremely limited, but sometimes alarming – especially when her fellow sisters told tales of their experiences: outdated websites, unprofessional practices, amateur cover art, turnaround from contract to publication in a matter of weeks. Weeks! There had to be a different way, a more pleasant way, a better way.
Art Molinares (co-founder and EVP) experienced corporate limitations working in large bureaucratic structures where progressive ideas aren’t always welcome. A Marine Corps veteran (including a tour during the first Iraq war) and over twenty years successfully heading up sales divisions for industry leaders as DirectTV and Dish Network, Art moved to spearheading startups. With social media and networking at the forefront, he enjoyed exploring cutting-edge avenues to build businesses, and eventually wanted to start his own.
As the cocktail napkin notes stacked higher, the egg timer binged and our little chicken, Henery, was born.
While respecting the longstanding traditions of New York, we wanted to lay a new path to our publishing house. A path that not only recognizes the evolution of consumer demands, but also one that embraces the shifting landscape.
In short, authors should always get the editorial support they deserve, have a voice in the future of their work, and most important, a team of champions who strive to build a better pathway for tomorrow. We believe in building long-term relationships.
Our team is small, but talented and hard-working. In addition to the co-founders, we have Erin George, Sr., editorial assistant; Rachel Jackson, editorial assistant, and operations assistant to Art Molinares; Anna Davis, editorial assistant and social media ninja; Stephanie Chontos, the ever-so-talented graphic designer, and at least one to three interns keeping us on our toes.
How many titles do you publish each year? What is your time to market from finished manuscript to books in stores?
We publish approximately thirty-five titles per year, averaging three titles per month. To get a title to market, it can take anywhere from ten to fifteen months.
How has the e-book influenced your business? How has social media impacted your marketing strategies?
Ebooks are the backbone of Henery Press. Although every title is also available in trade paperback and hardcover, digital remains our focus – and has been since day one.
Social media is at the core of our marketing strategy. And really, what business can survive without it? Every staff Henery Press staff member contributes to our social media presence from our daily scrums to daily posting, and we try our best to stay on message: What’s most most relevant to our readers?
What is your chief responsibility to authors, and vice versa?
Support, support, support. Our authors know they can reach us anytime: email, phone, text. We strive for open communication. We provide in-depth editorial support, plus ask for their input on cover art and marketing materials. We offer production schedules so authors know what to expect throughout the process, as well as informational packets to help them build their brand and their social media presence. We also support their presence, and create sales, giveaways, and reader excitement not only when their book launches, but year-round.
In return, our authors support us. They spread the word, support our social media efforts, and remain loyal. We’re grateful for our Hen House authors and always enjoy adding more chickens to the coop!
We’ve noticed in Publishers Marketplace that many agents sign deals on behalf of their clients with your press. How would you describe the agent/publisher relationship? Has this changed since you’ve been in business?
We’re honored when agents consider us, especially those in New York. We know agents have many choices, and we never take that for granted. We’ve been very fortunate to build such wonderful agent relationships. They’re an important part of the publishing process.
What are your ways of finding new talent?
Where aren’t we looking for new talent? Industry events (both fan and writer conferences), networking with authors (in person and online), and the best way: the Hen House. The Hen House is made up of staff, authors, agents, librarians, readers, and fans, all of whom spread the Henery love to their family, friends, and writerly groups. As they say, the best form of advertising is word of mouth!
Do you have ways for your readers to interact with you? Have you noticed trends evolving in their reading tastes and preferences?
We love interacting with our readers. We communicate through our newsletters, our website, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest. We’re everywhere!
Who are some of your favorite Texas authors?
Well, we can think of three right off the top: Nancy G. West (San Antonio), Phoebe Fox (Austin – her latest, Bedside Manners, releases March 24), and our very own Kendel Lynn (Dallas – her lastest, Swan Dive, came out March 17). Of course, fan favorites Sandra Brown and Charlaine Harris [some of whose books are set in Dallas] are next…
Last, but not least, the most important question. If your team could have the quintessential Texas meal, what would it be?
We love Texas bbq and Tex-Mex, but genuine Mexican cuisine from Taco Diner (a two-minute walk from our office) makes the entire staff happy! Naturally, being So Cal natives, having In-N-Out burger in Texas is a dream come true. And we’re definitely living the dream!
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It’s opening night at the Ballantyne Foundation’s production of The Nutcracker, but it’s curtains for the Sugar Plum Fairy. When her body is found backstage, fatally poisoned by a cupcake she baked herself, rumors turn to suicide. But Elli Lisbon, director of the Ballantyne and coordinator of the ballet, smells something rotten amidst the sugar and spice. As Elli applies her PI-in-training skills on the troupe of suspects, she discovers an eccentric herbalist, a temperamental chef, a stalking choreographer, and a bevy of backstage secrets. Between her off-the-record investigation, duty as director, and highly-charged love life, she finds herself caught in a dance to stay one pirouette ahead of a half-baked killer.
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