Christopher Gorman and Michelle Morfitt started a publishing house in 2007, focusing on stories of interesting towns in their home state of Connecticut. They wanted their children and the other young citizens of these Connecticut towns to know their history. Mr. Gorman and Ms. Morfitt created Jack, the adventuresome Golden Retriever, to guide the reader through each town. Enthusiasm for this project has grown to such an extent that books on Lafayette, CA; Scarsdale, NY; and Bethesda,MD, are now in the works. Jack is going to be a well traveled dog by the time the series ends.
If you think your town would be of interest because of its historical significance, please contact this publisher—Our Place Books—and explain why your town deserves to be in the series. Be prepared to let Jack lead the way through your town. Check out their books at www.ourplacebooks.com
But the even better news is that they want to expand their business to publish other stories through their parent company, Hometown 520. They largely do their own distribution but are in discussions with AKJ Books, a supporter of the Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) program, to increase their distribution channels.
At the moment they are doing picture books for children from 4 to 10. The books tend to be up to 64 pages in length and they do have a cadre of illustrators. If you can combine the rhyming skills of Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham with the gentleness of Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree, you’ll most likely have a winning entry.
They just acquired “Harvey, the Child Mime,” about a boy who teaches a spoiled princess to use her own imagination and depend on herself, not the hired help. He meets the princess by miming that he’s a box and accidentally being shipped to her.
For the series on towns, submit a query describing why your town would be a good fit, give a brief review of research sources, and what your connection to town is. If you have a picture book for their expanding business, please send the whole manuscript with a cover letter.
They do pay advances and royalties. Although they do have a publicity staff, plan to play an active role in promoting your book.
Queries and manuscripts should be submitted to: Christopher J. Gorman, at firstname.lastname@example.org. They reply to all submissions within 1 week.
(Thank you, Sarah Maury Swan, for interviewing Christopher J. Gorman and supplying us with this information!)