When Verbal Images Press entered the publishing scene, the Library of Congress created a new category for the company’s landmark children’s book on learning disabilities by Jeanne Gehret (The Don’t-give-up Kid, 1990). This independent press sold more than 100,000 children’s books in English-speaking countries with six titles, and for 2017 has added adult historical fiction.
“For five years I lived, ate and drank children’s learning problems,” says author-publisher Gehret. “I appeared on radio and TV, in classrooms and at parent conferences, and it got pretty stressful. While touring my 1992 novel I’m Somebody Too, I visited the Louisa May Alcott House in Concord, MA. There, I realized that though an even greater woman [Susan B. Anthony] lived in my hometown, I had never visited her house.” Learning about Susan by serving as a docent at the reformer’s historic house gave Gehret a much-needed break from her previous subject matter and eventually led to the 1994 publication of Susan B. Anthony And Justice For All.
But it didn’t stop there. As you can read on the author page, long after publication of her first Anthony book, Gehret was portraying the famous reformer in costume while writing numerous magazine and newspaper articles for adults. To keep her Anthony presentations fresh, she began learning all she could about Susan’s family, established this blog, and eventually published The Truth About Daniel, her first book for adults.
Two other children’s books by Verbal Images Press, Houdini’s Gift and First Star I See, are not pictured here. As of 2015, all the children’s books were allowed to go out of print in preparation for the switch to adult fiction. However, the author is in the process of updating the book on Susan under a new title for later in 2017.
Jeanne Gehret has worn two hats–that of author and that of publisher–throughout her book-writing career. “Independent publishing is not for everyone. You have to have good editors, artists, and proofreaders working for you and know the ins and outs of getting your book into the hands of readers.” While indie publishing takes her away from writing, at times, it also provides a way of getting books into print while a topic is hot.
“I have a good role model for self-publishing in Susan B. Anthony, who built a whole story onto her house for her literary efforts,” says Gehret. “If independent publishing was good enough for her, it’s good enough for me!”