Industry Issue 19-3

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by Jan Girand


Two published authors from the Albuquerque area, Judith Van Gieson and Don Bullis, have joined forces to found a new publishing company, the ABQ Press.

Both have discovered being published by a New York publishing house isn’t all that great an advantage, and that New Mexico just might be a more user-friendly place for southwest writers, anyway.

The writing styles and personalities of Van Gieson and Bullis are different but compatible.

Van Gieson has won writing awards and recognitions in New Mexico and says her name gets her books into bookstores and helps her with book signings. However, she was unhappy with New York publishers remaindering her books after just one month’s exposure on retail book shelves. She wanted more control over her work. Many times Bullis encountered problems with his publisher not filing orders and not getting books to him in time for book signings. It is devastating when an outside force–the publishing company–takes indifferent control of the final product, the book, after the author invested months, perhaps years, creating it.

With most publishing houses, once you sign a contract to sell your work to them, it is no longer yours. The publisher, not the author, has the final say in the title, the contents and the cover. If the author says he wants to approve the cover, even be involved in its design, the publisher laughs at his naiveté. What are the benefits of being published by a big publishing house? An advance? Those seldom happen anymore. Promotion of your book? These days, authors are expected to promote their own.

Van Gieson and Bullis decided to take control of the end results of their creative works by starting their own small publishing company in January 2006 with the publication of Bullis’ Bull’s Eye and the reissuing of Judith’s Wolf Path. They are beginning slowly; at this time, they only consider fiction by established authors and reissuing out-of-print books. Gloria Bullis, Don’s wife, fills orders and keeps bookstores stocked with their books.

Van Gieson and Bullis have found ABQ Press to be a satisfactory solution to publishing their own works.