Books: Conversation with TCU Press

Books: Conversation with TCU Press

There are some new faces at TCU Press. Earlier this year, Kathy Walton stepped in as the editor and Jovan Farris Overshown ’06 took over marketing and promotions. Dan Williams continues to serve as director. As the publishing industry undergoes massive shifts, with more readers opting for electronic readers such as the iPad, Kindle and Nook, TCU Press evolving with the changes while staying true its commitment to titles covering Texas and the American West. In July, TCU Press received the Will Rogers Medallion Award for Outstanding Merit/Excellence in Printing and Publication for its publication of Texas Tales Illustrated: The Revolution by author Mike Kearby and illustrator Mack White.

What new titles are you excited about? Walton: Professor Paul F. Boller Jr.’s Essays on the Presidents is one. It’s very relevant to what’s going on now politically. There are essays about the founding fathers and religion and about religion in politics in general.
Overshown: There’s also Fair Park Deco, a photography book about the Art Deco architecture in Dallas’s Fair Park. We’re trying to do more current marketing initiatives with that book, for example we’re doing a book trailer. We’ve got great newsreel footage we’re using for it. We’re trying to get a little more inventive.
Walton: We also have a novel by Patrick Dearen called To Hell or the Pecos, which is a very dramatic story, like The Searchers. He took it from actual historic events. It’s a cliffhanger. There’s also Professor Ken Stevens’ The Texas Legation Papers 1836-1844. This is right before statehood, from the days of the republic. He is a professor here at TCU and this is the first publication of these, all original letters exchanged by the legation in those years. It’s a pretty big deal in terms of Texas history. Also one by Joseph A. Stout called Spies, Politics, and Power: El Departamento Confidencial en México, it’s about the Mexican equivalent of the FBI. And Charles Herner’s biography of Major Alexander O. Brodie, one of the Rough Riders who became a friend of Teddy Roosevelt and was named governor of the Arizona Territory.

What are your new marketing efforts? Overshown: Anything we can do to make ourselves more current. We’re working on redesigning our website to be more current, more useful and more interactive. We’re trying to make it easier for people to find our books and buy our books. We’re working on having the opportunity to purchase e-books off our website, that’s a work in progress. Along with that, having tie-ins with Twitter and Facebook, exploring Pinterest a little bit. Anything we can do to be more visually appealing and to pull people in through our website. Overall we’re trying to rebrand ourselves and a big push with that will be e-books and the website. We will also have a YouTube channel featuring our book trailers.
Walton: Another thing we’re doing is partnering with a local charity for an event tied in with the book The Street, which is about the homeless here in Fort Worth. The Presbyterian Night Shelter will be having a charity gala event in November, and we hope to have the book ready by then. The photos are quite arresting.

Will you definitely be keeping your special focus on Texas and West? Walton: Yes, and one interesting new project we’ll be doing is working with the Institute of Ranch Management on an international journal. They go all over the world and resource management is a big part of their program. We’re real excited about it. We have done the Jack L. August Jr. series of books about water in the West and this will kind of continue with that interest.
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