Our Story

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Our Ideals

our business philosophy

We value authenticity and fresh ideas. From the submissions process where we choose our projects right down to the crafting of each finished book, we aim to produce an experience that will enrich the lives of our readers.

ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY 

We greatly value the wild and invest in environmental conservation. Our books are printed on paper with chain of custody certification from the Forest Stewardship Council, Sustainable Forestry Initiative, and the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification.

Small Press, Big Ideas

We are a small press with big ideas set on publishing substance over flash. We routinely work with authors who don’t fit neatly into the corporate publishing model, giving a voice to the countless independent thinkers currently neglected by the mainstream media.

Giving back

We have a strong sense of community. Over the years, we’ve donated to and worked with countless charities from the ACLU, to OXFAM, to the Make a Wish Foundation, to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the Edible Schoolyard and more.

Our Story

Founded in a small fishing village in Connecticut in 2011 by Leslie M. Browning, Homebound Publications has grown into one of the premier independent publishers in the country. Collectively through our imprints, we publish twenty books each year, we have over one hundred titles in our library.

Over the years, our authors have received dozens of awards,  including, Foreword Reviews’ Book of the Year, the Nautilus Book Award, Benjamin Franklin Book Awards, Saltire Literary Awards and more.

We are a small press with big ideas. As an independent publisher, we strive to ensure that the mainstream is not the only stream. It is our intention to preserve contemplative storytelling. We publish full-length introspective works of creative non-fiction, literary fiction, and poetry. In all our titles, our hope to introduce new perspectives that will directly aid humankind in the trials we face at present as a global village and enrich the lives of our readers.

Making the Leap from Small Press to Indie Powerhouse.

by Founder, Leslie M. Browning

At the age of 27, I was offered every writer’s dream: a book deal (and not just a one-book contract but five-book.) I enthusiastically signed and went from scribbler to author, only to be quickly disillusioned by the entire process. The manuscript I had worked on for so long was taken from me, it was changed significantly from its original vision—it wasn’t edited, a horrendous cover was slapped on it, the interior design was childish, and I was marketed on a platform that went against everything in which I believe. It was at that point that the five-book deal was re-negotiated into a two or three-book deal so that I could break from the “publisher” sooner.  At the same time I was going through this ordeal, I got a job at an independent poetry press in Boston and started learning the ins-and-outs of publishing, and began to ponder opening my own house wherein I could operate as I felt a publisher should: with integrity and transparency.

In 2011, with under $600.00 to my name, I opened Homebound Publications. I left a teaching position where I had a steady income and health insurance to open the publishing house in the middle of a recession, at a point in time in the industry where everyone was convinced print was going to be extinct and e-readers would be king.

That first year we did four titles—two of which were new editions of my own books that I had fought to regain the rights to from the former publisher. That year, we cleared under $5,000 but our reputation was buzzing among authors. We offered higher-than-average royalties, consulted authors during the editorial and design phase, and worked to market all our titles. The four titles we did that first year went on to win respected indie awards so we knew we were doing something right even if things weren’t exactly high-grossing. We continued on like that for a number of years. Putting out 15-20 solid titles each year but never reaching that sustainable income figure. Something had to change.

In 2017, we celebrated our 6th anniversary and I had to once again get in touch with the entrepreneurial bravery with which I founded the company—with which any indie author puts forth their work into the world. I needed to renew that bravery because it was time to take a huge leap. . . .

This is not to say we weren’t “successful” as a publishing house. Homebound Publications did well. We have nearly 100 titles in print, a healthy backlist, four divisions, and our titles routinely gather indie awards. Yet it was clear to me that we were rapidly reaching the cap of what we could do. I knew that we were root-bound in our current model. The answer: The press needed better distribution.

Distribution is the linchpin of the publishing endeavor and we were falling short. It is all well and good to publish stellar titles but if no one knows about them then what is the point? 

I negotiated the distribution deal for six months (paring down the risk where I could) and approaching investors to help gather the money we would need in order to make the transition from print-on-demand to the short-runs model required to stock the warehouses of distributors. Even when everything was in place, I was still uneasy because I didn’t want to risk this house that I’d so painstakingly built.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes of success and failure saying, “Both are proud and terrifying.” Well, that was where I was at: proud to have reached this point of success and terrified at the thought of everything getting bigger—the deals, the money, the returns, the risk . . . In the end though, I tried to remember the entrepreneurial bravery with which I founded the press; I tried to remember all that I had learned from my years in business and trust in my ability to handle issues as they come up and learn from mistakes; I measured the risk and only signed the deal when it was feasible to do so (all the while keenly aware that even the safest deal has risks). In the end, I picked up the pen and inked the deal.

In this landmark agreement, Homebound Publications has achieved global distribution of its entire library through the well-respected company of Midpoint Trade Books, now a division of the largest indie distributor IPG. Now retailers can order our titles with ease through their preferred source—including industry leaders Ingram and Baker & Taylor—for the terms they expect. Throughout the way—from our humble roots with that $600 to now when our burgeoning press boasts over 100 titles—everything is made possible by the courage to believe in your vision and the people around you who protect your and aid you while you strive to bring that dream to fruition. Homebound Publications is more than a company I founded; it is a family I treasure. 

 

Divisions

Books Published

Authors

Years

Books Sold

awards

The Board of Advisors

Leslie M. Browning

Leslie M. Browning

Founder and Board Chair

L.M. Browning is a the Founder of Homebound Publications and its divisions, in addition she is a TEDx Talker and an award-winning author of twelve books. In her writing, Browning explores the confluence of the natural landscape and the interior landscape. She has freelanced for several publications and has a biannual interview column in The Wayfarer magazine in which she has interviewed dozens of notable creative figures such as Academy Award-Nominated filmmaker Tomm Moore, Peabody-winning host of On Being Krista Tippett, and the Standing Rock Water Protectors. Balancing her passion for writing with her love of learning, Browning is a graduate of the University of London, a Fellow with the International League of Conservation Writers and sits on the Board of the Independent Book Publishers Association. In 2011, she opened Homebound Publications. She is currently working to complete a degree at Harvard University’s Extension School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Jason Kirkey

Jason Kirkey

Author

Jason Kirkey is an author, poet, and the founder of Hiraeth Press. He grew up in the Ipswich River-North Atlantic Coast watershed of Massachusetts. With a background in both environmental philosophy and conservation biology, Jason’s work is focused on rewilding the human heart and mind. He has written four volumes of poetry, including Estuaries, and a nonfiction book, The Salmon in the Spring. Jason is currently at work on his second nonfiction book and a novel.

Gail Collins-Ranadive

Gail Collins-Ranadive

Author and Eco-Activist

Gail Collins-Ranadive, MA, MFA, MDiv, is a retired Unitarian Universalist minister, a former nurse, a licensed private pilot, and a workshop facilitator. Author of seven non-fiction books, including two for children and two Homebound titles, she writes the environmental column for The Wayfarer. An Easterner by birth and a Westerner in spirit, she and her partner winter at her home in Las Vegas and summer at his in Denver. Gail is the mother of two and the grandmother of five.

J.K.McDowell

J.K.McDowell

Artist and Poet

J. K. McDowell is a poet, an artist and a mystic celebrating the creative spirit. His poetry collection “Night, Mystery & Light” is published by Hiraeth Press.  An expatriate Ohioan, welcomed into the arms of Acadie, McDowell lives 20 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico with his soul mate who also happens to be his wife and their two beautiful companion parrots. McDowell’s poems and essays have appeared in The Wayfarer published by Homebound Publications. McDowell is also an artist and appreciator of art glass.
Theodore Richards

Theodore Richards

Author

Theodore Richards is the director and founder of The Chicago Wisdom Project, a core faculty member of The Fox Institute, and the author of six books. He is the recipient of numerous literary awards, including two Independent Publisher Awards, The USA Book Award, and the Nautilus Book Award. He lives in Chicago with his wife and daughters.

David K. Leff

David K. Leff

Author

David K. Leff is an essayist, Pushcart Prize nominated poet and former deputy commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection. He is the author of six nonfiction books, three volumes of poetry and a novel in verse.  His 2016 book, Canoeing Maine’s Legendary Allagash: Thoreau, Romance and Survival of the Wild won a silver medal in the Nautilus Book Awards for memoir and a silver medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards for regional nonfiction.  In 2016-2017 the National Park Service appointed him poet-in-residence for the New England National Scenic Trail (NET).  David’s journals, correspondence, and other papers are archived at the University of Massachusetts Libraries in Amherst.

Eric D. Lehman

Eric D. Lehman

Author

Eric D. Lehman teaches creative writing and literature at the University of Bridgeport and his work has been published in dozens of journals and magazines, from Berfrois to Gastronomica. He is the author of twelve books of fiction, history, and travel, including Shadows of Paris, Homegrown Terror, Afoot in Connecticut, The Foundation of Summer, and Becoming Tom Thumb.

Eric D. Lehman teaches creative writing and literature at the University of Bridgeport and his work has been published in dozens of journals and magazines, from Berfrois to Gastronomica. He is the author of twelve books of fiction, history, and travel, including Shadows of Paris, Homegrown Terror, Afoot in Connecticut, The Foundation of Summer, and Becoming Tom Thumb.

Amy Nawrocki

Amy Nawrocki

Author

Amy Nawrocki is the poetry editor of The Wayfarer and author of five poetry collections, including Four Blue Eggs and Reconnaissance. She is the co-author of A History of Connecticut Food, A History of Connecticut Wine, and Literary Connecticut. She teaches English at the University of Bridgeport and lives in Hamden Connecticut.

Kelly Kancyr

Kelly Kancyr

Co-Founder of The Vanguard Podcast & Audio Producer

At the rebellious age of 8, Kelly Kancyr turned her first instrument—the violin—(her mother’s choice) into a guitar, playing it like a distorted Les Paul. Learning in that moment that musical instruments don’t have to be played in a traditional way; a philosophy that lies at the heart of her style.

After taking a hiatus from music while she attended Quinnipiac College, a chance phone call from a friend inviting her to hangout and listen to a jam session reignited her passion. Working with a borrowed guitar, Kelly spent the next few months teaching herself chords, scales, and progressions. A year later she joined her first band and never looked back. It wasn’t long before she was writing and recording original music and performing at venues along the East Coast. Drawn to wide array of genres, Kelly finds she can change musical stylings as easily as she has moved around the world. Johnny Cash, Joni Mitchell and Lucinda Williams, are just some of the influences echoing as undercurrents to her songs. In her vintage folk rhythms and emotionally raw lyrics, you can hear both the wide open spaces of Santa Fe, and the rocky beaches of the east coast.

Now 20 years into her career, Kancyr finds herself taking on the role of a mentor and producer. Kelly has performed throughout the United States. Her music has been featured on television stations such as ABC-WTNH, and radio stations such as WNHU and WPKN. Kelly joined the Homebound Publications staff in 2016 and has helped to spearhead the audio division and produce The Vanguard Podcast (Homebound Publications’ seasonal podcast exploring the forefront of creativity).

Francesca G. Varela

Francesca G. Varela

Author

Francesca G. Varela was raised in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. In 2015 she graduated from the University of Oregon with degrees in Environmental Studies and Creative Writing, and she then went on to receive her master’s degree in Environmental Humanities from the University of Utah.

Francesca’s dream of becoming an author began in third grade, and her writing career had an early start; she wrote her award-winning first novel, Call of the Sun Child, when she was only 18 years old, and she wrote her second novel, Listen, when she was only 20.

When not writing or reading, Francesca enjoys playing piano, figure skating, hiking, identifying wild birds, plants, and constellations, and travelling to warm, sunny places whenever she can.

A Letter from the Founder

More than a Company, We are a Community

 

In 2011, I founded Homebound Publications in an effort to bring together a community of like-minded thinkers and see what the dialogue yielded.  I gathered my friends and the most insightful colleagues I knew and began. I didn’t know how the house would sustain itself or how anyone would even find our work—I couldn’t answer all the questions of viability from a business standpoint —but I nonetheless felt the need for the space to create and that was enough. In the beginning, I didn’t have any sense of how big the press would grow or how widely our titles would be shared. I simply carved out a space in which others could speak and share those deep thoughts they’d pondered, not because I saw the monetary profits in such an endeavor, but because I could see the benefit to the mind and soul.

I have always been an ardent believer in creative minds requiring a circle of fellows to push them. We’ve seen the prolific flow of ideas that occurs when the right community is gathered together to foster one another, whether it is in the Concord Transcendentalists, the Bloomsbury Group, or the Beat poets out in San Francisco. The discussion, the inspiration, the contemplation, and the community encourages the kind of boundary-pushing, ego destruction, and refinement of beliefs that bring about movements of change in the larger world. The circle I gathered back in 2011 has become bigger than I expected. It is composed of both reader and writer alike.

I think we all find our way through this life with the aid the communities we gather closest to us.  In these challenging times, when we all feel strained and lost, I urge you to gather your circle and keep them close. No one person knows the path forward. We chart the way together. I am grateful to you—our readers and contributors—for making the journey with us for the last eight years. I hope you’ll continue with us for many more to come. There is a great deal more to explore and discuss.

With Gratitude

 

 

Leslie M. Browning

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Your donations will be placed towards expanding the number of titles we are able to accept each year, giving a voice to the countless independent thinkers currently neglected by the mainstream media. Following the merger of Random House and Penguin, five media conglomerates control 80% of the books published in the US. Supporting independent publishing has never been more vital!

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