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Poetry, publishing and profits.

August House Discovers Its Niche In The Tough World Of Publishing

The success Ted and Liz Parkhurst have found in publishing is testimony to the philosophy, "Success comes by doing what you love."

But while success did come, it didn't come without a little "sweat equity" at Little Rock's August House Inc.

August House began in 1979 as a non-profit organization to promote writing in Arkansas. Ted Parkhurst raised capital by selling books of poetry door to door.

The organization operated on a non-profit basis until 1985, when the Parkhursts converted August House to a for-profit entity. Since then, the publishing house has experienced an average growth of 25 percent per year.

Ted and Liz Parkhurst began the business because they loved books. But they soon realized that business savvy is the key to a thriving venture.

August House worked to establish a niche while maintaining an eclecticism that is rare in the publishing industry. The couple recognized the need for an alternative outlet for writers. large publishing houses often overlook books that don't fit into their proven markets.

"A lot of our strength is that we can take an author who isn't famous and help cultivate an audience for him," Ted Parkhurst says.

August House receives national attention for publishing collections of folklore and traditional storytelling.

"Large publishing houses sense the appeal for traditional storytelling, but they haven't quite figured out how to market it," Liz Parkhurst says. "They are trying to cash in on some of the warmth of small houses like ours."

August House, which employs nine people, handles its own distribution, makes swift decisions and entices authors with extra attention and communication.

The Parkhursts have tried to extract the best qualities of both large and small publishing houses.

August House recently introduced an audio storytelling series, an example of how the Parkhursts constantly are thinking of ways to expand their business.

Recently, at one of the many festivals August House representatives attend each year, a storyteller made an interesting remark to the Parkhursts.

"|My wife and I~ think the way we make a living is silly," he said. "But we've decided the way you make yours is even sillier."

Silly or not, Liz and Ted Parkhurst have found serious success.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Journal Publishing, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Arkansas Business of the Year: Category I; August House Inc., publishing company
Author:Harper, Kim
Publication:Arkansas Business
Article Type:Company Profile
Date:Jan 13, 1992
Words:374
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