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Rivendell Publishing Northwest

Publisher of Adventure Travel Books

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Rivendell Publishing Northwest was born in 2004 after a literary agent, who professed love for my first book, The Gentleman from Finland, abruptly disappeared from the face of the earth with my manuscript, neither acknowledging my phone calls, nor my emails. A suitable amount of time passed before, the befuddled author, me, made a pitch to another agent, one who advertised that she handled authors of travel books. After hearing my pitch about my adventures on the Trans-Siberian Express, she suggested that she was looking for a book about oceans or camels. Did I have anything to offer in these areas? I said it was unlikely that the Trans-Siberian Express could be transformed into either an ocean-liner or a camel. So you can see agents were not providing me with much hope. Perhaps I would eventually find one, who wouldn’t disappear and wasn’t slightly crazy, but that could takes years. I didn’t have that kind of time.

After hearing a presentation about creating a publishing company, I decided that if I really thought my book was commercially viable then I should quit fooling around and invest in myself. If I succeeded, I would launch my writing career. If I failed, at least I would have the satisfaction of knowing I had tried. Then I could try something else – sky diving perhaps.

Cumquat Publishing lasted a few hours until I discovered, when registering for my business license, that such an entity already existed in Washington state. I chose Rivendell, named after that sylvan glen where hobbits, elves and men convened to form the fellowship in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, a trilogy I adored because, among other things, it told the story of how something could be done despite daunting odds.

I acquired a block of International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs). I registered Rivendell as an official publisher with the Library of Congress. (I had fantasies of secretly buying out Random House, but I digress). I hired a project manager, who hired an editor. I learned about spine measurements, bleeds, paper, signatures and ink. I figured out how to write a bid to get a book printed. I learned about shipping.

A book was produced, or, at least a proof of a book. I remember the day it came in the mail. I held it in my hands as if I had just been presented with the birth of my first child. At that moment, I felt that the effort and investment were worth every penny even if I never sold a copy.

I did not stop there. I wrote a business and marketing plan. I sent it to wholesalers and distributors. I joined trade organizations. I sat in a booth with my book at retail trade shows. I mailed proofs to reviewers. I got reviews. Good reviews. The book was published. People bought it. I gave talks and slideshows at book stores, rotary clubs, schools and book clubs.

My investment paid off. I was a published author. Agents and big publishers be damned. It can be done because I did it.

Contributing Staff:


Book and Cover Design: Liz Kingslein

Editor-in-Chief: Caroline Ullmann

Copy Editor: Mardelle Kunz

Consulting Editors for Riding with Reindeer: Verve  Editorial (Karalynn Ott and Michele Whitehead)

Distributors and Wholesalers:


Baker and Taylor


Partners West

Book Baby (E-Books)


Pacific Northwest Book Publishers Association and the Independent Book Publishers Association