Cover Story: Quill's Will
Quill Driver eventually published “Dr. Ruth’s Sex After 50,” one of the most popular titles in the publisher’s “Best Half of Life” series, a brand aimed at older adults.
Over the years, Mettee has had great success focusing in on a few select categories: The Best Half of Life, Health & Diet, Business, Parenting, and Books for Writers among them.
In June 2008, Quill Driver merged with Fresno, Calif.-based Linden Publishing Inc., which publishes mainly woodworking titles; however, Quill Driver still functions as an independent company in terms of acquisitions and backlist. “We are using Quill Driver Books as the driving force for the combined company since it has the momentum; is better known with agents, authors, reviewers and others; and publishes in genres that are more active. It works for me because it frees me up to spend more time acquiring and editing, the things I enjoy most,” says Mettee, who retains the title of publisher.
Focused … but Open to Possibilities
Quill Driver began life by publishing a history of Black Bart, a notorious California highwayman, but soon moved beyond regional titles. “They are still in the mix, but about seven or eight years ago, I realized it was just as much trouble to do regional titles as national titles, and our national titles are selling better,” Mettee says.
While small and strategically focused, Quill Driver is not a niche publisher and remains open to any proposal that seems likely to be successful.
“We oftentimes break out from anything we’ve ever done,” Mettee says. In the works, for instance, is a book on geocaching, an orienteering sport involving hidden objects that players search out using Internet clues, maps and GPS tools.
“Now, do we do any hobby books? Do we do any other sports books? No,” he says. “But we like this author a lot, and we like the fact that we are first on the market. We like the fact that it’s a growing sport and a youngish sport played by people under 40 primarily, and it’s everywhere.”