Louisiana's Conundrum Bookstore Begins Publishing

The Conundrum Books & Puzzles in St. Francisville, La., has published Ronnie Virgets's essay collection Saints and Lesser Souls, the debut title of the store's new publishing imprint, Feliciana Publishing Partners. The imprint will focus on regional titles and children's books, and Conundrum co-owners Missy and Rob Couhig expect to publish between four and six titles per year. Saints and Lesser Souls is the final book in a trilogy of essay collections by Virgets, who is a New Orleans native and has won an Emmy award and the 2001 Press Club of New Orleans Lifetime Achievement Award, among other honors.

To find the imprint's first picture book, middle grade and young adult titles, Feliciana Publishing Partners is running a children's book publishing contest for stories that "in some way feature a Louisiana or Southern theme, setting, or focus." Submissions will be accepted from September 10 until November 12, with the top three finalists chosen by January 15, 2018. Winners will be announced on February 1, 2018 and will receive a publishing contract with Feliciana Publishing Partners. Editor Catherine Frank will review submissions and select the winning manuscript.

"Great authors need great editors, so one of the first things we did was to find a local editor with a national reputation," said Missy Couhig of Catherine Frank.

Couhig explained that while she will be involved with the publishing imprint, particularly during the start-up phase and in marketing new titles, the day-to-day running of the bookstore will remain her primary focus. Rob Couhig, meanwhile, is the "driving force" behind the imprint and will work closely with the Feliciana Publishing Partners editors.

"Rob has been interested in publishing for some time," said Couhig. "He actually began publishing through a friend's imprint almost three years ago and has had books in the development stages with other writers for quite a while. The time simply came to give the entity a name and kick it off under our own imprint."

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