By LISA CAPOBIANCO
Local authors may feel the need to travel out of state to publish their work, but a new company formed by a group of local writers in Central Connecticut will soon provide them an opportunity to get noticed.
Committed to a core writing group called the CC Writers for seven to eight years now, Dawn Leger, David Fortier, and Chuck Radda formed Lefora Publishing LLC. After writing for many years together, the group decided to form a publishing company that would offer other New England writers a way to share their work without traveling to large cities to get their foot in the door. With a logo designed by a Bristol community member and books nearly ready to be printed, Lefora has been incorporated for two years now.
The name “Lefora” represents the first two letters of each of the writers’ last names.
“Publishers have been eating each other, so there have been fewer and fewer publishing houses, and so it’s more and more difficult for publishers to get their own work published,” said Leger, adding how many literary agents tend to choose work submitted by celebrities or well-known writers. “We wanted to do something that would support more literary work and that would be a little out of the box.”
Fortier, who writes a weekly column for the Bristol Observer, said with the quality of his group’s work always improving and the advances in technology, they decided to establish Lefora. FastPencil, a publishing platform that can manage authors, create and edit manuscripts online, will collaborate with Lefora to publish the books.
“Until the past couple of years, not one of us had the resources to dive into this type of venture,” said Fortier, adding how the publishing company is a dream come true. “With technology, everything has changed. There is no longer a need to have to print books in advance and to maintain an inventory.”
The three authors plan to publish their own works initially, including two novels and a book of poetry, as well as a memoir by another writer of the group—all expected to come out in September. Leger’s new novel, called “Eagle Scouting,” is a mystery story that deals with events around the time of Sept. 11. Fortier, who began writing in junior high, wrote a book of 50 poems created over the past 20 years.
The books will be published as people order them, and also will be available to buy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the Lefora website. They will be available as E-books and then either hard cover or soft cover, and they’re print on demand.
“We’ll be launching the publishing company and books at the same time,” said Leger, who wrote a novel called “In Flight” in 2009.
Radda, a former English teacher Plainville High School for 35 years, will have his novel “The Dark Time” published by Lefora itself. The novel is based on the plane that landed in the Hudson River in 2009, and focuses on what happens to one of the survivors. Radda began writing it six months after the incident happened.
Radda said with the help of Lefora, he hopes that local authors will not have to “jump through hoops” to get their work published.
“From the beginning, we have tried to be as local as possible,” said Radda, who taught composition to high school students. “It’s such a frustrating experience now to try and get something published by a big company.”
After the launch of Lefora, Leger said her group plans to host events this fall to spread the word about this new opportunity. They will begin accepting author submissions from January until June. Leger said the submissions will be exclusive to authors in New England. Once they read each submission, the group will select which author’s work to publish. Lefora has an artist who helps design the covers of the books to be published.
“There is a way for everybody to get their work out,” said Leger, adding that the company plans to have its website open to the public shortly. “Our intention also is to eventually have online publishing.”
Leger added how the group has considered looking into setting up a writer’s room, a place where writers can come together to work and discuss their passion.
“There’s something different that happens when a group of writers come together and work in the same space together,” said Leger, adding how the company is trying to use local talent. “If we can bring that energy to downtown Bristol in a space, then we can help other people find their inspiration.”
Radda said he hopes his group can ultimately establish a place where authors in the area can come together and write for a period of time.
“We’re hoping to establish some other writing groups,” said Radda.
Fortier said he would ultimately like to see Lefora help create “an appreciation of and willingness to embrace good writing, good storytelling, good poetry and good literature” in Bristol and the surrounding community. He hopes writing will become a part of the community’s DNA.
“I think we have a lot of talented people here,” said Fortier, who has edited and published on and off a couple of books with a publishing house in Chicago. “It would be a good thing to see them develop that talent and take it as far as possible, whether it is to participate in a poetry reading, try stand up comedy when a venue becomes available…speak at a public meeting, write opinion pieces, or record family history.”
Comments? Email lcapobianco@Bristol
By LISA CAPOBIANCO