A word from LBP’s own Jodie Toohey

How Legacy Book Press Came to be:

Every business has an origin story, and Legacy Book Press (LBP) is no different. I have always been interested in writing, books, and publishing. As a child, I started my own magazine with stories and puzzles and tried to peddle subscriptions from neighborhood kids. I knew how to write my letters at three, dictated to my mom what I wanted to write in correspondence to my grandmother, and she told me which ones to use to form the words. My massive collection of books began before I was capable of memory, and in second grade when we got to make our own books – mine was something like A Chicken and her 100 Chicks and shaped like a chicken head – which were laminated in those big sheets from which we had to cut out the pages and then they were bound with plastic spiral binding, I realized I loved making books, too.

The story of how I went from wanting to be a writer but going to college for architecture then community and regional planning, then later to becoming a paralegal to going back to writing and publishing is also long and winding, and perhaps for another day. Fast forward to 2016. I had published several historical fiction and poetry books that I wrote myself, one of which was for an independent publisher called 918studio (The Other Side of Crazy). I had also recently completed a Master of Business Administration degree. The then-owner of 918studio decided she wanted to move on from the endeavor but wanted the company to live on, so she offered it for free to our mutual friend, Lori Perkins (Absolute Publishing Services). One day, Lori and I got together for lunch, and being interested in publishing, and now business, I asked her about her plans for the company, her aspirations for it, how she was planning to run it, etc.

Lori then asked me if I wanted to be a partner with her, and I accepted. We drew up the appropriate partnership agreement, registered it with the state, and got a bank account. We officially opened at the start of 2017 as 918studio press, a selective subsidized publishing company, which meant we were a hybrid publisher, charging authors up front and splitting royalties after publication. Our differentiating factor was that we did not publish everything we were submitted and wanted to choose books based on the same standards that traditional publishers used (except perhaps we weren’t so concerned about the author’s marketing plans). Lori and I ran the company together for a couple of years and published a few books.

While Lori became busy with other endeavors, I fell more in love with publishing. So, for 2019, she bowed out and I continued to run 918studio press on my own. During the year, I decided that I wanted to focus more on personal stories, but I didn’t want to restrict it to only memoirs. And I wanted to move to a traditional publishing model, admittedly mostly because I could get the company listed on publisher lists better if I was a traditional publisher. So, Legacy Book Press LLC was born and began officially operating on January 1, 2020.

As you will see if you view the video on the home page of the LBP website, I’m not in this business to get rich, and believe me, I haven’t. I know how tough the publishing industry is, and that it is a labor of love, not something anyone should get into with the primary goal of making money. My business philosophy is rather simple: An author is advised in order to have a chance of bringing in a decent income, they must publish multiple books. I know that I am incapable and uninterested in writing that many books myself, so I thought I’d use other people’s books to build the business. That way, even modest sales would add up as each additional book is published, and hopefully growth will be exponential as readers discover one LBP book and then set out to read the others.

So that, as the cliché goes, is LBP’s origin story in a nutshell. I love all the books LBP has published and all the books on the roster to be published, which currently goes through the spring of 2025. I believe the stories LBP publishes are important and have the potential to entertain, encourage, inspire, motivate, and/or break the stigma surrounding trauma and brain illness. Almost as important to me as publishing great stories is enjoying my work with authors, so I’ve included questions in my submission guidelines to help me figure out which might be a good fit for working together. I get to work with two University of Iowa top graduates: my graphic designer daughter who does LBP’s covers and interiors and my writing-degreed talented assistant who does the initial submission evaluations and marketing work, including getting out this e-newsletter around the 20th of each month.

Thanks for reading and be well!