About Us

Five Things You Didn't Know Were Hiding in Orange Frazer Books

It’s not a gimmick when we say that at Orange Frazer, each book is unique. We mean this literally, because every single Orange Frazer book is totally different. Our book design services don't include templates or package-design deals, which means that each image has been individually photo-corrected, each page has been individually formatted, each cover has been individually ushered from concept to bookshelf. Brittany, our lead designer, spends weeks (and sometimes months) drafting, sketching, brainstorming, redoing…and redoing again. We’ve been known—over the course of many weeks or months spent on a particular project—to leave a few “signatures” along the way.  So here they are: the fun (and wacky) things you’ll find hiding in Orange Frazer books:

Orange Frazer PressJust a Car Salesman. Jeff Wyler is known for his numerous successful dealerships over several decades, and the parade of car models across the cover seemed a fitting way to honor that legacy (in both time and diversity). And if you look closely (and know your automobile trivia), you’ll see that our publisher’s very first car, a 1978 Dodge Challenger, made the lineup.







Orange Frazer PressRevealed: Columbus: The Story of Us. In 2012, Columbus celebrated its bicentennial year with all of the celebratory fanfare befitting a prosperous and growing Ohio city. We were commissioned to publish the book honoring this celebration, working with Jamie Greene of ACP Visioning + Planning to make it a reality. Fun fact: Jamie loves bison, and for his Halloween costume that year, dressed as bison for the “bison-tennial.” In honor of Jamie, we included a small bison on the OFP logo on the back cover.







Orange Frazer PressHarriett’s Homecoming: A High-Flying Tour of Cincinnati. This book, by Susan Levine, boasts illustrations by Columbus-area artist, Erin Burchwell. Her layered watercolors lend depth and vibrancy to each page. As a tribute to the Queen City (once the pork capital of the USA), Erin included a pig in every single illustration. Don’t believe us? Try finding all of them (it’s not easy).





Orange Frazer PressChad: I Can’t Be Stopped. Chad Johnson of the Cincinnati Bengals worked with us on his memoir, I Can’t Be Stopped. For the cover, we used a profile shot of Chad, in which you see his chin resting on his hands. After this photo was taken, Sarah (our production manager) noticed that Chad’s fingernails were in terrible shape. She insisted that they be cleaned up for the cover. It was too late to reshoot, however, so our designer went to work trimming—and reshaping—them on Photoshop.






Orange Frazer PressStirrups. It’s not often that you are asked to publish a gynocologist’s memoirs. The cover for this one was particularly challenging. Putting actual stirrups on the cover would be provocative (and off-putting). And no one wants to see a WebMD-style stock photo. A conceptual cover was key. Brittany took a brief field trip to a local jewelry store for inspiration, and came back with photos of charm bracelets and the willpower to design (from scratch) her own symbolic charms. She successfully did this, and I bet you won’t guess which charms are real, and which are her creations (she’s good).

The Minister's Daughters

You don't go into book publishing without a sincere love for writing. At Orange Frazer Press, we love writing that is honest, bold, well-crafted, loving, humorous, unsettling, warm, and even provocative. Because we strive to find these qualities in the books that we publish, we are constantly honing the skills within our own writing. And, we just have fun doing it. We thought we would invite you into our world and share with you pieces from our team. We write through a variety of genres--including playful flash fiction, limericks, and poetry--but it's no secret that we have a predilection for nonfiction. This is the first post in our nonfiction series, and it is by our Production Manager, Sarah Hawley. It is titled, "The Minister's Daughters."

-Kelsey Swindler, Marketing and Publicity 



When my sister Margaret and I were in elementary school, we would go to church with Dad while we were on summer break. Actually, we’d go to vacation bible school and take bible classes, coloring pictures of Jesus in coloring books or making shadow boxes of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph out of clay. Vacation bible school lasted just a week and went from the morning until lunchtime. When it was over and all of the kids left for the day, Margaret and I stayed behind with Dad so he could get in an extra hour of work. We played in the nursery with the toys. If we begged hard enough he would let us play in the sanctuary which was our favorite place because it had—microphones.

“But you can’t be too loud,” he’d say. “Ruby will get angry.”

Ruby was the sweet church secretary, and we could never imagine her angry. She babysat us from time to time and bought us root beers from the little market next to her house. So we said we’d keep it down—we adored Ruby. Dad would shut the doors to the sanctuary, flip a switch in the circuit breaker and Margaret and I were live. Once he went back to his office, Margaret and I would scamper up to the pulpit, grab the mics, which had cords so long you could jump rope with them, and put on a show. We’d sing songs to our audience of dolls we had dragged in from the nursery; songs form the musicals Annie or Grease. We’d slink around the sanctuary, the long microphone cords giving us enough room to become someone else. We’d sing and perform these tunes loud enough to entertain each other but not loud enough to get in trouble or bother Ruby.

However, there was one song that we could not help but belt out and it was Bette Midler’s, “The Rose.” Our eight and nine-year-old souls would mimic a tortured Bette as she woefully sang, “Just remember in the winter, far beneath the bitter snow…” And once we got to the last line of the song, we would forget about Ruby altogether and sing in unison as loud and as heartbrokenly as possible, “THE ROOOOOSSSSSSSSSSE.” bellowing the last word so that not only could Ruby hear us but so could Dad and possibly God. Then the doors would swing open and Dad would yell, “You are being too loud. Ruby can’t hear the person on the other end of the phone!” And then, ‘click.’ he would flip off the microphones. We didn’t protest, we knew we had gone completely overboard. But Dad, being dedicated to the time clock, still had more work to do.

So we came up with other games to play in the sanctuary. Cathedral ceilings presented nothing more than a challenge to us. Another game we enjoyed was to see who could launch Betsy Wetsy to the apex of the ceiling without knocking out any of the lights. “I bet you can’t fly her higher than the top of the cross,” Margaret would say. And we would begin flinging the doll as high as we could and any other doll we could get our hands on. They would cartwheel through the air, and we screamed with glee as they barely missed an ancient chandelier and landed on a pew or in the aisle. The sanctuary looked as if a nursery had exploded—dolls and toys laying haphazardly everywhere like a drunken congregation. Dad would come in, “Girls! You are being way too loud!” Defeated, we would gather up all the toys and put them back in the nursery. Dad realizing that two energetic girls could not be contained by a sanctuary or their adoration for Ruby, needed to just go home and play outside in the summertime sun.

Why "Cheap and Easy" Book Publishing Services Don't Always Cut It

Redefining Publishing In a recent article for TechCrunch, “How to Self-Publish a Bestseller: Publishing 3.0,” James Altucher traces the movement of publishing from the traditional, gatekeeper (or acquisition) model to today’s world of alternative, independent publishing. He also redefines publishing, arguing that it is no longer a difference between  traditional vs. self-publishing, but rather, a difference between professional and unprofessional publishing. A book could be traditionally published and remain unprofessional—with a poor cover or a lackluster marketing effort—or a book could be self-published with an excellent cover designer, editor, copy editor, and publicist and be a top-notch, professional product.

Our editor, John Baskin (right), working with custom book publishing client, Phil Nuxhall (left).

He traces the evolution of publishing through three primary stages: publishing 1.0 is the traditional, gatekeeper model (a system besieged by inefficiency and challenged by digital innovation), publishing 2.0 is the “cheap and easy” online self-publishing boom of 2010, and publishing 3.0 is the movement toward professional, well-orchestrated, self-published books.

At Orange Frazer, we welcome publishing 3.0, and here’s why.

Publishing 3.0 prizes craft, insisting that the best books require compelling and well-designed covers, impeccable editing and proofing, and smart publicity. With over three million books published every year, publishing 3.0 understands that only the professionally published books will stand out, and that traditional, capital-P-Publishers in New York are not necessarily the route to the most professional product. Altucher notes that the best of the best in the industry are moving into this new age of publishing; this is certainly what we have done at Orange Frazer.

Publishing 2.0: Cheap, Easy, Accessible, and Ubiquitous 

At Orange Frazer, we have been helping clients custom publish books for twenty-six years, and our book publishing services have evolved in that time to meet an ever-shifting demand. A few years ago, a parallel industry (publishing 2.0) emerged, an online, self-publishing behemoth with low barriers to entry and unbelievable potential. It seemed like every other week we were hearing about the latest “stars” of self-publishing. The story was always the same: they started off with a few Kindle self-published titles, sold and sold and sold until they hit the tens of thousands, and then the large, deep-pocketed publisher swooped in to pick them up and make them famous (this is the part of the story where they start selling hundreds of thousands of books, and, if you’re Penguin and you happened to pick up Fifty Shades of Grey, you are giving all of your employees $5000 Christmas bonuses, too).

Online self-publishing was, and still is, cheap and easy. You write your book in a Word document, upload the finished manuscript, create a cover using the provided tools, and that’s it. With a few clicks your book is available to the world, and you are an author.

This was an incredible move forward technologically, and it opened up the worlds of reading, writing, and book publishing to thousands that would not otherwise have been privy to them. The industry has employed thousands through various online outlets—Snapfish, Kindle Select, CreateSpace, Lulu, etc.—and it has made writing a viable career for many Americans.

Publishing 3.0: Professional Book Publishing Services

But this route isn’t necessarily for everyone, and it certainly isn’t for every book. Publishing 3.0 is a move toward a high-quality, finished, professional product. Take book covers, for example. An experienced book designer breaks down the elements of a successful book cover—the primary colors, the font, the text size, the image (is it literal or conceptual?), and even its associated genre (does it say mystery, crime, romance, literary fiction?). Book designers spend years perfecting their craft until they can create compelling covers that draw readers in and invite their questions and curiosity. Book covers aren’t just cover pages, they are artistic visualizations of a text or concept, and they tell the reader quite a lot with limited time and space.

And these kinds of book covers take time and talent. Our lead book designer, Brittany, has this graphic by Colin Harman posted next to her computer, and I think it is both humorous and fitting:

Graphic Design Image by Colin Harman

Altucher insists that in publishing 3.0 the author should curate each piece individually—the editor, designer, proofreader, publicist, etc. You can certainly go this route, but it may be time-consuming (you're doing a lot of "shopping around," so to speak). As an alternative, you can allow the publishing house to curate these pieces for you and invest in custom book publishing services. Orange Frazer has spent twenty-six years finding the best writers, editors, designers, photographers, researchers, indexers, and printers, ensuring that every book is a professional and high-quality product that we can put our name on. We insist on publishing 3.0, because we believe that authors and readers deserve the best books possible.

The pages of Revealed: Columbus arranged in our publisher's office. At OFP, each page is designed individually.

When is publishing 3.0 appropriate? Perhaps you are celebrating a milestone for your company, an anniversary, or even a family reunion. You may have a collection of stories to pass down to your grandchildren, or a portfolio of professional photographs that you would like to showcase. Maybe it is the companion piece to a museum exhibit or a novel that you hope to circulate among reviewers. There are times when you need a professional and high-quality product that represents your hard work and talent. And in a world besieged by books, you need to stand out.

What are your thoughts? We love to hear about our readers’ experiences, so share below in the comments if you feel so moved.

Publishing Books Close to Home: Celebrating our Ohio Authors

Orange Frazer Press has been publishing books independently for over twenty-six years. In that time we’ve worked with gardeners, grandparents, pilots, travelers, illustrators, archaeologists, professors, anthropologists, lawyers, painters, photographers, CEOs and many more. Our authors have shared lifetimes of experiences we may never have encountered otherwise, educating and entertaining readers with their stories. We love to celebrate the incredible work of our custom-published authors, real people with storytelling gifts. We have been even luckier to call many of them “neighbors.” And we’d like to take some time to showcase our Ohio authors, their books, and their experiences with OFP:

Jan Thrope, Cleveland: Jan Thrope is the author of InnerVisions: Grassroots Stories of Truth and Hope, an award-winning collection of stories, photographs, and personal experiences that document the struggles, and conversely, the reasons for hope in inner-city Cleveland.

Jan Thrope, Orange Frazer Press, Orange Frazer Press Custom Publishing

“I will forever be grateful to you for helping me bring my photos and words together so that my story could be ‘beautifully told.’ You live up to your mission!”—Jan Thrope, InnerVisions: Grassroots Stories of Truth and Hope

Janet Shailer, Grove City: Janet Shailer is the author of The Austerlitz Bugle-Telegraph: A King, a Goddess, and a Chronicle of Deception, an intriguing tale of local scandals, family secrets, and the “biggest theft [this] sleepy Appalachian town has ever seen.”

Janet Shailer with her book, The Austerlitz Bugle-Telegraph

"The staff at Orange Frazer Press is terrific. They are creative, cooperative and thorough. I hope to work with them again.”—Janet Shailer, The Austerlitz Bugle-Telegraph: A King, a Goddess, and a Chronicle of Deception

Verne Haugen, Washington Court House: Verne Haugen is the author of Count Me In, a memoir crafted with love and passion for a lifetime of deeply caring relationships and hard work.

Verne Haugen's book, Count Me In

“I am very fortunate to have met the entire staff and enjoyed their company many times over. John Baskin and I have had many interesting conversations, and Marcy is a wonderful woman to say the least. Sarah speaks volumes of energy and enthusiasm.”—Verne Haugen, Count Me In

John Fulker, Troy: John Fulker is the author of Cash, Cars, & Kisses, a collection of real-life cases from Miami County. The stories will shock and entertain even the most skeptical reader.

John Fulker's book, Cash, Cars, & Kisses

“As the author of five books over the course of some thirty years, and having thereby acquired at least a moderate acquaintance with the process by which my own naked manuscripts have morphed into attractively designed, professionally edited, illustrated and published books, I take great pleasure in assuring other writers of the considerable merits of Orange Frazer Press—and its tremendously helpful and congenial staff. Orange Frazer has been good enough to re-publish the first of my books and has capably handled the entire process involved in the publication, distribution and marketing of my last three. Best of all, they've done more than I could ask of them attentively and with amazing alacrity. They have, in fact, made the publication process into a fun event.”—John Fulker, Cash, Cars, & and Kisses

David and Barbara Day, Cincinnati: David and Barbara Day are celebrated Cincinnati artists and have collected their hand drawn images of Cincinnati into a beautiful coffee-table book, Vanishing Cincinnati.

David and Barbara Day's book, Vanishing Cincinnati

“We have followed their work for nearly twenty years and have seen the amazing track record they have created, making it easy to want their professional assistance when it came time to publish a book of our drawings. Orange Frazer set thoughtful guidelines and industry standards, then stepped back to gave us the freedom to create the high quality art book we had originally envisioned. We could not have done this without their expert guidance. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”—David and Barbara Day, Vanishing Cincinnati 

Nadine Huffman, Cincinnati: Nadine Huffman and Marilyn Lebhar are the authors of A Cincinnati Night Before Christmas, an endearing Cincinnati rendition of the beloved Christmas tale, and a regional bestseller.

Nadine and Marilyn with publisher Marcy Hawley (middle).

“Our experience with OFP has been, in a word, superb. The wonderful folks at OFP made the book of our dreams come to life through their design talents. They also gave us the knowledge, encouragement, and insight we needed to make our project successful. They always met deadlines, and sweated every detail. They were patient when we asked ignorant questions, and understanding when we had to push back our initial timeline. Most importantly, they are people of honesty and integrity, which shines through everything they do. The fact that they’re genuinely likeable, bright, and enjoyable to work with is a delightful bonus. We’ve been blessed to work with them.”—Nadine Huffman, A Cincinnati Night Before Christmas

To learn more about publishing with Orange Frazer, shoot me (Kelsey) an email at [email protected]!

Self-Publishing: The Orange Frazer Way

With indie authors and self-publishing making the news quite frequently lately (see: Self-Published Titles Dominate Top of E-book Best-Sellers List), one might be surprised to see that the reception for self-publishing companies and author service companies is already souring. Not me. It was announced last Tuesday that several authors are suing Author Solutions (or iUniverse, Xlibris, Trafford, AuthorHouse, as it is also conjectured they are all different heads of the same beast, see: Self-Publishers Want Millions From Penguin), and this is just one of many publicized complaints. Of the many arguments against self-publishing services and author service companies, here are a few key ones:

1)   These services profit from authors’ wishful thinking, idealism, and industry ignorance, charging thousands for services that don’t deliver and creating products that don’t live up to their promise.

2)   These services employ aggressive sales techniques that corner authors, making it difficult for them to understand their options, making it more likely for authors to accept contract terms that they may not be comfortable with.

3)   They do not provide authors with due royalties, nor do they provide accurate sales statements, if any statements at all.

The Empty Promises and Fraudulent Price Tags of Self-Publishing Services and Author Service Companies

First, the “promises” of worldwide distribution, books with all major retailers, widespread success, and social media prowess should make an author wary. No publisher can promise success, not even a traditional publishing houses with a large(r) marketing budgets and hefty connections. Even incredible books are often not picked up by major retailers, not reviewed by major bloggers, and not given the social media applause that they rightly deserve. Nothing has changed with self-publishing. It is still difficult.

Book reading is a niche market. According to the Pew Research Center, In 2011, almost twenty percent of people over the age of sixteen read no books, and thirty-two percent read less than five (remember, this is number of books read, not number of books purchased—the latter is likely to be smaller). The number of books published, however, has oversaturated this market, far exceeding demand. For example, in 2009, there were about 300,000 books published, and in 2010, when self-published ebooks boomed, there were over three million books published. You do the math. Not every book will be a runaway success; it would be impossible for every book published to have a large readership. Do not believe a publisher who promises, or attaches a price tag to, success.

Aggressive Sales Techniques, the Relentless Cold Call, and Opaque Contract Deals

This is our promise to our authors, clients, would-be authors, and would-be clients: we will not hound you, call you, email you obsessively, sign you up to spam email lists, or seduce you with vague offers and obtuse deals. We will reach out to you if we feel that you have something unique to offer, a story to tell, a legacy to celebrate, but we will always do it professionally and courteously.


When you self- or custom-publish a book, you should keep your rights. You might allow (or ask!) your self-publishing service to help you with distribution. In this case, the company will take a distributor’s cut, and may request terms similar to other distribution models to make it a simpler relationship for both you and the publisher/distributor. The publisher should not, however, require any ownership of the book. The self-publishing service is providing you with excellent (we hope) and professional (we hope) editing, copyediting, proofing, design, research, writing, photography, printing (if applicable), warehousing, and distribution services. Because you are paying for these services (and essentially bearing the “risk” of publishing), you own your book in the end, and therefore any money earned from its sale (aside from that which covers distribution costs).

With that established, you should be earning royalties. Royalties should be the money earned from a sale after retailers and distributors take their cuts. Make sure you can read your contract and understand your royalties before committing to a publisher. We’ve seen contracts given to our clients by other services, and frankly they are unconscionable. You should be able to understand your contract. An Orange Frazer contract is two and a half pages; it is concise, straightforward, and easily understandable. We send royalty reports to all of our authors and clients twice a year, so that we are always held accountable to our contract and to you. After all, self-publishing is a traditional business model. You pay for a service, and you receive a product that you can sell. Luckily for you, though, the product is a beautifully designed and long-lasting book, which makes this business model fun!

Our editor John Baskin talking over a book project with author Phil Nuxhall.

In Conclusion, What is Self-Publishing

There are many arenas of self- and custom-publishing, and those that show up on the e-book bestseller lists are only one portion of them. The grandfather who published an illustrated book of family stories for his friends and family is an indie author, despite the fact that there is no barcode on the book and no retail shelf in its future. The nonprofit community foundation that published a celebration of its home community is a self-published entity. There are many shapes and sizes and formats for self-published books, and we will only further misconstrue the industry (and its exciting potential) if we continue to muddle it with assumptions and generalizations. OFP helps individuals, nonprofits, educational institutions, families, community foundations, businesses, artists, chefs, and many, many others create meaningful and professional books, and we do it every day. This is the self-publishing world that we believe in.