Austin-based publishing company strictly sells titles in other small businesses
Fox Pointe Publishing, an independent publishing business led by Kiersten Hall and Chelsea Farr, represents 30 authors. Those books can only be found in small, independent retailers.
ROCHESTER — Though the temperatures were chilly outside, Garden Party Books, a small independent bookstore owned by Andy and Anna Smith, was filled with the warm personality of Kiersten Hall.
Hall and her daughter, Chelsea Farr, are the co-owners of Fox Pointe Publishing, a local, independent publishing press. Hall lives in Austin, while Farr relocated to Denver last year.
Fox Pointe was born after Hall and Farr decided to slap a name on the publishing work they were already doing. Hall republished her first of six books, ‘I Do: Fifteen Years of Wedding Misadventures,’ in 2015. She continued with her writing adventures, releasing a book each year.
The business was born after a conversation in 2019. Hall was at an Austin bookstore, Sweet Reads, promoting her latest release.
A woman walked up to her and said Hall had to help her publish her book. “She was very persistent,” Hall said.
“I went to my daughter, and I said, ‘Let’s help this lady,’” Hall said. “And there you go. That’s how it all started.”
That author was Carmen Tribbett, who was then 87 years old. Hall and Farr picked up Tribbett as an author, leading to the conversation about forming a business to make everything official.
“In June, I’m like, ‘Well, if we’re going to accept money for what we’re doing, what we’ve been doing for the last few years, why don’t we stick a name on it and make it official,’” Hall said. “We came up with Fox Pointe Publishing, and pointe has an ‘e’ on the end only because we’re fancy.”
Hall said now that you “need to be out of your mind” to start a publishing company. As the sales and marketing whiz, Hall describes herself as “stubborn and stupid,” because it’s her job to sell the titles, and she doesn’t take that responsibility lightly.
Fox Pointe grew quickly — Hall put the official launch date of Fox Pointe as Jan. 1, 2020. There were two authors already interested in being represented by Hall and Farr. By interested, the authors were waiting patiently for Hall to reach out so they could officially join Fox Pointe.
“January 1 at 9 a.m. we got on the phone with Amy (Gregg), and she picked up the phone and said, ‘Hi. Yes,’” Hall recalled. “I’m like, ‘OK, so we’ll send you a contract.’ She’s like, ‘OK, I’ll look for it today.’ I was on the phone with her from 9 a.m. to like 9:03 a.m., and that was the end of that.”
Thea Kvamme similarly jumped onboard Fox Pointe quickly.
“I was on the phone between 9:03 and probably 9:10 with Thea, and then I sat down and I wrote two contracts out. Out the door they went, and the whole process started,” Hall said.
In the first seven or eight months, Fox Pointe picked up between eight to 10 authors, a quick rise for an independent publisher.
Authors came out of the woodwork to work with Hall and Farr.
“It was just insanity,” Hall said. “In 2021, we got 73 manuscripts sent to us. And my daughter picked six.”
Fox Pointe now has 77 active titles — 47 children’s books and 30 adult or young adult novels — and represents 30 authors.
The biggest selling point of Fox Pointe is the way Hall and Farr choose to support small businesses like themselves. The printing press Fox Pointe uses is Lakeside Press, a small business near Willmar, Minnesota.
Fox Pointe titles are also only sold in small, independent retailers.
“All of these books, you can't come in here and then go, ‘Neat,’ and run to Barnes and Noble and get a 43% discount, because I don't work with the national chain stores,” Hall said. “Which means if you like these books, Garden Party Books is my only retailer in Rochester that carries these books.”
Fox Pointe titles are in 50 bookstores across the country and between 200 and 300 libraries.
Hall said she recommends always checking with independent booksellers in your town for the titles. It’s the best way to support a small, independent publishing business that, in turn, solely sells books in small, independent retailers.