Former Co-Workers Launch a Publishing Company

Thanks to James Harris and Lori Gum, local writers need not travel to the East or West coasts in search of a publisher.

They can simply turn to Periodisa Publishing, where Columbus residents Harris and Gum not only offer clients marketing and distribution services, but act as their editor and literary agent, as well.

In fact, that’s just what the duo has done for Periodisa’s first client, Terry Bowman, who, coincidentally, contacted Gum just two days after she and Harris decided to launch the company.

Gum was a high school friend of Bowman’s and although they hadn’t been in touch for almost 25 years, he knew she had editing experience and asked her to have a look at his manuscript.

Both she and Harris liked it a lot and decided that, with a little elbow grease, it could become an engaging read. So they set to work –editing, connecting with distributors and booksellers at the local and national levels− and Bowman’s book is scheduled for release in December.

“Most publishers will receive a manuscript from an unknown author and they will either throw it in the trash or the slush pile,” says Harris, president of Periodisa. “We want to be the publisher that an author knows they can come to and get real feedback and support, whether we want to publish [their work] or not. We want to be a writers resource, as well as a publisher.”

Also, Periodisa −which operates out of the Sandbox coworking space at 853 Pearl Alley in the Short North− will not be using the business model most publishers subscribe to, where writers earn only 5 percent of a publication’s profit, Harris says. Instead, Periodisa wants to offer clients “a partnership” where profits will be split 50/50.

Perhaps Harris and Gum are taking an unorthodox approach to publishing because both have educational and professional backgrounds that are not directly tied to the industry.

Harris has a bachelor’s degree in dietetics from the University of South Florida and, until this year, worked in “mid- to upper-level management” in the construction industry, he says. Gum graduated from New York University’s film school and subsequently worked in the movie industry for about 20 years; during that time she wrote screenplays and directed several small budget films.

In addition to serving as Periodisa’s co-president and editor, Gum will handle cover art for books the company publishes, as she also has a background in graphic design.

Harris and Gum met while they were employed at a construction company owned by Gum’s brother; the company went under and both were laid off in March. Harris says the free time gave them the opportunity to concentrate on a shared lifelong passion −writing−and Periodisa was born.

Harris is aware of just four or five book publishers in the area, but he says they differ from Periodisa in that they all were established by writers whose books were self-published and they have no other clients.

For now, Periodisa is just a two-person operation, but Harris anticipates hiring a secretary in the near future.

Periodisa’s website, Periodisa.com, goes live Sept. 1 and will feature an overview of the company, information about its authors, and a page for submissions.

All types of writing −from novels to short stories to poetry− are welcome, Harris says.

Down the road, Periodisa also will sell audio books in mp3 and CD formats through its site. Plus, all Periodisa’s books will be Kindle and iPad-friendly.

To learn more about Periodisa Publishing, contact James Harris at James@Periodisa.com.