Andy and Jackie King, owners of A & J King Artisan Bakers in Salem, have satisfied a lot of customers with their handmade bread.
William Kiester was one of them.
In fact, Kiester, publisher of Page Street Publishing in Salem, liked their bread so much he recently published a cookbook sharing their recipes and techniques, “Baking by Hand: Make the Best Artisanal Bread and Pastries Better Without a Mixer.”
“A & J matches up with some of the best I’ve ever had,” Kiester said. “It’s something I feel the world should know about.”
Finding authors who provoke such a passionate response and helping them to reach a wider audience defines his approach to everything he publishes.
“Really, what we’re doing is going out there and trying to find authors who have a devoted audience that believes in them,” he said. “We’re taking people with talent who should be famous but are falling down on the marketing side, and are putting them out there.”
Kiester believes in scouting and developing talent in the same way the Kings make bread, with a hands-on approach.
“I have a big sign up here that says, ‘Test the product,’” he said. “We go out there and find people we think are cool, have talent, and try some of their recipes — test some of the things they do.”
But Kiester balances his enthusiasm with expertise and looks for endorsements from authorities in a potential author’s field to confirm his belief in their abilities.
Page Street’s approach recently received an endorsement of its own in the form of a distribution deal with Macmillan Publishing, one of the world’s biggest publishers.
“They have an incredible sales force that has opened up and maintains the broadest range of sales channels for any book,” Kiester said. “It was a coup for a start-up. I only had my previous publishing record to recommend me.”