begins in Traverse City, Michigan, in 1998, when three women writers and magazine professionals launch a trade review journal to cover the rapidly growing independent, alternative, university, and self publishing industries. They quickly establish a network of skilled reviewers around the country and connect with hundreds of publishers to access review copies of books and then, like most small businesses, the long slog to financial stability commences. One of the women is now a novelist, another a busy freelance journalist, and Victoria Sutherland remains the guiding force, publisher, and chief bathroom cleaner after a couple family loans and second mortgages.
Fifteen years later, as other review journals fold or contract due to shrinking ad sales, ForeWord is experiencing double-digit growth and recently added newsstand distribution for broadened reach beyond the trade to consumer readers. In addition, Sutherland created a menu of marketing services for independent publishers, including a fee-for-review service in 2001, which allowed ForeWord's online audience exposure to hundreds more very small publishers with a quality book review.
Today, Sutherland and her co-conspirator and husband, Matt, continue to haul suitcases of independently published titles to book shows in Frankfurt, Moscow, Bologna, London, New York, and Beijing, helping hundreds of small publishers establish foreign rights relationships with agents around the world. In addition, an annual book-of-the-year competition offers 180 awards in 60 different genres, along with $1500 prizes to the best fiction and nonfiction titles.
ForeWord Reviews is distributed quarterly to 7500 librarians and booksellers and is also available at most Barnes & Noble newsstands and by subscription. ForeWord employs a full time staff of seven, in addition to a handful of freelance editors and nearly one hundred reviewers. The company calls home the third level of a historic building, The Old Cigar Box Factory, located in Downtown Traverse City, overlooking the Boardman River.