Book ‘Em event gets Second Wind

Patricia Terrell Contributing columnist

December 14, 2013

One of the most thrilling aspects of Book ‘Em North Carolina occurs when unpublished writers meet publishers that launch their careers. This has happened more than once in just the first two years of the event.

One publisher who has participated in the annual event is Second Wind Publishing. The Winston-Salem-based company was formed in 2008 by a group of writers. They began with romance and mystery novels and quickly branched out to a number of genres, including science fiction/paranormal, action/adventure, children and young adult, women’s interest, mainstream fiction and non-fiction. As of Jan. 1, they will have more than 175 books in print from about 80 writers. By the end of 2014, the books in print will approach 300.

The company first heard of Book ‘Em when one of its authors, Deborah J. Ledford, traveled all the way from Arizona for the 2012 event and publisher Mike Simpson was asked to participate as well. While there, a chance meeting led to publishing “Carolina Wine Country Cooking” by Robeson County resident Ginger King. It’s a delectable cookbook that doubles as a travelogue of several outstanding North Carolina wineries. They also contracted with the outstanding young adult writer Cris Harrelson, leading to the publication of “The Beast of Macon Hollow.” Bill Thompson, the well-known North Carolina humorist, was also contracted, leading to the publication of “Celia Whitfield’s Boy.” That book has not only been one of their bestselling titles, but it was also nominated for the Sir Walter Raleigh Award as the best North Carolina novel of 2012.

Second Wind is a traditional publisher with an editorial board that evaluates each manuscript. They pay their authors royalties on all books sold (print and digital) and, unlike some publishers, they do not ask authors to pay anything for the production of their manuscripts. When they decline a book, they explain why they turned it down, often offering suggestions on how to enhance the manuscript.

Second Wind is currently accepting manuscripts in all genres. Publisher Mike Simpson says they’re more interested in the quality of the story than the literary niche it occupies.

“In a nutshell, we are interested in stories that 1) start with a griping narrative that draws the reader inexorably into the story and only gradually blends in back story as the text progresses; 2) the characters are realistic and not caricatures; 3) the story line is plausible, unique and interesting; 4) the dialogue and descriptions are engaging and further draw in the reader; and 5) the writer knows where she/he wants the story to go and takes it there,” Simpson said.

Those interested in submitting to Second Wind can go to the website, and follow the prompts for submitting a first chapter. On Feb. 21 — the day before Book ‘Em North Carolina — they will hold a “Pitch the Publisher” event in Lumberton. Any author who has a manuscript can reserve 20 minutes to discuss his/her book with the company one-on-one. To reserve a time and to get more information, you can write publisher Mike Simpson at

For information on Book ‘Em North Carolina, visit

Columnist p.m.terrell is an award-winning, internationally acclaimed author of more than 18 books in four genres and the founder of Book ‘Em North Carolina. For information, including her award-winning books set in Lumberton, visit