JENNIFER LEIGH SELIG, PH.D.
Jennifer was an avid reader from an early age, in love with all things book. She would lay tracing paper down over a favorite book's pages, and copy the letters and drawings meticulously, setting the stage for becoming a publisher later in life (or running a Xerox machine at Office Depot).
She had her first real book published in 1999 by Andrews McMeel Publishing (What Now? Words of Wisdom for Life After Graduation). Since then, she had five more books traditionally published, including three more with Andrews McMeel, one with Spring Publications, and one with Shambhala Publications. Click here to visit her personal publishing history.
Her first publishing imprint, Mandorla Books, was born in large part out of Jennifer's frustration with the publishing industry when she was seeking a home for her doctoral research on Martin Luther King, Jr. She learned first-hand about some of the more commonly held frustrations of all writers, namely 1) the lack of authorial control over and approval of the finished product; 2) the loss of rights to one's own work; 3) the painfully slow publication process (often 12-18 months); and 4) the disfavorable royalty structures which are often tantamount to giving one's creative labor away for free. After receiving one more dismaying publishing offer, Jennifer decided to pull the manuscript off the market and self-publish what would become Integration: The Psychology and Mythology of Martin Luther King, Jr. and His (Unfinished) Therapy With the Soul of America. For her imprint name, she chose the symbol of the mandorla, the feminine symbol for connection and partnership, two driving forces in her life.
She enjoyed the publication process from start to finish so much that she decided to equally empower other authors in the creation and birth of their own book projects. She envisioned a truly revolutionary publishing model that redresses the frustrations above, offering authors 1) complete creative control over and approval of their finished product; 2) maintenance of all the rights to one's own work; 3) quick turnaround from manuscript to book; and 4) 100% of all royalties.
Mandorla Books grew by word of mouth, and soon Jennifer found herself with a wealth of manuscripts. In order to focus her energy curating Mandorla's list of books, she founded Empress Publications as a place to publish other titles, including fiction and professional development books.
Grace's Giant Print Books has its own unique origin story. When the pandemic hit in 2020, Jennifer's grandmother Grace was 99 years old, and in an assisted living facility. An avid reader as well, she lost the ability to work her Kindle due to arthritic fingers and some memory issues, and her vision was so bad she couldn't read regular large print books. She was locked up, despairing, and bored out of her mind. Jennifer turned her publishing know-how into creating a giant print book series, using 30-point font instead of the traditional large-print 16-point font. Now not only does Jennifer's grandmother still enjoy her books at 102 years old, but thousands of seniors and others who are vision-impaired have been able to read again thanks to Grace's Giant Print Books.