Leapfolio is a commercial collaborative publishing venture established by the executives and staff of the nonprofit company Tupelo Press, one of the most respected literary book publishers in America.

Conventional routes to publishing — often involving labyrinthine manuscript submission procedures and intermediary agents to (possibly) get noticed by a decision maker at a corporate media conglomerate — aren’t meeting the needs of all aspiring authors.

Leapfolio provides guidance, hands-on expertise, and a customized book-production process for independent authors and organizations who recognize that collaborative publication is a viable way to meet personal, professional, and creative goals in the midst of a publishing industry that’s undergoing enormous shifts and changes.


Why the need for collaborative publishing?

We believe that the number and quality of opportunities for commercial publishing of important books are terribly limited, and that typical “self-publishing” options are constrained and formulaic.

We also believe that many book projects are more effective and more satisfying when the author is at the center of the publishing experience, from the initial discussion of aims through each stage in the editorial, design, and production process.

Every book is a unique combination of content, form, and style, and every author has both personal and professional goals that are essential to consider in structuring a publishing strategy. At Leapfolio, we work closely with participating authors to craft a plan most likely to achieve desired outcomes, whether this is a publication intended mainly for friends and family or for widespread distribution.

Leapfolio authors will play a key role, not just delivering a manuscript, but also in bringing the book to life and ensuring that potential readers are reached. A willingness to engage in this partnership with a collaborative spirit is a vital ingredient in a successful Leapfolio project.


What is the difference between Leapfolio’s collaborative publishing and “self-publishing”?

Existing author-funded options for producing a book include:

  • The “do-it-yourself” (DIY) way: On your own, produce a print-ready document that meets applicable manufacturing standards, then contract with a printer, and then create your own means of marketing the resulting book
  • The “be-your-own-general-contractor” way: Hire an editor and designer, pay for their work and for the subsequent printing invoice, and then create your own means of marketing the resulting book
  • The “template” way: Use the software offered by online corporations (i.e. CreateSpace at Amazon.com, Spark at Ingram, or vanity press companies such as Lulu, AuthorHouse, or iUniverse) to upload your manuscript to a page-layout template, with certain forms of marketing and distribution provided but often with restrictions (for instance, independent bookstores may not carry Amazon-created publications, etc.)

Any aspiring author should explore the pros and cons of these options, one of which might meet a given set of goals. It’s also important to speak with others who’ve experimented with these self-publishing models, since many people have found them to be formulaic and frustrating in their limited outcomes, more akin to “self-printing” than “self-publishing.”

The publishing process involves more than merely getting a book printed or digitized.


Leapfolio books are created with a very different process.


  • Leapfolio books are juried. We only publish work that the members of our editorial committee agree are wholly worthy of publication.
  • Leapfolio authors aren’t merely fee-for-hire clients but genuine partners who play an active and integral role in every aspect of the book’s life, from initial editing to design to sales and promotion and beyond.
  • At Leapfolio, we don’t use rigid fee structures or template designs for a publishing project. There’s no “set menu” of services, and like an effective traditional publisher, we pick and choose projects that we feel have potential, and then sit down with the authors to work out exactly what they want to achieve. The result is a project that works for authors, for Leapfolio, and for readers: not a one-time transaction, but an ongoing relationship.

Every author is different, every project is different, and at Leapfolio we develop customized contracts, opportunities, and strategies for each book.

We provide authors with all the benefits of traditional publishing (a specifically assigned project manager; an engaged, communicative editor; a gifted and experienced graphic designer; and a viable route to marketing and promotion), but with the author as a full-fledged creative partner in every part of the process.

The successful and satisfied Leapfolio author-partner will be brave, entrepreneurial, agile, and innovative – and you will enjoy taking charge of your book’s destiny!

With a Leapfolio project, authors don’t pay for a one-time service, but do contribute in a meaningful way to clearly defined costs for editing, production, and promotion to the extent appropriate for their particular project.

Our aim is to innovate, challenge, and excite — to find new avenues so important voices can be heard, and readers can discover emerging ideas and talents.

If you’d like to explore the possibility that your book is right for Leapfolio, and Leapfolio is a suitable partner for your project, or if you have other questions, please contact Leapfolio publisher here.