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A Short History of Rainbow Books, Inc.

Betty and Bill Wright retired in 1978, moving from Texas to Florida, where they had built a second home for vacations. Almost at once they discovered that they were far too young for retirement. Finding time for a game of golf in a busy schedule was one thing; having time to golf every day was boring.

Throughout the years Betty had successfully written several novels for major presses and for most of the top magazines then in print. In his spare time Bill was an avid reader of history. Then, as has been said, they moved to Florida; that was when Bill’s sister Kathryn Case visited them from Merritt Island, Florida, bringing with her a woman by the name of Margaret Strickland who sought Betty’s advice on a book she hoped to write.

While Betty prepared lunch in her new Florida kitchen, she asked Margaret to tell her about her book. Margaret related a story that was almost beyond belief. Her grandchild, Danny Strickland, had been kidnapped by his mother who, though divorced from the Strickland’s son, did not have custody of Danny. The child had gone missing for over two and a half years; and Kathryn, by coincidence, had miraculously discovered Danny Strickland while visiting her own son in Colorado.

On that day, in that kitchen, at that precise time, no laws governed parental kidnapping. When children like Danny Strickland were swept up in such events, the other parent had no place to turn for help. The Strickland family had already invested over $50,000 in private detectives and dead-end leads in their search for Danny.

Betty encouraged Margaret to write her story. When her book was completed, Betty and Bill had found their future and their passion – publishing. And so . . .

Rainbow Books, Inc., published its first title in 1979, Child-Snatched by Margaret Strickland, a pioneering effort that alerted our nation to the fact that children were not protected by law when one angry parent kidnapped her own child. As a result, laws — both state and federal — were enacted, and Mrs. Strickland became a nationally recognized authority on parental kidnapping. Mrs. Strickland collected these new laws into a second book, How To Deal With a Parental Kidnapping, also published by Rainbow Books; this resource became the bible for those involved in such cases, both on a parental and legal level, and it was named by Florida Today as one of the 100 most important books of the Twentieth Century.

Over the years Rainbow Books has published hundreds of books, mostly in the self-help and how-to nonfiction categories.

Rainbow's how-to nonfiction includes books on Hiking (Jan D. Curran, author of the Appalachian Trail trilogy, Hiking the Continental Divide Trail by Jennifer A. Hanson, Protecting Your Family's Assets in Florida by John R. Frazier, J.D., LL.M., and The Best You Can Do: For Yourself and Your Aging Parent by Carol Spargo Pierskalla, Ph.D.), books on insects (Connie Zakowski, The Insect Book for young kids and Insects on Display for older kids and adults), and a book on preserving important papers and photographs (An Ounce of Preservation by Craig A. Tuttle). Our how-to category also includes a book on family travel (WorldTrek by Russell and Carla Fisher) and a series on adventure travel (Thom Tansey's Bonehunter books). Many of our titles appeal to Baby Boomers (and beyond), including The Successful Retirement Guide by R. Kevin Price and Eavesdropping: As Real Women Talk About the Gifts and Challenges of Aging by Kendra T. Brown, Ph.D. and The Pages). 

The self-help category includes relationship books by psychologists and therapists, such as A Language of the Heart by Frank Schultz, Ph.D., Making Real Love Happen by Joyce Buckner, Ph.D., The Emotionally Unavailable Man by Patti Henry, M.Ed., L.P.C., How to Stay Married Without Going Crazy (second edition now available) by Rebecca Ward, MSW, and Peace at Any Price by Deborah Poor, LCSW. Also under the self-help umbrella are parenting books (The Whipped Parent by therapist Kim Abraham, et. al, and Building Character Skills in the Out-of-Control Child by C.R. Partridge, Ph.D.) and books for kids (How to Handle Bullies, Teasers and Other Meanies by therapist Kate Cohen-Posey, Letter Sounds to Help Parents Help Their Children: Not a Workbook, but a Work-With Book by educator Peggy Forster, and Connie Zakowski's books on insects: The Insect Book and Insects on Display).

In the fiction category, Rainbow has the good fortune to be the publisher of medical murder mystery author Dirk Wyle's five-book series featuring Ben Candidi, which began with the smash hit Pharmacology Is Murder. Further still, Rainbow is the first independent press to break the glass-ceiling and have one of its cozy murder mysteries (Revenge of the Gypsy Queen by Kris Neri) named a finalist for the Anthony, Agatha and Maccavity Awards. Mysteries, we sometimes say with a smile, are our fiction métier. Or maybe we’re just lucky to have such fine authors as Sandra J. Robson (the Keegan Shaw mysteries), whose False as the Day Is Long received a starred review in the prestigious Library Journal). We have also published outstanding contemporary fiction (21 Aldgate by Patricia Friedberg, The Heritage by Connie Zakowski and Reluctant Miracle by Linda Sebastian) as well as visionary/metaphysical fiction (the multiple-award winning The Lhasa Trilogy by Gary D. Conrad and Probing Darkness Finding Light by Merv Needell). 

As for all of our books, they are frequently featured in or reviewed by national book-industry publications, such as Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and the American Library Assocation’s Booklist

Meanwhile, as the frequently asked question goes, “How did Rainbow get its name?” It is simply this. When Betty and Bill began to consider starting a publishing company, they talked at length about a name. Finally, Betty said, “Remember when we were out in far west Texas and we hiked out into the desert to the end of a rainbow?” While there wasn’t a pot of gold at the end of that rainbow, there was the most ethereal prism of light . . . And with that thought firmly in mind, Rainbow Books was born.

In 1985, Rainbow Books was chosen Small Press of the Year. This award was presented to Rainbow’s publisher, Betty Wright, at the American Booksellers Association Trade Show and Convention (now known as BookExpo America) in New Orleans, Louisiana by Tom Drewes, then-president of Quality Books, Inc., national library distributors. Betty was individually honored with the Year 2000 Robin Mays Award by the Publishers Association of the South for her contributions to publishing in the Southeast. She was founder and longtime executive committee member of Florida Authors and Publishers Association, Inc. 

Sadly, Betty Wright died in the fall of 2013, but Betsy immediately assumed the position of publisher (for which Betty had prepared her). Betsy was FAPA’s longtime association executive, when it was known as FPA, and is a national speaker and writer on publishing topics. Her background is in portraiture, emergency medicine and aviation, and she has been working with her mother at Rainbow since 1989. 

Rainbow Books, Inc., is a Florida corporation and traditional book publisher, and we pay royalties based on the retail price of a book, not on the net (on a book’s profits after expenses, an author-payment-reduction practice becoming popular with many presses). We print using book manufacturers (a combination of POD, or Print on Demand, and traditional printing − but not using the corner print shop), and we produce both hardcover and trade softcover books. 

View our submission guidelines for details on how to submit a manuscript to us. Our editorial staff assesses and evaluates all submitted material.

Rainbow Books, Inc. * PO Box 430 * Highland City, FL * USA * 33846
Telephone: (863) 648-4420 * Fax: (863) 647-5951

Copyright 2016 Rainbow Books, Inc.