The husband and wife team of Hugh and Frances Keiser formed their publishing company, Sagaponack Books in 1997 after deciding to independently publish their first book.
Frances tells the story of how it began:
We purchased our first computer in the mid 90s. As an artist, Hugh soon became fascinated with using the computer as an art medium. I was intrigued by the Internet and the ability to easily research any topic. Around this same time, we were planning to take our grandchildren to our favorite places to see nature and wildlife and realized that some of the areas were no longer there.
The idea came to us to research, write, and illustrate children’s picture books about nature. It’s turned out to be an ongoing and extremely rewarding experience—helping children learn about and enjoy wildlife and the outdoors.
Hugh and I are firm believers in lifelong learning, so while Hugh set about becoming proficient in using painting software, I learned the publishing business and the craft of writing. We became a micro publisher performing all of the tasks that any of the large publishing houses do, and we have been publishing books for over 18 years. Our original goal was to educate in a fun and enjoyable way…it still is.
I love teaching. Along with helping children connect with nature through books, a weekly newspaper column, and programs, I also teach publishing and publishing-related topics to aspiring authors at the University of North Florida and at writer’s conferences. One-on-one consultations and coaching are available those who want to understand publishing, start their own publishing company, or have their book published.
I enjoy helping writers become authors and guiding them on the publishing path that suits them best. We recently opened our publishing imprint, For All Time Press, as a way for our clients to easily publish their books. It’s a service we offer because, without it, many authors would not be able to publish. Traditional publishing can be difficult to break into, and starting your own publishing company is not feasible for many.
I hope our journey continues to open new doors along the way for us, as well as for our clients and students.
Her background, coupled with a lifetime of poetry writing and independent studies, led Frances to craft her popular Pelican Pete series of rhyming stories and bring attention to current environmental concerns.
She writes a weekly Backyard Adventures column to help children connect with nature and get outdoors. This led to her Backyard Adventures series of nonfiction books. Her books have won eight national awards.
In recent years, Frances has used her skills and knowledge of the publishing industry to educate aspiring authors and help them avoid the pitfalls to becoming published authors. She teaches publishing-related classes at the University of North Florida Department of Continuing Education and other venues, gives seminars and workshops at writer’s conferences and to writers groups, and contributes articles to newsletters and blogs on publishing topics. She gives one-on-one consultations, and coaching.
Frances is an expert book designer proficient in the use of Adobe software including InDesign, Photoshop, and Acrobat Pro, and designs hardcover and softcover print books, fixed-format ebooks used for children’s books, comics, and cook books, and reflowable format ebooks for novels and non-fiction. She knows book industry standards and the requirements for book credentials, front matter, and back matter.
She lives and works in St. Augustine, Florida, in a home surrounded by woods and wildlife, with her husband, artist Hugh Keiser, and their inquisitive cat, Tina.
Hugh Keiser has been drawing and painting professionally for over forty years. A graduate of the Cooper Union, he is proficient in many mediums including acrylics, pen and ink, etching, lithography, graphite, and mezzotint.
In the mid 1990s he began to explore computers as an art medium. This led to illustrating children’s books including the Pelican Pete series and the Backyard Adventure series.
His first books were digital collages, containing scanned drawings, paintings, photography, and computer generated art. By the time he started his fourth book, he was able to create paintings using only the computer.
Along with books written by his wife Frances, Hugh illustrates books for other authors and he especially enjoys creating the art for custom book covers. He also creates fine art prints, and a line of nature note cards, which he continually adds to.
Keiser has received numerous awards for his work and is featured in many public and private collections around the world. He lives in St. Augustine, Florida with his wife, author/pulisher Frances Keiser, and that same inquisitive cat, Tina.