Women Working It: This woman-led publishing house is poised to make a splash in Memphis — and beyond

There’s a new player in town when it comes to publishing in Memphis. From paperback to e-book to cover design and interior layout, RiverHouse Publishing is emerging as a go-to small press for both independent and established authors, alike.

According to President and CEO Latrivia Welch, "Everyone has a story to tell, but only the brave ones put their stories to paper."

Welch is an award-winning author who founded RiverHouse Publishing in 2010 and has since published more than 40 books by an array of different authors.

I sat down with her recently to hear more about her, her work, and her goals for the future of RiverHouse Publishing.

High Ground News: For those who don’t know you or your small press, can you tell me about RiverHouse Publishing?

“I want RiverHouse to leave a legacy of hope for this city that I love. Memphis has given me so much. It’s my home, and I love it,” Welch says.Latrivia Welch: RiverHouse Publishing is a Memphis-based small press focused on publishing the work of indie and seasoned authors on multiple national and international platforms. We believe in bold authors and their bold statements. And it is our mission to turn those bold statements into bold books for the world.

I founded RiverHouse in 2010, because at that time, indie authors had very few options or resources to produce their work. I wanted to provide standards and benchmarks for inexperienced authors and provide a robust distribution and support system for seasoned indie authors.

Like many businesses, RiverHouse was born out of necessity. I had attempted to shop my book to a traditional publishing house and acquire a literary agent. However, much of the feedback that I received was negative. I was told that interracial romance, specifically fiction focused on romance between black women and white men exclusively, didn’t have a large following and was not a genre.

However, I was of the mindset that if I was interested in writing it, people were interested in reading it. I simply would have to carve out my own space in the publishing world, since those who I had reached out to for help didn’t see a space for me in their companies.

In 2010, RiverHouse went online. During that time, I was the only author and had recently moved back to Memphis from Camp Lejeune. Through the support of my mentors Deidre Malone and Beverly Robertson, I developed a plan to expand the publishing house incrementally and use a learn-as-you-go model that was flexible and ever evolving.

Twelve years later, we are still evolving. I’ve learned a great deal, and I hope to introduce new offerings, refine our practices and deepen our relationships within the community, so that RiverHouse can become a staple in Memphis for authors of all genres.

Latrivia Welch, left, after an appearance on WREG-TV.
HGN: How many authors have you worked with?

LW: Over the last twelve years, I’ve worked with over 130 authors. Some have been published under the RiverHouse name. However, most have come to us for the resources and relationships that we foster in the industry. Some chose to develop their own imprints. Some consulted with us to start their own small publishing companies. Others have worked with us to create specialized imprints for a series of books or a project.

RiverHouse was developed for the purpose of being a resource. We have non-exclusive contracts and we educate our authors and encourage their growth, so that eventually they will be able to do everything that we do for them and ensure a fortified brand for themselves and their work.

HGN: Are you an author and how long have you been writing?

LW: Yes, I started writing my first book, “Ivy’s Twisted Vine,” while in undergrad at LeMoyne-Owen College. I wrote the first chapter of that book the night that I was crowned Ms. LeMoyne-Owen College in 2001. The book had several iterations before I completed it in 2008 while at Camp Lejeune. I ended up publishing it with another on-demand company. It was through that experience that I knew that indie authors needed a place to call home, where they could go and be treated with respect and value.

When I launched RiverHouse, I began to feel the excitement of being an author in a new and exciting way. I developed marketing campaigns, videos, and meet and greets to accompany each book launch. I helped other authors in my inner circle get their books and publishing companies online, and we had a collective goal to bring interracial romance novels to the forefront of the romance genre.

Now, I have a large following of the most amazing fans ever. They range in age, race, religion, and nationality from all over the world. I count myself blessed to write what I want, love who I am and share my experience and skills with other authors to help them succeed in their own goals.

The Latrivia Welch-penned “Warlocks: The Creole Coven,” published by RiverHouse Publishing in 2018.HGN: Who is your best-selling author?

LW: Since I started the publishing company, I continue to be the author who has sold the most books. However, it is my goal to find and cultivate authors who will far exceed my success.

I am a two-time USA Today bestselling author with fans in 120 countries. However, I started with 50 books sold to close friends at Camp Lejeune. I have written over 30 books under two names, Latrivia Welch and Latrivia Nelson, and I’ve sold over a million books worldwide, but that means something very different today than 12 years ago. With eBooks, book swaps, books share, etc., everyone who is actively pushing their work to their readers have new opportunities to triple sales and their audience while strengthening their brand. It’s a new world for authors, and I love it.

HGN: Can you tell us about some upcoming projects you are excited about?

LW: During COVID, we took a break at RiverHouse. I spent two years working to redefine our mission and our trajectory. I hope to start implementation of this new vision in 2023. I can say that the pause was needed. It gave me an opportunity to ask myself critical questions about the business and its future. It also made me realize that on-demand publishing is a just one part of what I want to bring to Memphis and authors across the nation.

We’re very excited about our newest author, Memphis lawyer Princess Woodard is releasing her book under RiverHouse, “Tidbits on Tennessee Law.” This guide introduces readers to the key laws that they need to understand when facing divorce, child custody, child support, and visitation in the state of Tennessee. Of course, she advises that one still needs a lawyer, but for folks who want to be more informed of their rights and the rights of their loved ones, this book is invaluable. After reading it, I learned so much that I actually became a client. Trust me when I say that everyone needs this book.

HGN: What’s in store for RiverHouse in 2022 and 2023?

LW: The new vision of RiverHouse will expand its offerings for indie authors, and it will help younger generations by exposing them to the publishing industry through programs, publishing opportunities, and seminars. We have so many talented young people in the Memphis area. It is my intention to provide them a chance to fall in love with the written word – their own written words – and show them how to monetize their talents no matter where they are in the world.

We also plan to roll RiverHouse Publishing into a larger company that has a more holistic approach to helping authors understand the industry, their capabilities, and their genres.

I realized that I want RiverHouse to leave a legacy of hope for this city that I love. Memphis has given me so much. It’s my home, and I love it. Hopefully, with these new changes to the company, I can give more back to city that has propped me up and taken such good care of me over my adult life.

Find RiverHouse Publishing online at www.riverhousepublishingllc.com.
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Read more articles by Jeff Hulett.

Originally from Chicago, Jeff moved to Memphis in 1990 not really knowing much about the south. In fact, the first week he lived here he was suspended from school for not saying, "yes ma'am" and "no ma'am." Jeff has since developed a passion for Memphis and especially Memphis music. A member of several bands including Snowglobe and Me & Leah, Jeff works as a communications consultant with many non-profits including Playback Memphis, Church Health, Room in the Inn-Memphis and BLDG Memphis. Jeff lives in the Vollintine Evergreen neighborhood with his wife and two daughters.