Good Life

How a love of books, sharing stories led to a State College publishing company

Adelina Hristova smiles for a portrait at her home Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018 in State College. Hristova founded AzBukiVeri, an independent publishing agency in State College in January 2017.
Adelina Hristova smiles for a portrait at her home Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018 in State College. Hristova founded AzBukiVeri, an independent publishing agency in State College in January 2017.

When Adelina Hristova began her publishing career, she was looking for a way to publish her dissertation. An adviser at Penn State — where Hristova earned her Ph.D. in lifelong learning and adult education — suggested she look into publishing it, but while Hristova was planning to publish her own work, she found that friends and family members had their own stories they wanted to publish: ones in English, Russian, Bulgarian and Mandarin.

Today, Hristova runs AzBukiVeri, an independent publishing company in State College she founded in January 2017.

She works with authors throughout different stages of the publishing process, from translations to illustrators and dealing with copyright and contracts.

The name “AzBukiVeri” itself also has many inspirations.

“AzBuki” is the first part of a 9th century Bulgarian alphabet, Hristova said — the counterpart to the American “alpha beta” which begins the alphabet. Like children learn ABCs in America, AzBukiVedi, with a “d,” means “to start something new” in Russian Cyrillic, and ABV is the start of the alphabet. Hristova said the translation of “AzBukiVedi” also emphasizes the importance of literacy, though she changed it to “AzBukiVeri” because “Buki” relates to books and veri means truth.

“Our agency believes in books, so we believe in being literate and in publication,” Hristova said of the name.

The company’s first book, a children’s book called “The Stinkies: Onto saving the missing smells,” by Devora Dzhambova, was published last year.

Dzhambova had been looking for illustration sponsors, and knew Hristova, a longtime family friend, was starting a publishing company.

“Adelina was always there for me to discuss the book, my ideas, the illustrations and even topics outside of our business relation(ship),” Dzhambova said via email.

“When I saw ‘The Stinkies’ on Amazon as an e-book, I was proud and happy that we managed to give way for a beautiful story to come to life and make many little boys and girls happy by reading it,” Dzhambova said.

The company is working on five books to be published in the 2018-2019 year, in genres ranging from a memoir to science fiction for young adults — and eventually, Hristova’s own dissertation.

As the company is a one-woman business, Hristova said that it was at one point rejected for membership by the Association for American Publishers.

Rather than be dismayed, however, Hristova has using the rejection as motivation to push forward and eventually expand the agency.

“I really find this inspirational, because there is room for this agency to grow, of course,” Hristova said.

Hristova enjoys the creative part of the job most, working with manuscripts and authors, even helping to translate the books — though “maybe the biggest challenge” of running her own business is tackling all of the tax returns associated with a small business.

After living in State College for 10 years with her family, Hristova is working with a local author to publish an upcoming book and enjoys the new relationship that her company has helped forge with libraries in State College.

Hristova will attend Schlow Centre Region Library’s “Meet the Authors” event on 2-4 p.m. Sept. 9 to share “The Stinkies” with young library visitors.

Fellow guests — and fellow Penn State alumni — Conn Thieman, author of “A Weekend In Happy Valley,” and Brian Wray, author of “Unraveling Rose” will also be there as well.

The event is for children, and Hristova said that her activities at the event will include a table of smells for young children and a chance to listen to the audiobook.

“The Stinkies” is available for purchase through Amazon in an audio and digital format.

“Working with the local author and with the libraries has been a real pleasure,” Hristova said. “I feel a part of the community of the library, and of Penn State and State College.”