About Howard Books

Howard Books publishes adult trade fiction and non-fiction books. Our goal is to inspire readers one word at a time. With a reach into both the Christian and general markets, we are the primary imprint at Simon & Schuster for faith-based books and a member of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association. Howard Books is home to numerous bestselling authors including Duck Dynasty's Robertson family, Karen Kingsbury, Jay Sekulow, Charles Stanley, SQuire Rushnell, Dave Ramsey, Frank Peretti, Brad Paisley, and more.

Our Staff

Jonathan Merkh, VP and Publisher

Jonathan joined Howard Books in March 2009, bringing with him talents gleaned from a successful career in Christian publishing that encompassed roles in editorial, ministry, agenting, and sales through work at Thomas Nelson, Guideposts, William Morris and other leading companies. His extensive and varied experience gives him a well rounded and unique perspective on most every area of the business.


Merkh spent fourteen years with Thomas Nelson Publishers in various roles including a post as senior vice president and publisher of the Nelson Books division. While there he published more than twenty New York Times bestsellers, including works by Robin McGraw, Dave Ramsey, John and Stasi Eldredge, Dr. John C. Maxwell, and Donald Miller. Jonathan, a graduate of Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management, also launched the Nelson Business imprint.

Jennifer Smith, VP, Director of Marketing and Publicity

Jennifer Smith began her career with Simon & Schuster in 2004, where she was the Director of Publicity and Marketing for one of Simon & Schuster’s distribution clients based in Minneapolis, before moving to the New York office as the Associate Director of Publicity for the Audio Division. She's worked on publicity campaigns for numerous authors including: Former Vice President Al Gore, Former President Jimmy Carter, Patrick Swayze, Joan Rivers, Pastor Joel Osteen, Stephen King, Glenn Beck, Bethenny Frankel, and others. She joined the Howard Books team in 2010 and has spearheaded campaigns for bestselling authors including: Dave Ramsey, Duck Dynasty’s Robertson family, Dr. Charles Stanley, SQuire Rushnell, Tim Conway, Karen Kingsbury, and many more.


Prior to her career in publishing, she worked as a News Director & Producer for both ABC and CBS radio & television. She also serves as an Adjunct Professor at Belmont University in Nashville.

Philis Boultinghouse, Senior Editor

Philis has worked with Howard for more than 25 years, serving in various editorial and management roles. She has served as editor on several New York Times bestselling books, including all of the Duck Dynasty books, and books by Dr. Charles Stanley, TLC's the Duggar Family, and Pastor John Hagee. She has also worked as editor for authors such as Senator Joe Lieberman, Donald Miller, Brad Paisley, Dr. Henry Cloud, Chip Ingram, Andy Stanley, Point of Grace, Steve Brown, Tony Campolo, and many more. Even after 25 years, Philis loves bringing books to reality.

Lisa Stilwell, Senior Acquisitions Editor

Lisa joined Howard Books in 2015 bringing a rich seventeen-year history of gift book publishing, first with Multnomah Publishers and then with HarperCollins Christian Publishing. She has worked with New York Times bestselling authors such as Max Lucado, Sarah Young, Charles Stanley, Billy Graham, Lee Strobel, and David Jeremiah. She has also served as editor for Robert Morgan, OS Hawkins, and Robert Morris as well as for entertainers such as Josh Turner, Matthew West, and Steven Curtis Chapman. She has served on several boards including Special Kids, which helps children with special needs, and Thomas Nelson’s Charitable Giving Board.

Beth Adams, Senior Editor

Beth Adams joined Howard Books in May of 2012. Before that, she was a senior editor at Guideposts Books, where she was in charge of the direct mail fiction program and acquired and edited for the trade publishing program, and at Random House. She graduated from Princeton and has a master’s degree in English from New York University. She is the author or co-author of fourteen novels. She works out of the main Simon & Schuster office in New York and lives in Brooklyn with her family.

Heather Howell, Associate Editor

Heather joined the Howard Books team in 2016 as the publishing assistant. She graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a B.S. in Journalism and Mass Communications. She previously worked as a client relations coordinator with Ingram Publisher Services and production services intern at a Nashville based advertising agency. She is excited to be pursuing a career in the fascinating world of publishing, and looks forward to further developing her editorial skills and working with authors.

Brandi Lewis, Senior Imprint Marketing Manager

Brandi joined Howard Books in 2012 and is a veteran marketing executive within the Christian publishing world. Her most recent role was at Abingdon Press where she handled all branding and marketing initiatives to launch the new Bible translation -- the Common English Bible (CEB). She held several marketing positions over ten years at Thomas Nelson Publishers, handling everything from copywriting/proofreading to merchandising and trade marketing to developing and executing advertising and promotional plans for New York Times bestselling authors Dave Ramsey, Donald Miller, John and Stasi Eldredge, John Maxwell, Charles Stanley, Robin McGraw and more. She also served as a Marketing Manager for Broadman & Holman Publishers, where she oversaw marketing campaigns and book tours for authors including Beth Moore and Oliver North. A graduate of Western Kentucky University, Brandi is a Nashville native, and is based in Howard Books' Nashville offices.

Bonnie MacIsaac, Publicist

Bonnie MacIsaac joined Howard Books as publicist in August 2012. In 2005, she graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, NJ with a B.A. in communications. She previously worked at the Miss America Organization in Linwood, NJ as their public relations coordinator where she handled all public relations and publicity matters, and served as the main media contact for the national organization and all 53 state organizations. She is very excited her career brought her to Nashville to begin working in the wonderful world of publishing and looks forward to learning more about the industry.

Maura Harwood, Publishing/Publicity Assistant

Maura joined Howard Books as publicity assistant in June 2015 and took over assisting the publisher in late 2016. She moved to Nashville in 2011 from Massachusetts to attend Belmont University. During her time at Belmont, Maura interned with several companies including Kaleidoscope Media and with the public relations team at Tennessee Performing Arts Center. She also had the opportunity to spend a semester in New York City where she interned with Broadway press agency, Boneau/Bryan-Brown. She graduated from Belmont with a B.A in Entertainment Industry Studies and a minor in Public Relations in May 2015. She is thrilled to be working at Howard and to begin her career in the publishing industry.



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