Hello again, all! Lately it’s been mostly a world of home renovations and trying to get some new writing projects jump-started, but I’ve also been working more with book reviewers and bloggers about The Trickster in Ginsberg, and one of their questions recently got me thinking — how and why do we choose publishers to query or propose to?
For me, I was drawn to McFarland & Company primarily due to their status as an independent publisher and for their focus on non-fiction of all kinds and genres whether it be science, sports, history, or literature. This wide array of interests or, as Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times says — “A mind-boggling array of subjects,” — convinced me that McFarland would be a great fit for a work as interdisciplinary and academic as mine. But it’s the professionalism and generosity they demonstrated while working with me that will keep me seeking to publish with them in the future.
Of course, while I cannot speak highly enough of McFarland, they aren’t right for every project.
Here are just a few other names to keep in mind when you begin considering publishers for your own work:
“Founded in 1995 in New York City and named for the seven authors who committed to a home with a fiercely independent spirit, Seven Stories Press publishes works of the imagination and political titles by voices of conscience. While most widely known for its books on politics, human rights, and social and economic justice, Seven Stories continues to champion literature, with a list encompassing both innovative debut novels and National Book Award–winning poetry collections, as well as prose and poetry translations from the French, Spanish, German, Swedish, Italian, Greek, Polish, Korean, Vietnamese, Russian, and Arabic.”
“The most interesting and impressive thing about Bancroft Press is that, as of 2012, the company has survived for twenty years without a niche. The more time spent in the industry, the more one understands how rare that is. So many publishers are focused on having a brand—that is, they only publish sci-fi, or they only publish romance. And if we’re talking small publishers, they rarely publish fiction at all.
It’s useful to have a focus. You probably become more of a recognized name as a publisher that way. You develop a certain company loyalty. But—there are a lot of great books you don’t publish.
Bancroft Press publishes titles we’re passionate about. That’s it. And we’ve scraped by for twenty years on that principle.”
“The first issue of Hanging Loose magazine was published in 1966. The name was inspired by the format — mimeographed loose pages in a cover envelope — and that, in turn, was inspired by a very low budget. But the format was also meant to get across a point of view: that poetry is for now, not for the Ages. If you liked a poem, you could pin it to the wall. If you didn’t like a poem, you could use it as a napkin.
The first issue of HL contained work by Denise Levertov, John Gill, Jack Anderson, Victor Contoski and other poets who would remain close to the magazine. The editors were in agreement that they were not interested in begging poems from famous writers but that they wanted to stress work by new writers and by older writers whose work deserved a larger audience. In 1968, the magazine introduced a feature which has become celebrated over the years, a regular section devoted to writing by talented high school writers.”
“Shortly after opening our doors in 2006, Dzanc Books was hailed as “the future of publishing” in a December 2007 Publishers Weekly article. A fully invested publishing house with distribution through Consortium, Dzanc Books is committed to not only publishing great works, but promoting our authors through print and online media, via author tours, and an exploration of audio/visual media.”
“Counterpath is a venue for readings, exhibitions, and performances. Located at 613 22nd Street near downtown Denver, Colorado, the space is also the main office for Counterpath Press—an independent, nonprofit, literary publisher founded in 2006—as well as the home of Counterpath Books, which carries titles published by small and independent presses.
Counterpath engages the work of writers and artists who are interested in linguistic and visual interventions in contemporary global culture. Counterpath is driven by a broadly conceived mission and strives to encompass new conceptions of what compelling work can mean. It also actively looks for work by writers and artists—including groups such as minorities and women—who are typically under-represented in such venues or media outlets.”
“The Feminist Press is an independent, nonprofit literary publisher that promotes freedom of expression and social justice. Founded in 1970, we began as a crucial publishing component of second wave feminism, reprinting feminist classics by writers such as Zora Neale Hurston and Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and providing much-needed texts for the developing field of women’s studies with books by Barbara Ehrenreich and Grace Paley. We publish feminist literature from around the world, by best-selling authors such as Shahrnush Parsipur, Ruth Kluger, and Ama Ata Aidoo; and North American writers of diverse race and class experience, such as Paule Marshall and Rahna Reiko Rizzuto. We have become the vanguard for books on contemporary feminist issues of equality and gender identity, with authors as various as Anita Hill, Justin Vivian Bond, and Ann Jones. We seek out innovative, often surprising books that tell a different story.”
“Inspired by the simple yet radical notion that a book can change a woman’s life, Seal Press is devoted to publishing titles that inform, reveal, engage, delight, and support women of all ages and backgrounds. … Seal Press was founded in 1976 as a small DIY publisher to provide a forum for women writers and feminist issues, and since then, Seal has published groundbreaking books that represent the diverse voices and interests of women. Seal’s continually growing list includes books about women’s health, parenting, outdoor adventure and travel literature, popular culture, sexuality, gender and transgender life, sports, relationships, memoir, careers, finance, current affairs, and much more.”
“The Lambda Literary Foundation nurtures, celebrates, and preserves LGBT literature through programs that honor excellence, promote visibility and encourage development of emerging writers.”
“Wings Press publishes multicultural books, chapbooks, ebooks and broadsides that, we hope, enlighten the human spirit and enliven the mind. Everyone ever associated with Wings has been or is a writer, and we know well that writing is a transformational art form capable of changing the world, primarily by allowing us to glimpse something of each other’s souls. Good writing is innovative, insightful, and interesting. But most of all it is honest.
Likewise, Wings Press is committed to treating the planet itself as a partner. Thus the press uses as much recycled material as possible, from the paper on which the books are printed to the boxes in which they are shipped.”
“Perugia Press publishes one collection of poetry each year, by a woman at the beginning of her publishing career. Our mission is to produce beautiful books that interest long-time readers of poetry and welcome those new to poetry. We also aim to celebrate and promote poetry whenever we can.”