|"Luminous Letters" by Mary Bullington.|
Acrylic & oil pastel on paper, 21" x 26."
We read each other's poems in college,
and now look at us, long grown up.
No longer is any large house exempt from the rule of marketing. This change in publishing means that many writers look for a secure home and never quite find it—sometimes they are uneasy where they are or they keep moving or they have stopped being able to publish because of numbers.
The world of micro presses, small and regional presses, midsize houses, and university presses changes constantly. What I notice most at the moment is that poetry is still dropping away from university presses and many midsize houses. But new presses spring up all the time. People in our cities or in obscure and surprising places are striving to make culture, to distribute well-crafted books.
FINDING A HOME FOR A BOOK, FINDING A BOOK TO READ
In fact, my first book was published at a smallish house, maker of beautiful books. In my innocence, I sent a little book to David R. Godine. How did I pick him? Browsing, I stumbled on a Godine book that called my name. And as I was reading that strange and wonderful book, Salar the Salmon, and I thought that if David R. Godine liked this book, he would like mine. And he did.
I still think it’s a grand way for a writer to find a press. Whose books do you love? It’s also a good way for readers to escape the list of “pushed” books. Find a book you like at a small press or midsize house? Perhaps you might like more of their books.
Next up is a look at Beth Adams and Phoenica Publishing. Afterward, I’ll whip down South to get warm and talk to Philip Lee Williams and learn how and why he turned away from public speaking and New York publishers to a more retired life and association with the university press. Among my friends in the small press world, nobody is more experienced than poet, novelist, and bookseller Corey Mesler. In an upcoming post, he’ll talk about what’s good and bad about smaller publishers, both from the point of view of a writer and of a bookshop owner. The internet has altered the situation for many who are nimble enough to take advantage of it. One who exemplifies nimbleness and ability to adapt to change is poet Dave Bonta, and I’ll ask him a few questions. Somewhere along the way we’ll talk to literary advisor Carole Sargent and Gary-the-out-of-the-box marketer who was so active and interesting in the no. 11 comment thread. (Thanks, Gary!) He is going to talk about luck, or how nothing is luck. If we are lucky (if we ask nicely or maybe hound him), he may talk some time about marketing. And there will be other voices--more poets and writers--as well. No doubt there are surprises ahead and many rooms in The House of Words.