Today’s guest post comes to us from Phoebe Wray, long-time supporter of small press.
Phoebe was a Richard King Mellon fellow at Yale and has taught at USC, Bradford College, and The Boston Conservatory. She worked for ten years as an international environmentalist, with a specialty in educational material on marine mammals and endangered species.
She served on the Advisory Board and the Motherboard of Broad Universe, the super congenial and hard-working non-profit which supports and encourages women who write science fiction, fantasy, horror and spec fic.
Her goals: teach, write, read, love, enjoy every single day.
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I see the blooming Small Press marketplace as the natural evolution of book making for the 21st century and beyond. Because it isn’t driven by the same financial exigencies as the multi-title, mega-print publishers, it has something for everyone. Perhaps the democratization of the printed word has finally arrived. Not everywhere on the planet, of course, but can that really be too far behind (barring the Apocalypse)?
My work is all in small press, beautifully realized, in print and e-book. Beautiful covers, careful editing, realized by people who care and are excited about the final product, who are invested in it intellectually and financially. Oh sure, I’ve seen some shabby covers and print jobs here and there, but they’ve become the exception. Heck, I remember reading terrific stories that someone released in mimeograph a few decades ago. (I edited a newspaper for my 5th grade class that was published using that stinky purple stuff—I forget what it’s called—that was impossible to wash off your hands. THAT was small press, too.)
If there is a down-side to the avalanche of the “printed” word it’s the inevitable unevenness that entails. So what? Don’t like it? Don’t buy it. Will the virtual book replace the comforting sweetness of a well-made hardback? Not likely. It doesn’t need to.
I agree with that good author Cat Rambo, who commented here on these pages earlier: Small Press publishers dare to take chances on new ideas, new authors. They tend to welcome new voices and are more gender-blind than the big houses. That leads me to conclude that they aren’t going away anytime soon, that they will likely increase their output, and make an already dizzying array of subjects even bigger.
Taking a chance on new and/or off-beat writers is, in my opinion, something to cheer about.