We are a small independent publishing company devoted to publishing wonderful authors in beautiful books.
It’s about the stories
Stories structure our understanding of life. Through the telling of stories, we learn about ourselves…and each other. And what better stories do we share than those in books?
It’s about the voices
In these disruptive times in book publishing, we focus on helping bring forth unique, eloquent, and powerful storytellers we feel will fascinate, intrigue, delight, and provoke thought in discriminating readers who seek and expect not just a good yarn but a tale told well.
It’s about the experience
Books are our most intimate friends. The books we love we hold close, even closer than our lovers. Couples might share a bed and never share a book. Why we love a particular book doesn’t matter. Having to explain it can often leave us without words to convey our feelings. When we as readers find someone else who loves a book we love, we have found a kindred spirit, someone who shares what might be our most secret love. Friends often don’t share books, but friendships are often born out of a connection over a book.
It’s about independent saying machines
When publishing exploded with Gutenberg, the power to share ideas and stories spread to the greater public.
No longer requiring talented scribes adept at brush and (usually) Latin, books now could be created once and reproduced in great numbers at low cost. The need for and interest in literacy blossomed—not just for the creators, but for the general public eager to experience these new ideas and stories. Over the centuries, as technology improved, this power to publish spread even further. How many thousands upon thousands of publishers were in the world in the 19th century? Small towns had their own newspapers. Thought leaders published their own broadsides. Esteemed authors published their own works.
We lost some of that in the 20th century as mass distribution drove consolidation. Printing presses grew into gigantic contraptions requiring millions of dollars (billions in today’s dollars, adjusted for inflation) to acquire and operate—and entire buildings to house. This opened the doors to—indeed, necessitated—larger scale investments in content. Lots of content. And for discerning readers, quality content. Great newspapers and magazines were born. Publishing houses numbered in the thousands, publishing novels, scholarly works, and popular nonfiction. People made careers in serving this need for quality—editors, proofreaders, professional artists, typesetters, and of course authors.
Demand drove disruption in production and distribution. Soon books were appearing in drugstores and train stations. Mass-market paperbacks—dime novels—flourished, disrupting the presumptive hardcover monopoly but bringing many more books within reach of the masses. Great authors emerged—some writing hundreds of books over their careers, some producing only a small handful of masterpieces. Genre publishing emerged—mystery novels, pulp fiction, science fiction, fantasy, romance, self-help, how-to guides, cookbooks—establishing the categories we still use today.
But consolidation brought a cost.
With decisions on what got published being made by (mostly) white (mostly) men (mostly) of a certain class of upbringing and (mostly) educated at a handful of select colleges, the list of who got published tended to lack diversity. Though half or more of the readership, women faced higher hurdles to get published. People of color were largely shut out. Even in newly flourishing genres ostensibly embracing the weird, such as science fiction, the barriers to entry for anyone who wasn’t a straight white man were not insignificant. As the century progressed, pressures to let those voices be heard increased, but the financial imperatives for consolidation and larger-scale production ruled the day. The blockbuster novel became a star-making vehicle for certain authors who could appeal to nearly everyone—including the cliché “housewife in Omaha.” Major publishers began merging and acquiring smaller companies. The blockbuster hits grew in number and scale of success, becoming major profit centers. The incentives were clear.
Meanwhile, some marginalized voices deemed too controversial, too offensive, or simply not with the right kind of broad appeal valiantly published on their own, physically pasting together typed pages and images and using mimeographs to crank out copies, or even reproducing content via Ditto machines—resulting in low-quality reproductions that were sufficiently legible for hungry audiences ignored by the owners of the big machines. Some of these independent endeavors found enough financial backing, subscriptions, and/or success in advertisement placements to produce somewhat professional-looking publications using smaller scale printing presses. A few grew into major independent journals serving particular cities or areas of interest. The need for corporate communications grew as well. But the barriers to entry just for production of these publications were still high. And they were even higher in reaching their audiences. The necessary self-distribution entailed manual delivery to amenable venues, person-to-person hand-offs, and for anything larger scale, direct mail—which itself led to incidents of censorship by the U.S. Postal Service. Sustaining such endeavors required tenacity, talent, not a small degree of luck, and quite often the absence of any need to earn a living at it.
Then all of a sudden everything changed.
New publishing technology arrived. The Xerox machine became a surprise bestseller. The desktop computer arrived in the 1980s. Dot-matrix, daisy wheel, inkjet, and laser printers appeared in stores. Desktop computer software for writing and layout began to emerge. Suddenly people could produce and print in numbers newsletters, poetry chapbooks, manifestos—and corporations could create in-house the annual report, the investment prospectus, training documents, etc. without a printing press.
And then the new distribution technology arrived. The internet. Now independent publishers (even if they didn’t think of themselves as “publishers”) could also independently distribute their publications via email, community internet services like AOL and Compuserve, personal websites, blogs, community sites, social networks. And for books, via ebooks and print-on-demand book printer/binders.
With great democratization and diversity comes a wide range of quality. The low barriers to entry for production and distribution don’t negate the need for content that meets at least a minimum standard of quality. Editing and proofreading. Layout and design.
We are a small company bootstrapping our own way. One book at a time, we build our company. One book at a time, we focus on quality. One book at a time, we offer stories for readers to enjoy.