Small Press Shoutout: SALT Publishing!

Back again with another small press shoutout! This week we hop across the pond to look at Salt Publishing, which for 15 years has been independently dedicated to creating “A New British Fiction Movement.”

Why are they called Salt? Maybe it’s an acronym? Maybe it’s a tribute to the number-one spice? Meat preservation? The taste of sea air? I don’t know. I just know that their books are beautiful, their hearts are in the right place, and they put out 30 books a year, including some fantastic fiction.

But they’re more than just fiction! Salt also puts out poetry, anthologies, poetry for children/teens, literary autobiography, plays, and on and on. Smart books for smart people!

Today, Salt is a privately-owned British company, with editors in the USA, Australia and the UK; a trade publishing business, proudly independent, committed to producing important, beautiful, readable, literary works.

Here’s another exciting development: Proxima, their crime imprint. You may recognize the world-beating classic, Mrs. Darcy versus the Aliens.

These are good, smart folks with a great website, great books, and making a great contribution to the world of letters. Check out their list today!

Previous Small Press Shoutouts:

Small Press Shoutout: Other Press!

Back again with another small press shoutout! This week we look at Other Press, which focuses on authors with a “passion to discover the limits of knowledge and the imagination.” Oh boy! The editors of Other Press come with some gilded resumes indeed. Here’s an excerpt from Publisher Judith Gurewitch’s bio:

Born in Canada and raised in Belgium, she holds a law degree from Brussels University as well as a master’s of law from Columbia University and a PhD in sociology from Brandeis University. She now resides in Cambridge, MA. Judith is also a Lacanian trained psychoanalyst, practicing part time. She loves to edit, pitch, cook, walk, and swim.

Pitch? As in pitch books? Baseballs? With a Lacanian trained psychoanalyst, one never knows.

Associate publisher Paul Kozlowski is a bit more unassuming:

Bookman, birdman, living under blue skies on borrowed time.

Madame Knowledge, meet Mr. Imagination. Now let’s go find some limits.

Okay, okay, this is all heady stuff – but do they deliver? Indeed they do! Putting out about 25 titles a year, Other Press has a growing list of incredible authors, including Olga Grjasnawa, Jan-Phillip Sendker, and Minae Mizumura. This is the real deal, folks. And one need only read Helen Richard’s blogged tour of independent bookstores to get a sense of their love for books. Bravo, Other Press!

Previous Small Press Shoutouts:

The Race: New Formats Available

The Race: A Novella is expanding its reach to new territories and now… new formats! I’ve chosen Smashwords as the distributor for all non-Amazon stores.

Smashwords will eventually distribute The Race into online stores like Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple, and several others, including libraries and subscription services. I’ll post all those links when they’re available. For now, you can choose your format from the book’s Smashwords page. Epub, mobi (Kindle), pdf, rtf, lrf, pdb and txt are all available. You can also elect to download samples of the book in various formats or read the book online. 

Many thanks to Mark Coker and the people at Smashwords for helping to get The Race: A Novella into as many readers’ hands as possible. As an author once said to me, “I hope my book makes us both a lot of money.” (Of course, the author was Michael Lewis, and the book did make him a lot of money, though it didn’t do much for me.)

Onward and upward!

Ten Bold Predictions for 2014: An Analysis

Digital Book World has a list of ten bold predictions for ebooks digital publishing in 2014. Some of them delve into brave new world territory, but for those of us who have been around for a while, who can remember the days before you could carry a device in your pocket that can make phone calls, take pictures, and immediately provide the name of the closest Five Guys as well as the actor who played Joey Pants in the Sopranos – well, every year seems like a brave new world.

While the article is somewhat pitched toward folks in the industry who make a living off of these sorts of developments (or who are afraid of losing their jobs), I find myself drawn, as always, to the impact on readers and writers, the only two communities I really care about. (Sorry, investors and publishers and agents and distributors!)  And in that spirit, it’s prediction number six that interests me the most:

6. More publishers will endorse the subscription ebook model by doing business with Oyster, Scribd and other similar services.

Continue reading

Small Press Shoutout: The Permanent Press!

I’ve decided to return to one of the blog’s most popular features, the Small Press Shoutout. This week we take a look at The Permanent Press, which has been cranking out titles since 1978.  Started by husband-and-wife team Martin and Judith Shepard, their catalog includes several award-winning mysteries and the undersung Icelandic novelist Halldor Laxness (a personal favorite of mine).

The name of the press refers to their policy of keeping their entire backlog in print, which I’m guessing is easier now than it was twenty-five years ago.

These guys love fiction. I found an interesting discussion of this on Mark’s Cockeyed Pessimist blog, which recently addressed the question of why they publish novels “95% of the time”:

My belief is that in any culture, at any age, the vast majority of the great books that are handed down, decade after decade and century after century are fiction. Following  Homer’s The Iliad and his sequel, The Odyssey, came the great novelists of  yesteryear: Dostoyevsky, Chekov, Gogol, Dickens, Chaucer, Jane Austin, Fitzgerald, Boccaccio, Umberto Eco, Dante, Italo Calvino, Rabelais, Hugo, Stendahl, Balzac, Halldor Laxness, Cervantes, Márquez, Kundera, Mark Twain, Faulkner, Hemmingway, Dos Passos, Poe…the list is endless. So if one’s interest lies in discovering novelists who have the talent to write exceptional fiction, why not cultivate and publish them and hope some of them will make a contribution to our culture—which surely needs a lift, given the great decline in fiction in general and the astronomical rise in non-fiction, which includes celebrity bios and countless “How-To” books—how to lose weight, make money, find partners, find serenity, find God, evaluate collectables, write screenplays, prevent aging… this list is endless, as well, and unlikely to survive the test of time.

Bravo! Fiction is important, fiction is necessary, fiction is a testament to what civilization and the human endeavor is all about. Fiction represents – fiction is – us at our finest! Could there be a better attitude for a publisher to have?

Well… let’s look at Judith’s: Continue reading

Small Press Shout-Outs: Last Call for the Holidays!

With a week left until the Great Opening of The Presents Day, just a very quick reminder of all the holiday gift ideas we’ve had here lately:

And finally: check out Jacke’s suggestion for the greatest gift idea ever for a writer.

Carry on, people. Happy shopping!

Small Press Shout-Out: Soho Press!

Today’s small press shout-out is the fabulous Soho Press! Soho has been pumping out quality books from New York City since 1986. They specialize in literary fiction and young adult books and I’m sure they’re all great, but… ah, there’s no point in denying it, I’m most drawn to Soho Crime, their international-themed crime fiction imprint.   

Soho Press has yet another gorgeous website, with one of the coolest features I’ve seen: a world map showing the settings of their crime fiction. Who’s the hardest person on your holiday list to shop for? Do they like traveling? Mysteries and crime fiction? If so, I recommend clicking on the country they love and/or have always dreamed of visiting, and buying them a few crackling good crime stories. 

Even cooler, if that’s possible, is Soho’s Passport to Crime bundle. For seventy-five bucks (sixty-five for e-books) you get 12 first-in-series paperbacks.  Again, a perfect holiday gift idea for anyone who might enjoy exploring new authors and new worlds. Soho also has a gift-ready subscription plan.

There are small presses and then there are small presses. Soho Press, with its long history of successful publishing, probably deserves something more than a shout-out. Maybe a plaque in the Small Press Hall of Fame?