This is part of a series of interviews taking place with small press publishers. This interview series will be partially published online and partially in print, as a part of a nonfiction book to demystify publishing, published in January 2020 and written by Isabelle Kenyon. The following is an extract from an interview with Laura Eppinger, managing editor and Levis Keltner, editor-in-chief.
What advice would you give someone interested in starting their own press?
First, consider why you need to start your own press rather than adding your voice and talents to an existing press you adore that could thrive with you.
What does a typical book marketing plan look like for you?
Our marketing plan grows with each release. There aren’t a lot of venues to celebrate chapbook releases, so it’s been exciting to build literary relationships to make that bandwidth. Currently, each chapbook is released roughly a year after acceptance. That gives us time to get ARCs out for blurbs, and those promo materials to potential reviewers, interviewers, and bookstores so that by pre-order, buzz about the chapbook drives sales.
What do you take into consideration when considering manuscripts and how do you compile your season of publishing (if this is curated in any way?)
We prioritise emerging and underrepresented voices and hope our chapbooks propel writers in their careers.
We take the guidelines for the chapbook prizes very seriously. For example, for the Anzaldúa Poetry Prize, the panellists and judge are given a set of guidelines, designed largely by poet, educator, and activist Nico Amador, with feedback from Newfound volunteers. When shortlisting manuscripts for the prize, panellists are asked to consider: Does it explore the theme of place? Does the work honour the legacy of Anzaldúa as a groundbreaking and revolutionary cultural theorist, writing from a marginalized experience as a feminist, Chicana, lesbian activist? Is the manuscript in conversation with political forces, not simply in their naming, but in a new kind of engagement? How might each author benefit from the prize money, chapbook publication, and subsequent media attention?
The Newfound Prose Prize is judged similarly. For our open call for poetry chapbooks, we only accept work by writers that have not yet published a full-length book.
This interview is part of 'Small Press Publishing: The Dos and Don'ts' released January 2020. You can pre-order the book here.