On my first day of orientation at Emerson College for my Masters in Publishing I was asked to turn to a person sitting next to me and tell them what I wanted to do with my life. I was expected to spill (in a succinct manner) all of my publishing goals and ambitions to a stranger. Lucky for me, I met Amanda Diehl, a blogger for Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, Book Riot and all around publishing inspiration (her blog is here: Diary of a Young Semi-Professional ) and to my surprise I had an answer for her. I wanted to work with international literature. Literature in translation. I wanted to be constantly challenged and inspired by deserving and unique literature. I wanted to work with the kinds of presses that do this work. And that means indies and even more specifically it usually means non-profits.
In an industry where most entry-level devotees and interns are looking for the New York City publishing scene, a job at a Big Five press, and the next Hemingway of Fitzgerald to fit into their back pocket I had decided to do the complete opposite. Mainly, because that publishing industry scenario is hardly the norm (actually, it’s bullshit) and because doesn’t working with foreign offices, translators, and presses like Open Letter, New Directions, and Beacon Press sound way more exciting?
I would also argue that these presses do fundamentally important work, The promotion of unique, thought provoking literature, whether it’s international, translated or not, encourages our society to think outside of the narrow spaces brought to us by mainstream media and contemporary popular literature. Indie presses, non-profit presses, they do just that.
They bring something different to the page.
I couldn’t say it better than this and I encourage anyone that’s interested to read the full article “I Want You To Start Your Own Publishing House.” I haven’t been able to get it out of my head.
There is a real value today in treating readers not merely as consumers but as agents of cultural change, who now have the chance to become deeply invested in your publishing mission as a business as well as a philosophical enterprise. It is in the best interest of every independent publisher to cultivate an engaged readership that will make a lasting impact on our culture in the long run.”