The Other March Madness - Page 2
John McClure, president of Signalman Publishing, says, “small publishers can and do release titles that offer the reader unique insight on a topic without the filter of commercial success blocking it.”
Yet, small presses can be profitable. Only after corporate publishers repeatedly rejected Paul Harding’s Tinkers, did the new, unheard of Bellvue Literary Press (named after the New York hospital) publish the novel. Then Tinkers picked up a 2010 Pulitizer Prize.
McClure recalls that My Utmost for His Highest- a popular book of devotions –was first published in 1936 by a small press in Ohio. Now it’s the utmost meditation seller on Amazon. That’s right – number one in its category! And its 1930s small press — Barbour Publishing — has grown along with the book’s increasing sales, releasing 150 new titles and 1000 stock titles a year these days.
“A small press is essentially the same as a large independent or university press, except that... well, it's small, “ says Brian Clements, founder of Firewheel Editions, a non-profit press in Newtown, CT. Clements copyedits Firewheel’s selections, designs them, and puts thought into his books’ marketability and distribution. Firewheel has seven editions of Sentence: A Journal of Prose Poetics to its credit as well as its latest venture - Kugelmass:A Journal of Literary Humor -which Clements produces together with editor David Holub. Prose poetry isn’t going to attract most Dan Brown, Stephen King, or Suzanne Collins fans. Kugelmass can’t be expected to compete with The Onion. Yet, when Firewheel Editions stays true to its prose poetry mission in Sentence, and, at the same time, takes Kugelmass’ funniness seriously, readers are offered greater choice.
That said, March is Small Press Month shouldn’t evoke the muscle of March Madness as in NCAA , but a quieter strength in the world of literature.