I should never eat tiramisu at ten in the evening. Sleep eluded me until 2.30 am, and then I was up again at 6 am. I am not a happy bunny. Thankfully, I have Literary Cabaret reportage to keep me busy until my brain decides to take a nap again.
For the last few nights, Literary Cabaret with Angela Meyer has been the hap at the MWF Festival Club. Each night, Meyer interviewed a selection of SPUNC members. For those of you who don’t know what SPUNC is, the acronym stands for ‘Small Press Underground Networking Community’, and has nothing to do with Samantha Jones from Sex and the City.
Last night, Angela Meyer interviewed founders and editors of Page Seventeen, Vignette Press, Sketch, Tactile Books, and Ford Street Publishing. It was an informative session for emerging writers, a kind of ‘first date’ with SPUNC members. Each publisher/journal briefly explained what their journal was about, where they were going, and some basic tips for unsolicited writers, and I’ve typed up my notes below:
Page Seventeen is an annual journal of stories and poetry, and its seventh issue will be launched in early November. The name of the journal, coincidentally, was coined by co-founder Kathryn Duncan’s four-year-old daughter. Its editor Tiggy Johnson is interested in publishing new (as well as established) writers. She finds much satisfaction in ‘discovering’ new writers such as David McLaren, and loves their enthusiasm: ‘one guy…his email came back [after getting accepted]…you could just read the excitement in it.’ Tips for aspiring writers? READ THE GUIDELINES. If the work falls outside of the guidelines, please send a querying email before submitting the MS.
Vignette Press publishes Mooks, which are book-magazine hybrids with content that is a little bit more varied than one’s average literary magazine. It also publishes Minishots, which contain one short story. Mooks so far include the Sex Mook and the Death Mook. Death Mook editor Dion Kagan has had freelance work published in various places; the Mook has been his first editorial stint. Of the seventy pitches that Vignette Press receive, around twenty pitches are accepted, and of the hundred creative submissions received, about forty get published.
Sketch is an annual literary and art journal. Its inaugural issue was published last year. With a strong web presence, it draws international, as well as local, submissions. Favourite journals of literary editor Nicole Taylor include Overland and Granta. Plans for the future? Nicole Taylor hopes to publish a couple of themed once-off anthologies and turn Sketch into a quarterly journal.
Tactile Books aim to ‘capture the senses’ with quality content, and quality print and design. For instance, its YA fantasy novel, The Whorl and the Pallin by Ian Nichols, is a hardback with a cover that unfolds into a colour map. Tactile Books also publishes literary journal Indigo.
Ford Street Publishing is a children’s book publisher with national distribution and publishes writers such as Dianne Bates, Justin D’Ath, etc. Why should writers support small press publishers? Ford Street Publishing give all of its authors A-list treatment, and takes risks on good manuscripts that are not always easily marketable.