Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Contemporary Press

I’ll be spotlighting small presses in the days/weeks to come (since nothing much news-wise is going on with my writing). I feel the small presses are the future of publishing, a compromise between POD and the large houses, who are just looking for the next Potter or DaVinci Code, or riding out whatever the current trend happens to be (currently memoir & chick lit). I’m not bashing the large houses; I understand that they are in the business to make money. If you owned a donut shop, you’d stock up on jelly donuts and glazed crullers, and keep away from the zucchini-filled ones.

But still.

There has to be a compromise, an alternative. Some men still do read. According to it is estimated “that 7,000-plus new publishers come into being every year. A conservative estimate of the small independents across the country: 50,000.” And “Barnes and Noble notes that purchases from the top 10 publishers declined to 46% from the 74% figure it had been three years back. The shift has been to independents, small publishers and university presses.” So if you’re a writer you can get your work out there, then work hard to promote it and sell it. Unless you’re looking for a 6-figure deal and a chance of ditching your day job, the small presses are the way to go. Or, better yet, why not start your own?

The large houses seem to lack daring and leadership. The only one who seems to have a daring bone in their body is Macmillan New Writing, who are set to launch the first wave of titles by new authors this April. I wish them luck.

The first small press I want to spotlight is called Contemporary Press. They are based in Brooklyn, NY, and sport the catchy phrase “Fuck Literature!” on their website. From their site:

“Contemporary Press is many things. It's modern, yet classic. It's world-weary, yet particularly American in its outlook. Most of all, it's an attempt to bring books back to a point where you'd want to read them. And you know who you are.

“When did it become so damn difficult to find a book with a plot that isn't a memoir, isn't written from the perspective of an 18th-century waif and isn't festooned with footnotes that denote nothing but the post-modern cleverness of the author?”

Check them out, buy their books, and submit your work.