Publishers Panel and Marketplace
by Beth Filson
Straw Dog Writers Guild gathered eight area publishers at the Northampton Center for the Arts. Michael Favala Goldman was the MC for the event. Regional publishers provided insight into what they do, and the writers they support in Western Mass (and beyond). After a brief Q&A, attendees swarmed the tables where each press showcased some of their poets and authors. This networking opportunity was a chance for writers to line up the publisher that might be a right fit for their work.
These small, indie publishers often give area writers their first introduction to the publishing world, elevating their work to new readers everywhere. Each press meets the unique needs of Western Mass writers and the arts community.
Here’s a down and dirty rundown of the presses represented at the Publishers Panel but make sure to investigate further. Websites are included.
- Attack Bear Press was co-founded by Alexandra Woolner and Jason Montgomery. Their mission is to “transform the written word into art activism as they support local artists and writers.” Contact Attack Bear Press at www.Attackbearpress.com about how to get involved. Be ready to roll up your sleeves, creatively! You might also want to look out for their Poetry Vending Machines and other cultural arts events.
- Gallery of Readers: Founded by Carol Edelstein and Robin Barber, the press emerged out of the enthusiasm of a small group of writers who had met for years. The press is home to The Gallery of Readers Anthology, an accompaniment to its reading series. You can hear recordings of past Gallery of Readers featured authors and learn about the submission process at www.galleryofreaders.org.
- Haley’s Publishing is led by Marcia Gagliardi, long time resident of Athol. Marcia is editor and publisher of Uniquely Quabbin, a magazine featuring writers, photographers, and artists from the greater Quabbin area. Haley’s offers a wide variety of services from manuscript development to editing. Be aware: Marcia proudly wields her Chicago Manual of Style, but she’s very approachable! Please visit at haleysbooks.com for more.
- Human Error Publishing: Aside from the press which was founded by Paul Richmond, Beat Poet Laureate, HEP organizes and produces annual and monthly poetry and spoken word events wherever there’s a group of people, and showcases poets at festivals all over the region. And, says Paul, “I rebel at the idea of someone else deciding whether your book is worthy.” Check out the website at humanerrorpublishing.com.
- Levellers Press was created in large part due to the consolidation of major publishing houses which created huge barriers for new and emerging writers. “Too many worthy manuscripts weren’t getting published.” said Randy Zucco, “We saw the need and said ‘why not?’ Levellers also houses Off the Common Books, their self-publishing arm. See levellerspress.com.
- Meat for Tea, founded by Elizabeth MacDuffie and Alexandra Wagman with design direction from Mark Alan Miller is “a non-academic affiliated magazine committed to recognizing and featuring the work of the artists, writers, and musicians living in western Massachusetts and beyond.” The MFT magazine features regional and international writers. MFT Press is a recent addition and has provided opportunities to emerging writers, some of whom come late in their careers to writing and publishing. Want to celebrate literature, art and music in the valley? Don’t miss Meat for Tea’s grand parties and review-themed Cirques. Go to meatfortea.com for more.
- Perugia Press, founded by Susan Kan and directed by editor, Rebecca Olander, publishes women-identified poets through its yearly contest. Perugia hosts the Emerging BIWOC Spotlight featuring a BIWOC poet each month on their website. Go to Perugia.org.
- Slate Roof Press, under the leadership of Janet MacFadyen, is “committed to publishing regional poets as well as poetry nationwide in alternate years of our chapbook contest.” The press is known for its beautifully designed, limited edition, art-quality chapbooks. www.slateroofpress.com.