March is the month to celebrate all things small press. From the organization’s website: “Now in its 11th year, this is a nationwide promotion highlighting the valuable work produced by independent publishers. An annual celebration of the independent spirit of small publishers, Small Press Month is an effort to showcase the diverse, unique, and often most significant voices being published today. This year’s slogan is Celebrate Great Writing.”
Even though this is an American organization, I’ve decided to call March Small Press Month here at Eclectic Closet. I have a number of small press books on my shelves awaiting review and I will highlight as many of these as I can over the next few weeks, beginning with The Exquisite by Laird Hunt (Coffee House Press, September 1, 2006). I also plan to highlight the spring/summer releases of some Small Press publishers. So check back and discover some great writing!
To get you in the mood, here is some small press trivia:
Did You Know?
1. Almost 80% of all books published in 2005 were by “small’ independent presses?
2. Frazier’s Cold Mountain, originally published by Grove Atlantic, was at the top of the New York Times Bestseller List for 61 weeks, and was the recipient of multiple awards before becoming a blockbuster hit movie.
3. Edward St. Aubyn’s Mother’s Milk, published by Open City Books, was nominated for the prestigious Man Booker Prize.
4. In January 2007, Kitty Burns Florey’s Sister Bernadette’s Barking Dog: The Quirky History and Lost Art of Diagramming Sentences , from Melville House Press, made the Los Angeles Times Bestseller List.
5. Kurt Vonnegut, who was the face for National Small Press Month in 2006, hit number 5 on the bestseller lists with A Man Without a Country, published by Seven Stories Press, an independent publisher who has had more than a few titles in the New York Times Bestseller List over the last few years.
6. Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary was its own small publisher.
7. Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass–were self-reviewed!
8. James Joyce’s Ulysses was published by a small bookstore-owned company, Shakespeare & Company.
9. Virgina Woolf’s husband Leonard ran a press, Hogarth Press, that published Virginia’s great work, and others’.
10. Anais Nin’s first novels were self-published.
11. Call It Sleep by Henry Roth, considered a classic novel of immigrants in America was financed by believers in the author originally in the 1930s and then supported and financed by a very small press at the start of its revival in 1960.
12. Harper & Brothers’ first book was a small printing of Seneca.
13. Simon & Schuster started by publishing the new newspaper craze of the 1920s—crossword puzzles—echoed today by independent publisher Overlook, which published the first book in America on the new newspaper craze of the new century—Sudoku.
“As water to flowers…Independent Publishing to Democracy.” – Alice Walker