Why There Are Words, which formed as a monthly Sausalito-based reading series in January 2010 (which I wrote about at the time and have several times since), and continues to thrive, is launching a publishing arm this year and is currently open for submissions. The deadline to submit is September 15.
Founder Peg Alford Pursell has an interview about the press up at Litstack—below is an excerpt:
An independent press shares certain aims with mainstream presses, but advantageously, is not subject to many of the commercial restraints. Mainstream publishers, owned by a handful of large corporations, practice a model based on imitation (similarity to what’s been successful before), celebrity (name recognition to drive sales), volume (the number of books sold). Commercial publishers often can’t commit the required patience to nurture a book for reasons of money and the bottom line. I’ve had a great deal of experience with writers who’ve published with a mainstream publisher, a great book, a work of literature, only to have the book die a quiet little death, obscured by the hype of a competing book, and often a competing book that turned out to be not so big after all.
What small presses can do best is to discover the literary outliers. Unlike conglomerates, or agents for that matter, indie presses see a book not in terms of how many copies it will sell, but it terms of how good it is, its literary value. With WTAW Press, as it’s been with the literary reading series Why There Are Words, quality is the only criterion.
I sent Peg a follow-up and she answered:
I think the main thing I want others to know about WTAW Press is that we want to publish books that feel like words the authors HAD to write, that move us, that make us think, see in new ways; that the purpose of the Press isn’t to publish what is tried and true, “prettily-crafted,” nor is it to publish writer friends—hence the commitment to read all submissions blindly. I want to make a home for those voices and books that aren’t getting out there and do everything I can to champion them.
Got a prose manuscript? Consider sending it on!