Models of publishing in the Poetrysphere are the topic of the moment, and friends of Spooky Girlfriend Press (at the bottom of this post) have offered some public explanations on how their presses operate. So, I thought we would do likewise.*
Like Shanna Compton writes in relation to Bloof, we, mainly means me, Nathan Logan. I, too, use the plural pronoun because this is more indicative of the spirit of the press. I am the sole financier and I make all the "business" decisions, with varying degrees of input from the poets I publish. The input of the poets in as many aspects of the press as possible is what makes the press a "collective," and above all, I want the poets who choose to publish their work through Spooky Girlfriend to be happy with the results.
Spooky Girlfriend is the smallest of the small, certainly smaller than Bloof, No Tell, tons of others, but as a part of the independent publishing community, it is important to have all the facts available for anyone to see. And because we are a community the voices of even the tiniest presses should have a little something to add to the subject.
SPOOKY GIRLFRIEND PRESS PUBLISHING MODEL FAQ
1. How are books selected for publication?
Chapbooks are selected by Nathan Logan and submission is by solicitation only. There are no other readers involved in the selection process. There are two important aspects that the press focuses upon: 1. the poets solicited have strong ties to the Midwest (live there, go to school there, from there, etc.) and 2. an emphasis is put on publishing the work of women. Women continue to be underrepresented in publication--it is a goal of Spooky Girlfriend Press to point to this inequality and to, in our small way, attempt to rectify it.
2. How many books does Spooky Girlfriend publish each year?
0-2. The press was designed as a micropress and we intend to keep it that way. It is our goal not to go a year without publishing a chapbook.
Spooky Girlfriend will not run a backlog of pending submissions. We solicit and work with authors one at a time, so as much attention as possible can be placed on the chapbook. On occasion there might be overlap, but all-consuming work will never happen on two chapbooks at once.
3. Are authors asked to contribute financially to the publication of their books?
4. Does Spooky Girlfriend run a contest?
5. If the authors do not contribute financially, in what ways does the press function as collective?
Book publication with Spooky Girlfriend is collaborative--the author is actively involved in decisions about design, publicity, etc. Our editorial process is also intimately collaborative, with the author being responsible for the final decisions about editorial suggestions coming from the press (though we try to be as hands off as possible) and the author's chosen readers. Each poet retains ownership of the book, not just in the sense of copyright, but in the sense of its artistic integrity. Spooky Girlfriend aims to have the finished book reflect, as closely as possible, the author's conception of it.
We at the press do our best to actively participate in publicity efforts. Social media bulletins, review copies, author reading tours, all help in getting the poetry to the masses.
6. Are poets paid for their books, and if so, how?
Yes. Well, kind of.
Because Spooky Girlfriend is not in a position to offer financial compensation, the author of any collection is entitled to as many copies of her work as she would like. In addition, artists who collaborative on the cover art pieces for chapbooks are entitled to copies.
Additionally, all authors published by Spooky Girlfriend have an open invitation to come and read at the press's current home, in Denton, TX. Transportation from and back to the airport would be provided and a reading would be arranged. The press would be more than happy to buy an author some authentic Texas barbeque, or other food of choice. We would also insist on buying some lovely wine.
7. How are Spooky Girlfriend chapbooks promoted, once they are published?
Any and every way we can think of and afford. Strategies, in addition to the author readings, include review solicitations in online media, announcements to our Facebook lists, participation in bookfairs and conferences (in the future), etc.
From what authors have told us, the best way to sell books appears to be via events. These are expensive though, and at the current time, Spooky Girlfriend has no way of organizing regional or national chapbook tours. Since Spooky Girlfriend cannot pay authors, they at least get a little compensation when selling their chapbooks at readings.
8. Is Spooky Girlfriend a nonprofit organization?
9. So then, does Spooky Girlfriend earn a profit?
So far, no.
Because we now use POD technology and distribution (just like major presses have been doing for their backlists for more than a decade) our latest books never go out of print, unless by mutual agreement of the author and the press. GOOD POETRY DOES NOT EXPIRE. This is another reason we keep the press small, so that the attention each book deserves and needs, over this inifinite window of time, is not spread too thin.
10. If I have more questions, can you answer them?
Yes. Email us at spookyboyfriend [at] gmail [dot] com.
Notes / More:
*Shanna devised an excellent template for talking about Bloof, so I borrowed it for talking about Spooky Girlfriend.
Shanna Compton on Bloof Books
Reb Livingston on No Tell Books