NYCIP has been celebrating the hard-work and talent of our publisher members by choosing and interviewing a small or indie press each month. We are pleased to announce Black Lawrence Press as our Publisher Spotlight for March 2010!
Diane Goettel, the Executive Editor of Black Lawrence Press, graciously responded to our interview, giving us an insider’s look at one of our favorite presses.
Q: How long has your press been active?
Since 2003. But we become more and more active each year by expanding our list, increasing the number of titles that we publish, and beginning new initiatives. For example, Black Lawrence Press will begin publishing a broadside series this year.
Q: What prompted the start of Black Lawrence Press?
Black Lawrence Press was founded by the editors of The Adirondack Review to give a home to wonderful manuscripts that had been overlooked or orphaned by larger publishing houses. Although Black Lawrence Press and The Adirondack Review are no longer affiliated, BLP still publishes manuscripts that are both fantastic and risky.
Q: Tell us the story behind the name Black Lawrence Press.
Black Lawrence Press was founded in upstate New York in the land between two rivers, the Black River and the beautiful St. Lawrence River, hence the name Black Lawrence Press.
Q: What type of work do you publish? Is it of a specific genre?
We specialize in contemporary literature and nonfiction and our publications run the gamut within those categories. We publish creative nonfiction titles, novels, short story collections, poetry collections, and chapbooks. We are also open to memoirs although we do not currently have any on our list.
Q: Can you tell us a little about your writing contests?
Absolutely! We run two annual contests, The Hudson Prize and The St. Lawrence Book Award and one semi-annual contest, The Black River Chapbook Competition. The St. Lawrence Book Award is for a first full-length collection of short stories or poems. The Hudson Prize is also for a collection of short fiction or poetry, but is open to authors at all stages in their publishing careers. All Black Lawrence Press contest winners are awarded cash prizes and publication. The chapbook competitions are also open to both fiction and poetry submissions. Information about all of our contests is available at blacklawrence.com/contests.html.
Q: What is the hardest thing about running a small press?
The hardest thing is that we’ve got a small staff and lots of work. Running a small press is truly a labor of love, but it is absolutely worth it.
Q: And the most fulfilling?
Calling an author and telling them that their book has found a home.
Q: If you could grant one wish to the publishing world, what would it be?
A decent salary for all emerging writers. I think that it would be so much easier for young, talented writers to focus on their work and advance in their careers if they didn’t have to constantly worry about being able to afford rent and groceries.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to tell our readers?
Black Lawrence Press is an imprint of Dzanc Books, a non-profit publishing company that not only publishes amazing works of fiction and nonfiction, but as part of its charitable arm, offers free creative writing courses and workshops for kids, particularly in low-income school districts. This means that we are part of a whole family of great presses and magazines including OV Books, Keyhole, Monkeybicycle, and Absinthe.