Jennifer Barnes of Raw Dog Screaming Press [here] was another publisher I first contacted several years ago. Our original interview appeared in THE BROOKLYN RAIL [here]. Recently, Barnes and I did a follow-up.
1. How are things in the publishing industry at the moment? Has it recovered from the economic crisis of 2008? Or is a depressed market the new normal?I think the publishing industry has been changed and is unlikely to go back to pre-recession ways. However, I don’t think this is just because of the recession but also has to do with the rise of ebooks and ease of self-publishing. Lately the industry feels like the Wild West. There’s lots of opportunities but lots of ways to take a bullet too.2. For several years now, articles have appeared claiming e-books have passed a tipping point, and are now an established part of selling books. Does this jibe with your own experience as a publisher? Or is small press literary publishing still based on print?I suspect it partly depends on your subject matter and audience but very few publishers can afford to ignore ebooks. We have certainly seen an increase in ebook sales but they are still only a smaller percentage of our sales, maybe 25%
3. How about funding from arts councils, patrons, and so forth? Is it keeping up?
I don’t have any experience with this. RDSP has never had any financial support other than the book sales. However, crowd-funding (raising money from a network of people) does seem to be on the rise for all types of artistic endeavors including publishing.4. RDSP publishes at least one academic/experimental writer, Harlan Wilson. Does RDSP have good outreach with academics generally in terms of getting on reading lists and so forth? How much do academics do to reach out to small presses? Any suggestions on other things they could do? And what do small presses do to reach out to academe?We do have quite a few authors that are professors and they will often use their contacts to get attention for their books. Academia is not as monolithic at it might seem so has limited use for fiction. However, we just put out a writing textbook under our non-fiction imprint, Guide Dog Books and that has had overwhelming response with lots of request from professors for desk copies to review for possible use in class.5. What sorts of spoken word evenings and authors’ events is RDSP involved in?
Coming up on May 25 the Morgantown Poets is hosting an RDSP book party with authors Michael Arnzen and Jason Jack Miller. We’re also in the planning stages for a book tour this summer for the release of Miller’s novel Hellbender. There is a very unique project, also coming this summer, called Phantasmagoria that one of our authors, Leland Pitts-Gonzalez, is putting together. It will feature readings from Brian Evenson and Grace Krilanovich but also performance art as well. It’s still in the planning stages but will probably be at KGB Bar in NYC July or August.6. What projects are you excited about?
I’m excited about working with Jason Jack Miller to release his Murder Ballads and Whiskey series and also Leland Pitts-Gonzalez’s debut novel The Blood Poetry. I’m also looking forward to next year when we’ll be celebrating Raw Dog Screaming Press’s 10 year anniversary. We’re making plans now to completely revamp the way things are done at RDSP. Things have changed so much in publishing that the old models just don’t work any more. In a way, it will be like starting over, except this time we’ll know so much more about publishing.