We’re pleased to finally announce a publication date for our saudade anthology!
This project’s been gestating for several months now. We started late last year, at a time when we didn’t have a lot in the pipeline; it seemed a good way to get in touch with some new authors, put out new and exciting work from our past publishees, and bring some talented local author friends into the fold, at least for a while.
I’m thrilled by this project in no small part because I know firsthand how frustrating it can be to NOT have an outlet. When I first got involved in publishing on a very small scale, in 2010, I’d finished a few book-length manuscripts, and even self-published one, but that major publishing deal continued to elude me. What’s worse, I wasn’t having much luck with journals and story contests and what-not. I’d been spending the bulk of my time writing in isolation, hunched over the laptop in the coffee shop, and I simply hadn’t taken the time to meet the people and build the relationships that would send my words someplace other than the slush pile. The result: no clear outlet for anything I’d written.
Fortunately, it turned out my ex-girlfriend’s sister Liz was starting a little literary newspaper called the deadline. (No capitalization, always with a period, always underlined--which I can only attempt to do here by adding a hyperlink, which actually doesn't go to the paper because Liz, bless her heart, insisted on keeping it completely offline. To this day, I have no idea whether that was self-limiting self-sabotage, or a quirky and brilliant way to differentiate ourselves from the online masses.) I went to the launch party for the first issue, and submitted a poem for the next one, and before long, she'd graciously invited me to be a co-editor.
It's a wonderful feeling to be selected, especially as an author, especially nowadays; there’s such an abundance of material out there that when someone reads your writing and actually pays attention, it feels like a minor miracle. I can’t control whether or not I get that feeling; no matter how many revisions and tweaks I do, there’s no surefire way to grab someone else’s attention at a moment when they’re receptive. But thanks to a wonderful two years working on Liz’s paper, I learned that I can pay attention and give that feeling, and that’s possibly even more rewarding.
I did, belatedly, start meeting local authors through the deadline. And I realized it was time to start my own publishing venture, not just to get my own manuscripts out there, but to give people what had eluded me—that feeling of being chosen. For as much as the online prognosticators tell us to “build your brand,” unless you’re a household name, the only people likely to buy your work based on your name alone are the people in your household. But publishing under a brand tells everyone, “Hey, it’s OK to read this. It’s not some typo-riddled and unedited tract that someone printed at Kinko’s and started handing out on State Street. It’s been selected.”
So much of the fun in publishing, and in this anthology, comes from that: from actually reading submissions from strangers and telling them that their efforts have not been in vain, that in fact they’ve produced something worthwhile. It is truly a treat to get to meet people on the page, with their words and their stories untainted by any personal prejudices or past relationships, and I’m pleased that so many of these works came in that way.
Then there are the local authors we’ve admired from afar…
There’s a scene in Citizen Kane where title character looks longingly in a rival newspaper’s window at a photograph of their newsroom staff; flash forward, and the same newswriters are sitting for a recreation of that group portrait—only now, they’re all in Kane’s employ. “Six years ago, I looked at the picture of the world’s greatest newspapermen. I felt like a kid in front of a candy store,” Kane says. “Well tonight, six years later, I got my candy, all of it.” In a silly small-press sort of way, I feel like Charles Foster Kane today. Granted, my author friends have (and will continue to) put their work out elsewhere as well. But thanks to this anthology, many of the authors I’ve met on the pages of other publishers’ books are now at least part-time Tortoises.
Of course, none of this would make me entirely happy if the authors we’d published in the past weren’t eager to do business with us again. And that’s another point of pride in this collection—the chance to showcase new and exciting work from old friends.
So without further ado, here are the authors we’ve chosen for the saudade anthology:
Joseph G. Peterson
We’re shooting for a launch party on Saturday, June 25th, here in Chicago. There’s plenty more to be done between now and then—I’ve learned over the past few years that, for as hard as it is to put out quality work, that effort pales in comparison to the work of marketing and finding an audience! (And we need to decide on a venue for our launch.) But a long road becomes dreary if you don’t stop once in a while to celebrate your progress, so it is time for a small pat on the back for ourselves, and a huge public thanks to everyone who’s joined us on the journey.