This past weekend I was at the Oregon Coast for a small workshop sponsored by Oregon Writers Colony. I had the pleasure of meeting Laura Stanfill, the publisher of Forest Avenue Press, a Portland-based small press focusing on literary and “quiet” fiction. This was my introduction to the challenges and opportunities facing small presses.
The challenge publishers face isn’t in just selling books, it’s in reaching the readers, and connecting the books to the readers. I came home inspired to identify ways to support small publishers. Yes, buying books is a good start.
More is needed, specifically a far greater awareness that the mega-publishers and distributors that dominate mainstream publishing are also the gatekeepers to what we read. When we limit our reading to books purchased on behemoth on-line websites, we’re working against those like Laura who seek to publish regional writers – this while working on a shoestring budget. I came away with tremendous admiration for Laura’s vigor and vision.