To continue our celebration of March being Small Press Month we shares some thoughts from Kriscinda Lee Everitt, founder of Despumation Press.
Give a brief overview of what you publish.
This is a little difficult, because we’ve only really just started. We began with a journal (Despumation) of short fiction and poetry based on, or inspired by, heavy metal songs and themes. We are currently gearing up to put out longer works, novellas and novels. We’ll be looking for metal-related MSs, but also non-metal literary MSs. Once we see how that goes, we’ll probably open up to more genre writing.
What inspired you to go into publishing?
I didn’t want to teach. And those are the two options presented to you in grad school—teach or edit. Upon reaching that decision, I then realized that I really liked working with the manuscripts of others. I get no kicks from workshopping, but I like working one-on-one, developing a piece, etc. Soon, the idea of facilitating the works of others became as satisfying as facilitating my own, and so here I am.
Your favorite thing about publishing is?
I don’t like getting hopeless manuscripts, but I don’t like getting perfect ones either. I like receiving a manuscript that is very, very good, but needs a little work, because my favorite thing is to work with the author in perfecting that manuscript. I like taking things apart and putting them back together, making connections where the elements were present but needed to be drawn together. I like finding the things the author clearly knows are there and wants to include but, perhaps, was unsure how to present it and to what degree to the reader. And, of course, I like straightening out awkward, clunky prose—trying to do so without losing the author’s tone and/or style. It’s a challenge and it’s very satisfying.
What book do you wish you had published?
I wish I had been the acquisitions editor for any of the seventy-plus US publishers who rejected Tristan Egolf’s Lord of the Barnyard: Killing the Fatted Calf and Arming the Aware in the Cornbelt back in 1998. I would have taken it, run away, and started my own press with it. I might have only published that book, over and over, with different covers, forever.
Why do you think the small press is important?
The love of writing, the love of prestige, and the love of money are all present to varying degrees throughout the publishing industry, from micro presses like mine to the big monsters. In my opinion, the best place to flourish for the most important love in the process—the love of writing—is with the small press. It’s more intimate in terms of the publisher-writer relationship, and frankly, no one’s getting rich here. So, best forget about all that and just love what you do, both editors and writers.
Talk about one goal you have for your press/publication.
To generate just enough revenue to sustain itself on a small scale. Right now, everything is out of my pocket, which is decidedly unsustainable and that can be limiting. So, yeah, just to generate enough to put out a couple or few great books a year. That’d be swell.
Which upcoming title are you most excited for this year?
That would be The Healing Monsters, due out next month. It is a benefit anthology I am co-editing with Shawn Macomber created initially to help out with the medical costs for writer Dustin LaValley and editor Katherine Ludwig. The world, unfortunately, lost Katherine in January, and so that half of the profits will be shifted to a fund for her surviving son.
It’s a combination of genre and literary, and a goodly amount of love for extreme music. Every time I step back and just have a look at the TOC, I think, “Really? Sweet.” I’ve tried to pull a handful of names for the purpose of this answer, just to give an idea, but of thirty amazing contributors, it’s impossible. It’s going to be incredible, it’s going to be huge (well over 400 pages), and it’s all for the two righteous causes of two righteous creators.