Guest Post: Society of Midland Authors Talks Chicago Indie Publishing

CBR_Logo2Chicago has a thriving scene of small companies publishing books. Just check out all of the tables featuring these publishers at events like the Printers Row Lit Fest or the Chicago Book Expo.

Four of the area’s leading book publishers—Victor David Giron of Curbside Splendor, Emily Victorson of Allium Press, Sharon Woodhouse of Everything Goes Media and Ian Morris of Fifth Star Press—will talk about their craft and their business in a Society of Midland Authors panel discussion on Tuesday, February 11, at the Cliff Dwellers Club, 200 S. Michigan Ave., 22nd floor, Chicago.

Admission is free, and the event is open to the public, with no reservations required. A social hour, with complimentary snacks and a cash bar, begins at 6 p.m., with the discussion starting at 7 p.m.2869_183662100485_2900751_n

The Society of Midland Authors was founded almost a century ago—in 1915—and the group continues today with more than 300 members in 12 Midwestern states. The society gives out annual awards for the region’s best books, and it also holds public literary events at the Cliff Dwellers Club and other venues.

The companies taking part in the February 11 discussion include Curbside Splendor, which was recently praised by NewCity for the “Best splash made by a local press in the last year.” Known as “a hotspot for emerging talents,” Curbside Splendor publishes literary fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and art that “celebrate the delicate point where gritty urban life and art intersect.” Titles include Meaty: Essays by Samantha Irby, Zero Fade by Chris L. Terry, and Let Go and Go On and On by Tim Kinsella.

The Society of Midland Authors’ newsletter, Literary License, asked Curbside Splendor’s Giron how a new small publisher can carve out a niche. “By having a sound mission statement, sticking to it, and operating like a big publisher would,” he said. “Meaning, if you’re going to be taken seriously, then you need to adhere to production and publication schedules, and produce work that is of high quality from a design and editing perspective, and be true to what you’re branding yourself as.”

Allium Press of Chicago was founded in 2009 as a small, independent press and publishes literary fiction, historical fiction, mysteries, thrillers, and young adult fiction, all with a Chicago connection. Recent titles include Des Plaines River Anthology, Tim Chapman’s Bright and Yellow, Hard and Cold, and Barbara Garland Polikoff’s Her Mother’s Secret.

KP-Cover-front-198x300Everything Goes Media has three imprints: Lake Claremont Press (publishing nonfiction books about Chicago for 20 years, including the upcoming second edition of Graveyards of Chicago by Ursula Bielski and Matt Hucke), Everything Goes Media (gift, niche, and lifestyle nonfiction), and S. Woodhouse Books (a new line of thought-provoking nonfiction that will publish its first book, For the Kingdom and the Power: The Big Money Swindle That Spread Hate Across America by Dale W. Laackman, this spring).

Fifth Star Press is an independent, not-for-profit publishing house devoted to Chicago’s publishing past, present, and future. Recent books include The City’s Maw:  A Henry Blake Fuller Reader and a reissue of MacKinlay Kantor’s 1928 Chicago novel Diversey.

For more information on the Society of Midland Authors, visit http://www.midlandauthors.com.

—Robert Loerzel, vice president, Society of Midland Authors

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