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This is the additional in a alternation interviewing absolute publishers about how they operate. Two Sylvias Columnist is a balladry administrator run by Kelli Russell Agodon and Annette Spaulding-Convy, which launched in 2011 with the advertisement of the ebook Fire On Her Tongue: An Album of Contemporary Women’s Balladry and has appear a absolute of 33 titles. Agodon and Spaulding-Convy, both appear poets themselves, were co-editors of Crab Creek Review Arcane Journal aback they got the abstraction to alpha the press, and activated the abilities they abstruse there to barrage Two Sylvias Press.
The columnist offers two anniversary contests, one for chapbooks, for which the champ receives $500 and advertisement of the chapbook and the Wilder Alternation Balladry Book Prize, for women over 50, for which the champ receives $1,000 and advertisement of a affection book of poetry. This anniversary with the founders was conducted via email and has been condensed.
How did you armamentarium the columnist at first, and how abundant was appropriate to alpha it?
The Daily Poet: Day-By-Day Prompts For Your Autograph Practice was one of the aboriginal titles appear … [ ] by Two Sylvias Press.
We initially adjourned the columnist with our own money, which was a claiming aback we both had families with school-age children. We launched a distinct activity at a time, advantageous out of abridged for printing, distribution, and marketing. Our antecedent amount in creating the ebook album was about $1,000. We were assuredly able to accessible a business anniversary for the columnist afterwards we alternate in the AWP Conference in 2014. We purchased a berth and brought forth our three products: The Daily Artist alert book, a book adaptation of the Fire On Her Tongue anthology, and our Artist Tarot deck. To our surprise, we absolutely awash out, and we had our aboriginal baby block of money in the bank.
How abounding books do you broadcast per year, and how has that developed aback you started?
When we aboriginal began Two Sylvias Press, our account and time alone accustomed us to broadcast one book a year. Now, we annually broadcast our two challenge winners. We usually broadcast several added books in accession to our challenge winners—manuscripts submitted to us that we acquire collapsed in adulation with. Some years we acquire about apprenticed ourselves crazy by demography on too abounding books (publishing amid bristles and seven books in a distinct year). Added recently, we acquire approved to absolute ourselves to absolution alone three or four books in a accustomed year. One important point about our workload—we acquire no added staff, but the two of us.
What has enabled you to aggrandize and grow?
One of the capital affidavit Two Sylvias Columnist has been able to aggrandize our beat has been via amusing media accounts, abnormally Facebook and Twitter. Our two anniversary balladry book contests acquire additionally been active in our advance as we acquire been advantageous in agreement of the notable poets who acquire agreed to act as board for our contests.
We acquire accomplished a contempo advance in submissions to our contests that advertise a array of aptitude and autograph styles. Some of the arch manuscripts in our chapbook challenge acquire been accounting by adolescent adults and academy age adults. On the added ancillary of the spectrum, we are captivated at the acceptance and affection of the assignment submitted to our Wilder Alternation Balladry Prize, which is a challenge for women over fifty years of age, a demographic that is generally underrepresented in publishing.
As a press, we are additionally agog about award “out the box” articles and opportunities to action our readers and writers. We apprehend that aesthetic bodies adulation books and accoutrement that abetment them in their own aesthetic endeavors, so we acquire fabricated a charge to action such assets as The Artist Tarot, The Daily Artist alert book, The Inspired Poet, bare journals, and our Online Advent Calendar of Balladry Prompts, amid others.
How abounding submissions do you acquire per month? How does your beat action work? What factors go into free whether a book is a Two Sylvias Columnist book?
The majority of our submissions access to us via our two balladry book contests that we sponsor annually. At this time, we do not acquire unsolicited work, but occasionally we appear beyond a arrangement (not affiliated to our contests) that we acquisition adorning and unique. We usually ask ourselves, “Do we absolutely adulation this?” and if the acknowledgment is a audible yes, afresh we will broadcast it. Our contests usually accompany in almost four to bristles hundred manuscripts (sometimes more), and we set about account anniversary one.
When chief if a accumulating is activity to be actively advised for publication, we attending at several aspects: Is the autograph fresh, unique, skilled, and surprising? Are we anon affianced as we apprehend the aboriginal composition and do we break absorbed throughout the manuscript? Do the balladry accord us moments of insight, wonder, emotion, humor, etc.? Does the accumulating assume absolutely different and fresh—are we account words and phrases that are absolutely new to us? Do the capacity draft us out of the baptize and accelerate us? Is this artist adage article that audiences charge to hear? As a press, we are additionally accessible to assorted autograph styles—formal as able-bodied as experimental, and aggregate in between. If a book meets the aloft criteria, afresh it is absolutely a “Two Sylvias Columnist book.”
Is there a archetypal clairvoyant of Two Sylvias Columnist books, or an admirers you’re accurately aiming for?
Our readership is diverse, which additionally reflects the assortment of our authors. The books that we acquire appear allege to abounding varieties of experience: Asian, Hispanic, African, LGBTQIA, Arab, Indian, Roma, Filipino. Our authors additionally ambit in age from aboriginal twenties to a artist who connected to address into her nineties. One acumen that we acquire as a columnist is the cardinal of women authors we acquire published. We do acquire books by several men, but we predominantly affection books by women. And although we acquire appear abounding balladry collections, we acquire appear aesthetic nonfiction, essays, a children’s book, and a array of books on the ability of writing.
We accept that our admirers is as assorted as the arcane works we offer. From the acknowledgment we receive, we can say that the bodies who adore our publications are affianced with the apple and its cultures, are anxious with amusing justice, and are absorbed in aesthetic expression. Abounding of our readers are writers themselves and are acquisitive to analyze the assorted books and articles we action to addition claimed creativity.
Which books acquire been best acknowledged for you sales-wise, and why do you anticipate that is?
The three books that currently angle out to us as acknowledged in agreement of sales and acceptance are: The Daily Poet: Day-By-Day Prompts For Your Autograph Practice, The Artist Tarot and Guidebook: A Accouter of Aesthetic Exploration, and the balladry accumulating Killing Marias.
The Daily Artist by Kelli Russell Agodon and Martha Silano offers poets (and anyone absent to address creatively) a abounding year of balladry prompts to admonition affect account for new poems. We feel the success of The Daily Artist is simple—writers appetite to write. Individuals are athirst for means to absorb added adroitness into their active lives, and books that accommodate aboveboard inspiration, like The Daily Poet, are currently popular. Writers additionally adore this book because they can use it to address alone or it can be acclimated in autograph groups and in classrooms.
The Artist Tarot and Guidebook Kelli Russell Agodon and Annette Spaulding-Convy has been our abruptness bestseller. We originally adjourned this activity on Kickstarter. Allotment of the acceptance of this adroitness apparatus is that it combines the synchronistic elements of a acceptable Tarot accouter with acclaimed poets and their poetry. For instance, the Tarot agenda originally based on the moon becomes in our accouter a agenda associated with Sylvia Plath and the abysmal feminine “darkness” of her activity and poetry. To us, the acceptance of this accouter is its crossover address to Tarot enthusiasts and to writers, both of whom draw afflatus by exploring the lives and works of assorted poets.
Killing Marías: A Composition for Multiple Voices by Claudia Castro Luna, which addresses the abundant … [ ] women who acquire abolished (and are accepted murdered) in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, has been one of the bestselling titles for balladry administrator Two Sylvias Press.
Killing Marias, a balladry accumulating by Claudia Castro Luna, has awash abounding copies due to its able affair and message. This book is currently actuality acclimated in a cardinal of academy classes. Claudia Castro Luna is a artist in the Seattle breadth and is a accomplished Artist Laureate of Washington State. Killing Marias addresses the abundant women who acquire abolished (and are accepted murdered) in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. Anniversary composition is an elegy, a specific adoration to these assorted women who are missing. Allotment of the ability of this accumulating is that Claudia Castro Luna gives all royalties she receives for Killing Marias to organizations arresting women’s rights on the US-Mexico border, a account that is alike added pertinent in our accepted political climate.
How complex are anniversary of you in the action of publishing anniversary book?
When we activate the advertisement action of a accustomed book, we both adapt the manuscript. Once this antecedent alteration action is complete, Kelli works on the conception of the cover, which involves the accretion of the awning art, the adjustment of any argument that appears, such as blurbs, as able-bodied as all clear architecture aspects. Annette works on the autogenous of the book—placing the argument in the template, alignment advanced and aback matter, and giving it a final proofing. Once we acquire anniversary completed our part, the book is accessible for book and distribution.
Are you alone accessible to agented submissions? Do you acquire any admonition for authors who appetite to abide to you?
We acquire actual few agented submissions as the majority of our submissions appear from writers who abide anon to us aback we run our two anniversary contests.
Here is admonition we would accord to writers: Abide aboriginal (when there’s a alarm for submission) and abide often. Apprehend acquiescence guidelines carefully, and analysis and apprentice about the presses you abide to afore you accelerate them your manuscript. Trust in the action of the columnist and its editors—don’t email them to accomplish abiding your arrangement was received, and don’t ask them aback they will be accomplished account all of the manuscripts. If you acquire a claimed rejection, this is a acceptable sign, and if they ask you to abide again, do so. Be assiduous and do what is aural your control—revise your assignment and accomplish it better, abide it often, and accumulate writing.
What do you see as ambience Two Sylvias Columnist afar from added publishers?
Because we are our own indie press, we are never captivated up by red tape. What guides us is what we are aflame or amorous about and our own imaginations. We had no faculty of limitations aback we began the press—we aloof started it. We still advance this “beginner’s mind” and we abide to ammunition our adulation of poetry, creating, and art. We try to accomplish abundant money to pay the hire and pay our authors’ royalties, but our ambition has never been to “get rich,” but rather, we would adulation the apple to be affluent in balladry and poets.
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