Lessons from Indie Poetry Presses at Publishers Weekly

From the article:

With minimal staffs and tiny budgets, independent poetry presses exist on the margins of the publishing world. But that fringe existence allows them to take wild risks and create new models for publishing and promotions. PW spoke with six emerging presses to get an insight into their nimble thinking, and to see which of their strategies might work for mainstream publishers.

Publish for Love: Argos Books

Argos Books was founded in 2010 by three poet/translators—E.C. Belli, Iris Cushing, and Elizabeth Clark Wessel—who met in Columbia University’s M.F.A. Program. They starting making chapbooks by hand and now publish full-length collections, with an eye toward unusual voices, projects that don’t fit into traditional genre modes, women writers, and works in translation.

The three editors only publish books that they love, and they take on projects without thinking of the financial bottom line. “Our connections to each book are aesthetic and emotional and intellectual,” Clark Wessel says. But, she adds, they do make money on the books. Not every book pays for itself, but most books do, and those pay for the ones that don’t.

Amber Atiya’s The Fierce Bums of Doo-Wop, a hand-bound chapbook, is a recent critical and commercial success that sold out its print run quickly. Similar to a number of Argos poets, Atiya came with a small following already in place, which was a huge benefit and gave Argos something to build on. “When she reads,” Clark Wessel says, “everyone in the room becomes a big fan.”