Welcome back to the Small Press Spotlight, where I feature the work of the many quality small presses out there. This week, I’d like to introduce you to Wings Press, a a great little press dedicated to multicultural works of literature. I recently had the opportunity to ask Bryce from Wings Press a few questions about the work he's doing there and here’s what he had to say….
Please provide a brief background or summary of your press and its mission:
Here’s the “mission statement” that runs in the back of every Wings Press title:
Wings Press was founded in 1975 by Joanie Whitebird and Joseph F. Lomax, both deceased, as “an informal association of artists and cultural mythologists dedicated to the preservation of the literature of the nation of Texas.” Publisher, editor and designer since 1995, Bryce Milligan is honored to carry on and expand that mission to include the finest in American writing—meaning all of the Americas, without commercial considerations clouding the choice to publish or not to publish.
Wings Press attempts to produce multicultural books, chapbooks, CDs, DVDs and broadsides that, we hope, enlighten the human spirit and enliven the mind. Everyone ever associated with Wings has been or is a writer, and we know well that writing is a trans- formational art form capable of changing the world, primarily by allowing us to glimpse something of each other’s souls. Good writing is innovative, insightful, and interesting. But most of all it is honest.
Likewise, Wings Press is committed to treating the planet itself as a partner. Thus the press uses as much recycled material as possible, from the paper on which the books are printed to the boxes in which they are shipped.
As Robert Dana wrote in Against the Grain, “Small press publishing is personal publishing. In essence, it’s a matter of personal vision, personal taste and courage, and personal friendships.” Welcome to our world.
How many books do you publish per year, on average?
Wings Press averages about a dozen books a year, ranging from chapbooks to hardbacks.
This year (2010) we are publishing our entire backlist — over 120 titles — as ebooks, available from our distributor, Independent Publishers Group, Amazon.com, BN.com, and other ebook retailers.
What’s the best way to keep up-to-date on Wings Press and its happenings?
Wings Press is a one-person operation. I do consider each query and each ms submitted, but it takes time. I used to have an open submission policy, but it got to the point that I was receiving up to 100 submissions a week, so now I only read new mss during the month of February. It is undoubtedly troglodytic of me, but I refuse to involve myself in social networks. Wings exists to publish fine literature. I leave it to my authors to do the online networking. I maintain a website that updates each book’s page with new reviews as they appear, lists important events, and provides author email contact information.
Are there any current or forthcoming titles that you would like to mention that you feel particularly represent the best of your press and its work?
Wings Press is committed to multicultural literature. Thus many of our authors are Latina and Latino, Black, and Native American, along with a fair share of Anglos and others. Our best selling author is Carmen Tafolla. Being located in Texas, I have a number of Texans on the list, but Wings is not considered a “regional” press. In that light, one of our most important authors is John Howard Griffin (1920-1980). This January is the 50th anniversary of his American classic, Black Like Me. Wings is publishing a 50th anniversary hardback edition of Black Like Me, along with ebook editions of the entire Griffin canon. There are BBC and PBS documentaries in production about Griffin and Black Like Me, so I anticipate that 2011 will see a good deal of attention to Wings and this project.
Thanks a million to Bryce for taking the time to share a little about his small press. Be sure to check out Black Like Me and other Wings Press titles at www.wingspress.com.