There was a day when editors were patient and gracious, willing to nurture promising authors and bestow upon them both their counsel and the luxury of time–time to develop their craft, to find their voice, to flex their artistic muscle. The result was often a great book, or the “discovery” of a phenomenal new author.
While we suffer no illusions regarding our own much lesser talents, insights, or connections, we do applaud the example, as well as the spirit, of those lovers of well-honed books who are now so few and exceedingly far between.
The world is a faster place. Money, especially in this post-recessionary age, is hard to come by. Yet, if anything, meaningful communication, the sharing of ideas of value, is more important than ever. Fortunately, the demise of the old world of publishing has been countered by the birth, by the eruption of small presses and independent publishers.
We live in a do-it-yourself era that has in many ways decentralized the power of yesterday’s monoliths and gatekeepers. And as so many of the new generation of publishers has a very personal vested interest in their product, we should be hopeful in regards to the future of books—or ebooks—or audio books—or whatever form of written or spoken communication is around the corner.
Lofty words, perhaps, from a tiny publisher with but a single non-fiction title to its credit. But sharing a philosophy is never bad. For this publisher it’s our declaration of motivation and mission. Our next book might also be non-fiction, perhaps even less important to the world as a whole than a guide for beer and wine drinkers.
But like A Beer Drinker’s Guide To Knowing And Enjoying Fine Wine, it will be a work that reflects its author’s love of his or her subject. And that’s the key. Be it a guide to this or that, a how-to, or a when-we-were-there, or a novel of insight or imagination, what we hope all our works will convey is the passion or the expertise or the excitement of their creator.
Perhaps we’ll find a Hemingway or an Algren or Bukowski, a Danticat or a Zadie Smith in our future catalog, along with yet-to-be standards of non-fiction beauty and informational excellence. But whatever pearls we may discover, we sit now at the foot of a great pile of oysters, anxious to begin shucking. With optimism.