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Category Archives: Thoughts

Our First Anniversary!

By | Learning How to Be a Publisher, Thoughts | No Comments
Poetry Entre Rios Books Seattle

A year ago today, we received our first check!

I keep saying being a book publisher is the second hardest thing I’ve tried— right after marriage. But even that would be close. Does it get easier? I hope so! At least, I am looking into project management software to create fancy charts that might help me feel better about the many interlocking pieces. My creative brain really struggles with some of the essential pieces of being a publisher: budgets, time lines, cash flow, cash, budgets, spreadsheets, budgets, forecasting, cash.

Here’s what we’ve accomplished:

  • We have published three beautiful books, all very unique. We’re heading into the sweet spot we want to be at with poetry in collaboration.
  • I’m getting sharper on book design issues, paper choices and understanding budgets, but we’re definitely still not even close to getting our books at a decent production cost.
  • We’ve had a few stellar events and are looking forward to hosting some more!
  • We’ve lined up an exciting group of project for 2017 and am learning why lead times are so long…we’re actually pretty sure we have our 2018 work lined up now.


  • Here’s what we’ve not even gotten close to:

  • We’re still building a community around our books and press. This is going to be key to success.
  • We’re still lacking a distributor and are not ready to go national, whatever that is going to mean.
  • I’m still learning confidence to say, “Yes, we publish poetry and BUY a book.” The making of books easy. The being in love with your collaborators and believing strongly in their work, no problem. The walking up to complete strangers or, even worse, booksellers and asking them to carry our books, OH DREAD AND FEAR BEYOND BELIEF!


  • People keep asking me, Do you enjoy being a book publisher? and the truth is, I am not sure. What I enjoy is having my brain taxed every single day with something new to learn. I love working with so many talented people. I like bringing that vision to life. But with so many difficult pieces, I can’t say “joy” is the emotion I feel. A steely resolve seems somehow a more fitting emotion for the upcoming year. That, and a bit of pride.

    Why We Publish Collaborations

    By | Thoughts | No Comments

    Fifteen years ago, as a young(er) poet, I got it into my head that I could not longer read my poems aloud unless I had a gigantic video behind me. This was all well and good, and slowly with some support from 911 Media Arts Center, I had some help making this a reality. I also, as they say, painted myself into a box, because I did not know how to to collaborate, raise money, or promote this kind of work.

    Poetry is the collaboration with the world. While much of its difficult work might take place within the romanticized solitude of the author’s desk, the ability to get the work read, heard and most importantly, to occupy our shared sphere of being human, requires collaboration.

    Of course, there are many well-known combinations of poets, painters and musicians responding to each other’s work, not to mention that most stubborn collaboration, the translation!  It is impossible to imagine the New York School without the painters, the Harlem Renaissance without the musicians, the Romantics without the radical press! Even our most lonely of poets, Emily Dickinson had her windows and letter campaigns.

    Why is the market place so determined to present work solo. Why do we feel the need to believe that the creativity of the poet or the artist happens in isolation rather than inherently as part of a community? A community that exists not only between people expressing themselves creatively in response to the world, but the community that supports the individual artist with the mundane. Sometimes it’s nice for someone else to put on the coffee when there’s writing to be done!

    In our mind, the ability to collaborate is truly the unsung skill of all successful poets and artists.

    As poetry press, we have the good fortune to have our financial goal be,  “Let’s just not lose a lot of money.” (see our statement on Financial Transparency here). With that goal, we’re able to put out work in formats that financially make no sense for a press that has to pay staff salaries and support a bigger marketing efforts and other complications. It means we put out fewer books, but that we can put out books that give our poets and artists more creative freedom and the opportunity to very publicly engage with each other. It means that we can work closely with local presses to run the work, rather than sending the books to China to get printed. It means that we have a responsibility to put out work that otherwise would be too difficult to find a home for in the market as it exists.