Editor’s Desk – Week of May 6, 2016

May 6, 2016

Dear Intrepid Readers,

Let’s talk books, shall we? I mean…we’re a publisher, and you’re a reader, so it stands to reason that we’d love to talk about books, and you want to hear about books, right? Exactly. We can also talk about coffee, or tea, if you’re more like Lise. But books—books are the whole reason we got into this business, after all.

...though the PoBiz is very glamorous. Just look at that top hat!
…though the PoBiz is very glamorous. Just look at that top hat!

Books are one of the first ways we ever learn to exercise our imagination—as we become independent readers, we learn to navigate the interior landscapes of our minds through the page, and we learn to make connections between ourselves and the outside world. We learn empathy for others by “sitting shotgun” with characters as we move through their stories. We learn about ethics, values, and challenging that which we hold as immovable truth. We learn about shades of gray (no, not THOSE “Shades of Grey”, though I’m sure some readers definitely learned a few things…) We learn that the world is constantly in motion, constantly changing, and the people inside that world are, like us, complicated. We learn that many things can be true at once, and that heroes and villains are often determined by who’s telling the story. We learn how to align ourselves with “the bad guy” and discover that even the hero of a story can be fallible. We learn that villains have motivations which seem just to them in the context of their story. We learn to love worlds we’ve never seen as intimately as know and love our own. We experience joy, despair, triumph, and closure through the books we read. These characters help us discover ourselves, connect with our emotions, find connection in the world around us, understand places and cultures different from our own, and most of all, to find meaning. We all have books that we count as transformative—and the thing about writing (and publishing) is that no one knows which books will resonate with readers. Which is the truly delicious thing—every book that we publish has the potential to give that gift to a reader. That’s the real reason we started Zoetic Press. To be facilitators of what Amanda Palmer calls “the gift in motion.” (Even if you’re not a huge fan of Amanda Palmer, The Art of Asking is a great read/ TED Talk. If you can’t stand her, but love the idea, try Brené Brown’s work instead.) We started writing (because remember, every single member of the Zoetic Press staff is a working writer, too!) because we wanted to write ourselves into more worlds than just the one our bodies live in. We started publishing so we could share some of those worlds—and lives—that other writers had written into existence.

George R. R. Martin quote - A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. A man who never reads lives only one.
How many lives will you live?

This spring has been all about new beginnings for us as a press. We did a scary thing, which was step away from the publishing model on which we’d built the entirety of the press library. That was a tremendous leap of faith, and very necessary, as well. It’s allowed us to explore the question of What kind of press do we want to be now? Which is, in itself, a kind of scary question to think on. But that allowed us the flexibility to take on new associate editors, loosen up our guidelines, and really have a chance to do something different that builds on the strong base of readers, writers, and peer editors that we’ve worked so hard to cultivate over the past 2 years.


It goes without saying that rolling out our library last month was something that we’re still sort of reeling over—this is the 2nd store launch we had this year and we’ve continued updating, tweaking, and getting things right. Because we’re making books (and magazines) and we want to share them with you. And yes—we’re selling them, but this is an editor’s letter, not a commercial, and here’s the thing about the bookstore: it’s only as good as what’s for sale, and I’m here to tell you, a lot of love and labor went into everything we have for sale. We priced our books knowing that everyone’s on a budget, especially when you’re a working writer. We kept our commitment to digital literature by making our back issues of NBR and Unbound Octavo, as well as our first two poetry collections (Erin Elizabeth Smith’s The Fear of Being Found and Christopher E. Grillo’s The Six-Fold Radial Symmetry of Snow) priced reasonably and available to you in multiple formats. You can choose between PDF, to read on most computers and many devices, EPUB, or Kindle formats. The current issue of NonBinary Review (#8), Sun Tzu’s The Art of War   and Unbound Octavo are available through Amazon for Kindle readers for $1.99 and 99 cents, respectively—and each issue contains a novella’s worth of writing. Christopher E. Grillo’s The Six-Fold Radial Symmetry of Snow is also available now for Kindle. Soon, Kindle readers will be able to purchase Erin Elizabeth Smith’s The Fear of Being Found. And if you just love the feel and heft of a physical book in your hands—our transition to a traditional press includes print works, too. We have 2 anthologies, Mythmaking and Dreamspinning, as well as chapbooks of our Alphanumeric features from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz  all the way to The Art of War. The anthologies are perfect bound and contain our award nominated authors from our first 2 years of publication. The chapbooks are hand bound collections of each issues 12+ online features, finally in one collection for your reading pleasure, averaging 50+ pages, and containing between 12-18 unique works published since 2014. 

I swear that’s not my book. I don’t even LIKE books with blue covers! I DEFINITELY never heard about it on NPR.

As I do every Friday, I want to invite you to engage with us on social media—let us know how we’re doing, let us know if you’re enjoying the things we’re posting for you, tell us what you want to see more of—you know, the things social media was built for. We’re winding down the last week of the submissions for the Sherlock Holmes issue of NonBinary Review, themed on A Study in Scarlet. There’s still a week left for you to get your submissions in, and we’d love to see a last-minute wave of work to really make this issue a meaty, juicy read. We’re also open for submissions for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Anne of Green Gables, as well as rolling submissions for full-length manuscripts and Unbound Octavo story #2  —that’s right, this week, we rolled out the anchor story for issue #2 of Unbound Octavo“Stealing Valium” by DL Shirey. The reading period for the next installment is 6 weeks—so go read “Stealing Valium”, and if you’re feeling inspired, send us a story! You can connect with us in a lot of different ways—if you like your social media low-key, check out our Pinterest page, and see all the writing prompts, dream libraries, and writer memes that we’ve collected (a lot of the memes I use in editor’s letters show up on our Pinterest boards.) Our YouTube channel is getting a face-lift and will soon be updated to include book trailers, Patreon exclusives, as well as our storytellers entertaining you by reading their work to you in their own voice. Our blog Rhizomatic Ideas is also changing to adapt to the new Zoetic Press, but we’re always open for book reviews, blog pitches, and guest voices—we would love to hear your ideas, so send us a pitch. If Facebook is more your thing, connect with us on our Zoetic Press page, or for a more personal connection, engage with your favorite NonBinary Review authors (and editors) in the Zoetic Press Facebook group. If 140 characters is how you do social media, Tweet us @ZoeticPress . Every Tuesday, we’ll continue bringing you a new Alphanumeric which will remain always remain free for everyone to enjoy. We’ve also started cross posting to Tumblr, so if that’s how you prefer to read, you’ll definitely be excited to subscribe and see what’s new every week. Finally, producing all of this takes a village, so if you’d like to join ours, support the arts, and kick us a little bit of your money to if you’d like to contribute to the upkeep, maintenance and production of art at Zoetic Press, take a look at some of the membership perks we have available at our Patreon account .

Until next week,

Allie Marini
Managing Editor