Submission Guidelines: “Books are by solicitation only. The journal opens sporadically for submissions and is always listed on the website when open and when closed.”
Interview with Paula Bomer, Publisher and Editor
How did Sententia Books start?
I used to contribute to HTMLGIANT under a pseudonym and so was introduced and then became a part of this vibrant small press community. It was a pretty diverse group, which made it fun and sometimes tumultuous, and I was asked to finance and partner on a small press. I had mixed feelings about it, but then when I moved on to run Sententia on my own, I decided to stick to it and started to enjoy it, even if it’s a lot of work and no glory. Well, there is glory in it—so I take that back sort of—because I’m super proud of the beautiful books and the great writing I’ve been fortunate to publish. Adam Robinson from Publishing Genius Press is my amazing designer and business manager and he makes everything possible and beautiful. It’s also been wonderful to hone my editing skills.
Tell us a bit about Sententia. What are your influences, your aesthetic, your mission?
Like Jackie Corley at Word Riot Press, who published my first collection, I decided to not only publish things that are of my own aesthetic, but embrace a broader view toward writing. Hence the mission statement of sorts on the Sententia website, “Publishing traditional and experimental books and a journal.”
Can you give us a preview of what’s current and/or forthcoming from your catalog, as well as what you’re hoping to publish in the future?
We published a brilliant chapbook of poetry by Andrea Kneeland called The Translations with gorgeous illustrations by John Dermot Woods. And very recently, Sententia 6, the Journal, came out with work from a mix of well known and not well known writers, including essays by Jayne Anne Phillips, Minna Proctor and Thelma Adams, a folio of fiction by Kate Braverman (I’m on a mission to reinvigorate her career) with an introduction by Meg Tuite, and poetry by Bill Yarrow—and more. The cover is from a painting by Robert Stark, from Nantucket. It’s just so much goodness. I’m so proud of it.
What about small/independent press publishing is particularly exciting to you right now?
I realize this comparison has been made for some time, but it continues to remind me of the DIY indie music scene of the early 1990s. It’s just a wild, mixed bag of people making books and writing stuff. And some of it’s brilliant.
How do you cope? There’s been a lot of conversation lately about charging reading fees, printing costs, rising book costs, who should pay for what, etc. Do you have any opinions on this, and would you be willing to share any insights about the numbers at Sententia Books?
Sententia Books is entirely a labor of love, although I’ve smartened up and start off with smaller print runs now because to do another print run if necessary is easy and quick. I would never charge or pay a reading fee—I did when I was younger and dumb, pay them, that is—and regarding the numbers, I strive to break even. I run this press out of my kitchen. As far as who should pay for what, I don’t really think about that. Whatever people want to do. Pay, not pay, as the writer or the publisher—to each his/her own. No one is making any money. For those who do, mind you—writers or publishers—fucking great! I mean it. That’s great. But, it’s rare.