Submission Guidelines: “We aren’t that formal. Our website has most contact information. Anyone can email me directly: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org. I am living in Mexico currently and have a Mexican phone. I am able to call anyone who might email me with such a request.”
Interview with Pamela Hirst, Publisher
How did Beatlick Press start?
Beatlick Press (Writers with something to say!) was begun at the deathbed of Beatlick Joe Speer, Albuquerque, NM, January 25, 2011. The three women who sat with his body waiting for the coroner that night were myself, Pamela Adams Hirst, Deborah Woodside Coy and Carol Moscrip. We segued into the press staff; Deborah and Carol became the editors and I became publisher. The origin of the press was Backpack Trekker: A 60s Flashback, the book Joe had been working on for twenty years. He lived long enough to hold the first proof in his hands and died two days later.
Tell us a bit about Beatlick Press. What are your influences, your aesthetic, your mission?
My greatest influence is Joseph Enrique Speer, born and raised, died and buried, in Albuquerque, NM. I call him the Jack Kerouac of the Southwest. “Books are angels moving between the living and the dead,” he once said. And today the press represents the progression of his influence on literature. His entire adult life, Joe gathered poems, art, all manner of literature from his friends and acquaintances, and amassed them into small magazines and chapbooks. He was a world traveler, raconteur and itinerant poet. His greatest body of work was Kameleon magazine and Beatlick News.
The press is an extension of Beatlick News Poetry & Arts Newsletter, named “a gem of the underground press” at the height of its influence. For twenty-two years Joe was editor and book reviewer, I was columnist and publisher. Keeping the name and Mission Statement, I modeled Beatlick Press after Beatlick News in an endeavor to bring Joe’s only book to the light of day.
Joe was unique and unforgettable. His guiding principle was “don’t do it for the money.” His fundamental beliefs are our Mission Statement:
Publish the deserving.
Support Art, don’t wait for Art to support you.
I believe our success is a direct outgrowth of Joe’s legacy.
My goals are simple, to keep the legacy alive and to make sure Joe is not forgotten. He was also a dedicated videographer and TV producer. He now has a good presence online. Any web search with “Beatlick Joe Speer” will bring up a universe of art, literature and video.
The thousands of chapbooks, magazines, newsletters and broadsides holding his ephemera are contained in five American universities and two libraries. However, he only wrote one book.
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?
The themes of our three Finalists named in the NM/AZ Book Awards in 2017 straddle politics, aging and immigration. Two are from our poets speak anthology, co-published with Jules’ Poetry Playhouse, Albuquerque, NM.
Edited by John Roche
“Poets Speak (while we still can) is an American series of mini-anthologies addressing the national and planetary crisis provoked by the election of 11/8/16. The editors envision these mini-anthologies as rapid responses in the tradition of Medieval and Renaissance broadsides: Tom Paine’s pamphlets; Walt Whitman’s The 18th President and Democratic Vistas; Emanuel Haldeman-Julius’ Blue Books; the IWW Songbook; the A.J. Muste Memorial Pamphlet Series and Samizdat dissident publications from behind the Iron Curtain.” —John Roche
Edited by Jules Nyquist
“As editor…I have selected poems that address women’s issues in various areas. Women’s struggles are more important than ever since the Trump Administration took power. Throughout, I find a sense of hope and solidarity that women will endure…we’re not about to stop now.” —Jules Nyquist
Value: Stories, Essays & Poems by Women of a Certain Age
Edited by Pamela Adams Hirst
“Twenty-five articulate women share opinions about their own state of affairs, the political climate, and their legacies as women, mothers, sisters, lovers, daughters and writers. One large step for Womankind or kind Women. The timing with the women’s marches and world-wide feminist human rights protests couldn’t have been planned better in terms of time and place in the history of the world!” —Pamela Adams Hirst
Other important recent works from Beatlick Press include:
Islands on the Land: Poems from Third World Colonies In a First World Empire
Edited by G.L. Brower
“These poems are written with such pathos and understanding of the subject matter, the plight of migrant workers, so tender and tragic. The poet saw what other gringos could not, the humanity of the migrant workers. He knew the smell of their kitchens, the cries of their niños. To too many others they were simply viewed as lower-class, browned-skinned poor. Beatlick Press is honored to bring forward this dialogue from G.L. Brower; may it invite curiosity and understanding among people of all races and religious affinities.” —Pamela Adams Hirst
Larry Goodell Trilogy:
The Broken Garden & The Unsaid Sings (Poems 2011-2012)
Digital Remains (Poems 2013)
Pieces of Heart (Poems 2014)
“Beatlick Press plucked the prize of the Southwestern poetry landscape when Larry Goodell came on board. He is legendary. His trilogy offers up a living batch of poetry, journals and art somersaulting onto the page in his 80th year on this planet. “It’s my goal to publish all of my work under my literary concept HEAR. These first three books published by Beatlick Press represent my latest efforts,” says the poet.
He uses satire, humor and song and online dispersal to reach audiences. His inspiration comes from gardening, imagination, chance encounters and his wife, Lenore, a photographer. He devotes himself to the voice of poetry in the form of the given written word, the deliciousness of the natural world and the agonies of political and environmental change.”
Coming in 2018:
Working Title: Ride Easy, Selected Poems of Kell Robertson
Edited by G.L. Brower
This is a posthumous work to commemorate an obscure Southwestern poet, Kell Robertson. He was a problematic poet who provoked with poetry and violence. He is the classic conundrum: how do you separate the work of the poet and its value from the misdeeds of the poet. Surely if Beatlick Joe Speer was the Jack Kerouac of the Southwest, then Kell Robertson was the Charles Bukowski of the Southwest. Many of Kell’s friends and admirers have aggregated his small-press chapbooks scattered to the winds like so many dandelion seeds in order to create awareness and interest in an important voice fated to be lost in the desert if it were not for this dedicated group. “Tell them who I was,” his dying words.
We used to ask, “What about small/independent press publishing is particularly exciting to you right now?” We’re still interested in the answer to that, but we’re even more interested to know what you think needs to change.
What is most exciting to me about small/independent press publishing is the awareness and support so many of us have of each other. I think all of corporate America is a sellout today, and conglomerations will never support independent publishers and writers. The market is too small and so are the profits. Even newspapers have lessened reviewing small press as their book reviewers vanish in budget cuts and corporate-churned sensationalized, personality driven, tell-alls make their way to the major publishing houses, television and newspapers.
And you know what? We don’t need them. We don’t even need the newspapers promo as social media reaches more people, faster. And you have a target market already in place. Together we are powerful in our own right. I say don’t kowtow to the corporations, find your own path.
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 Beatlick Press?
My situation is unique and it is the core of my happiness and satisfaction with my press. I’m not in it for the money, I jokingly say I am in it for the GLORY! And as long as people are aware of our press, of Beatlick Joe, of the political, economic and social issues we are trying to shed light on, then I am at peace. We are writers with something to say.
Nothing gives me greater joy that giving a lecture about our press, about Joe. I was invited to discuss Joe and my small press in Los Angeles at the 2016 AWP Conference. The next month I gave a presentation entitled, “Who is Beatlick Joe,” at the 2016 Duende Poetry Series in Placitas, NM. I gave a PowerPoint presentation to the Southwest Writers group in Albuquerque as well. And I am equally thrilled to be interviewed here as well. Awareness, keeping Joe’s principles alive, getting the word out, resisting injustice, that is my goal. When I hold that book in hand, I feel triumphant. I don’t need the money.
However, I do lament playing the game. Since I got started eight years ago there is such a proliferation of scams to publish books, rip-off book awards. It has become quite vulgar. When I started it was more of a support system, G.L. Brower of Malpais Review magazine held my hand through my first publication. And I have passed that along to other budding publishers.
I know of no place where you can submit a book these days for recognition and not pay a reading fee. Some are outrageous. But Jules Nyquist taught me the importance of promotion. You simply have to put into your PR budget, monies to pay for entrance fees, reading fees, etc. As earlier mentioned, Beatlick Press has enjoyed a lot of recognition and credits through the NM/AZ Book Awards, it adds prestige to anything you do. It’s part of the process these days, just like editing. Unless you are an exceptional promoter or know how to book yourself, and I don’t know many writers that do, then you play the game to some extent.
I believe in promoting through YouTube and all social media. When we publish a writer I often will interview them and put up a YouTube post to promote the book. A simple link included in PR is all you have to do. A picture, or better yet, a video is worth a thousand words of promo. The secret is to have good subject matter and good writers. The rest will take care of itself.
In conclusion, I mention that Beatlick Press does not pay publishing costs. When we accept an author we will put a manuscript, Word file or other documents into the accepted format so that is suitable for online publishing with CreateSpace, an auxiliary of Amazon.com. We do not charge a fee for any accepted writer. Nor do we ask for any percentage. Any accounts are in the author’s name only and Beatlick Press is not affiliated or recompensed. It is our service to the literary community and the Beatlick way. Any grateful and successful author published by us is more than welcome to send us some money as a gift of appreciation. It hasn’t happened yet!
I do work by fee on occasion but that is usually separate from the press, I give advice freely. What we provide is a book available on Amazon.com, a website dedicated to promoting books and news about Beatlick Press writers, with a link to order the books, plus often a video interview.