Submission Guidelines: “We don’t have any real guidelines online right now, as we’ve mostly been soliciting when it comes to book-length projects. If you want to send anything to firstname.lastname@example.org, we do check that account and consider submissions every few months.”
Interview with Steve Roggenbuck
How did Boost House start?
steve had an idea to start an art/poetry house where a bunch of friends from the internet would live together and do creative work. then he learned more about “punk houses” specifically, and learned about a model where a punk house sometimes has a record label or zine attached to it, going under the same name as the actual house. so that was the basic idea: a press run out of a co-op style house with the same name. and then steve took applications for people who would want to be involved, selected a little team from those apps, and raised some money in late 2013. then we got started in early 2014 in maine.
Tell us a bit about Boost House. What are your influences, your aesthetic, your mission?
we like poetry that is accessible to people who don’t read a ton of poetry. we like bizarre humor. we like some dark satanism once in a while. we like writing that is very sincere about wanting to make the world a better place. we like poetry that acknowledges the existence and prominence of the internet in most of our lives. we like to help amplify the voices of writers from marginalized groups. we hope to publish really good books, which fit into multiple categories of these things we like!!
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 hope to have 2 more books coming out later this year, but we’ll see. one of those is called MACRO; it will be a full-color book of image-based poetry, edited by Michael Hessel-Mial and Penny Goring!
What about small/independent press publishing is particularly exciting to you right now?
we are excited about putting out really good books. getting to share a whole book of someone’s writing with a bunch of people who have never read it before !!! or in the case of an anthology, getting to share a guidebook that points to soo many different possibilities of what poetry can be and do !!!! opening up all those possibilities for a reader. a book can change someone’s life, so that is very exciting stuff to us.
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 Boost House?
our original idea was to have our book sales financially cover a bunch of the living expenses of our house residents. that was an ambitious goal for a small press, and we’ve been gradually letting that idea go. our online store isn’t bringing in as much money as we hoped it would by now, so we’ve been supplementing our online sales with steve’s income from doing frequent book tours. but that’s kinda just a donation from steve, rather than legitimately being BH press income. we’ve recently been reaching out to more bookstores, trying to get some more distribution that way. we’re also trying print-on-demand t-shirts. we might be able to offer a new t-shirt every month with print-on-demand, and each of them will only be available for sale for that month. very rare shirts.
about reading fees: it seems like reading fees could deter a lot of your best potential talent from submitting, and so that seems like an unwise move maybe… but ultimately we can’t judge… everyone has their own financial situation to deal with. editors who spend countless hours going thru submissions are doing a lot of work, so it seems sensible that they would seek payment for that somehow!
printing costs: print-on-demand is an option we’ve been looking into more and more, and it seems like a very smart option for most small presses. we currently still print through 48 Hr Books, and they have been great for doing small print runs (usually buying 125 copies at a time works best) and fast turnaround time.
How does Boost House the co-op house influence Boost House the press, and vice versa?
we host poetry readings at the house, so that is one very direct overlap. also financially, the house’s needs have been a strong motivation to try to sell more books thru the press. those are two things. otherwise, it’s maybe just the fact that most of the same people are involved in both! so they both aim to embody the same values, and they reflect a similar sense of humor as well. if you like our books, you may probably find a good laugh about the way we decorate our home.