Submission Guidelines: “We have sporadic reading periods that you can learn about by following us on Tumblr or Facebook. If you’re burning to send us something, we always like to hear new ideas. We encourage people to experience one or more of our books before submitting as we are not your typical publisher. Note that we always prefer proposals to full manuscripts because we don’t have a large staff to read lots of submissions. No guidelines! Blur it up! Wow us with your never thought of idea!”
Interview with Amanda McCormick, Co-Editor
How did Ink Press Productions start?
Ink Press Productions is the mashup of Amanda McCormick’s espresso ink & Tracy Dimond’s Gin & Ink. It began when we met as first year poets at the University of Baltimore. We became friends when we recognized that we share similar ideas about what art and writing can do for a community. We celebrate our “birthday” on February 15, the anniversary of our first event the Dark Valentine Party and publication of Tracy’s Sorry I Wrote So Many Sad Poems Today.
Tell us a bit about Ink Press. What are your influences, your aesthetic, your mission?
Our mission at IPP is to “blur the lines of writing, visual, and performance art through the publication of handmade books, DIY printing, and experimental events.”
We came to this mission and our aesthetic through making books and collaborating with authors and each other. We decided to purposefully “blur lines” because that is what we were doing naturally. We are influenced most by the people and materials we work with. Materials come in many different forms—writing, color, personality, paper. Materials come in ink and we are inspired by the tracks. Right now, we enjoy our openness—not knowing what next five years will bring. We love the fact that our aesthetic and mission will evolve over time—as we grow and invite more people into the collaborative process.
For us, the collaborative process is one of building and transforming. With each project, our influence expands. We are especially touched by people we know, like Publishing Genius, Shabby Doll House, Sunnyoutside Press, Big Lucks, and the many talented people we meet at press fairs like the DC Zine Fest and CUNY Chapfest. Singing Saw creates beautiful art by emphasising the artist/writer collaboration, and Fact-Simile is always doing something interesting to bring writing into the world, to name just a few!
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?
Having just celebrated our anniversary, we are so thrilled to have an eventful year ahead of us!
This month [March 2016] we exhibited at an all-female art show and hosting + performing a special event of our [Amanda & Tracy] collaborative piece, Did You Cover Up? with special guests.
In April, in addition to participating in several small press fairs, we are looking forward to giving a performative Gallery Talk at the Walters Art Museum in conjunction with the Léon Gruel Book Binding exhibition.
At the beginning of the summer we look forward to the publication of Amanda’s MFA thesis manuscript, AMANDA + reading tour & celebration!
Later in the year we are planning for an espresso ink + Infinity’s Kitchen collaboration Infinity Ink! as well as another collaborative publication with Heather Rounds (author of There).
We recently had a reading period for project proposals for our 2017 catalog. We asked individuals to send their ideas instead of completed work. We want to expand our network of collaboration and redefine the way a book is built.
What about small/independent press publishing is particularly exciting to you right now?
One of the things that’s particularly exciting about small press publishing is the ability to do what you want. Combine that with the element of handmade, and the potentials are infinite. We don’t mean it hyperbolically—we really believe that if you are willing to step out of the box of publishing, think of it as an artistic form, there are potentials that have not been thought of yet. I [Amanda] connected to books very strongly as a child and since then, knew the BOOK to be a powerful object. Most people know what a book is, the way that it paces time. Many people have books that affected their lives in a significant way. We are lucky that so much of the work has already been done for us. Now all we have to do is make it new.
With the expanding popularity of digital information, books become more and more free from their original intention or “purpose.” In this way, it is an exciting time for books because we don’t know what they might become. Think of a book as an object, how it represses space. It itself is a performance.
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 Ink Press Productions?
How DO we cope?! If we were into money, we wouldn’t have gotten into the business of books. Moving through all our projects, we remember this.
Time is a precious commodity for everyone—a book takes time just like it takes time to be a student or teacher, a hourly wage worker, a professional, and more. The past few years we have worked hard to publish books, gain experience in what we are creating, and seek community.
We’ve reached a point where we can give stipends to ourselves and any copy-editors and designers we bring on. We try our best to compensate the authors and pay them in books. We feel that if we have to operate in a system that puts value on money, we should do our best to demonstrate that we value the art and work.
Right now, we are excited for the coming year and then we’ll see what’s next. The numbers at IPP are an ebb and flow. We’re making books and working in the letterpress printed form until we can’t anymore.