Interview with Gerald A. Padilla, Co-Founder
How did Jade Publishing start?
In the beginning of this year (2017) my wife and I decided to create Jade Publishing with the intention of producing a platform that would highlight Latin American and Native cultures. We felt it was our duty as Latin Americans to shed some light on these important voices that are many times underrepresented.
Tell us a bit about Jade Publishing. What are your influences, your aesthetic, your mission?
As mentioned above, our influences include contemporary and historical Latin American and Native literature. These influences can be seen heavily reflected in the titles we’ve published. With this in mind we have made it our mission to produce a wide variety of books for all ages that highlight the importance of Latin American and Native stories of this continent. We seek to create a panoramic view that connects our contemporary collective voices with those of our ancestors. We decided to start Jade Publishing as a platform to reconcile and bring light to our, many times obscured, historical and cultural identity as U.S. Latinos. In this, we decided to take a step forward and begin to share stories that have been long overdue.
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?
One of our publications this year is Aztectopia by Pedro Larez. With currently over 128,000 Facebook followers Pedro Larez has rapidly become one of Mexico’s leading comic strip illustrators. Through his wit and humor, he has been able to put Aztec mythology on the spotlight.
Another great book is 140 Twitter Poems by Christopher Carmona. This book is a collection of 140 poems each over 140 days. Each poem embodies the social and political fervor of the day.
We are also very proud of Animals of My Land authored by my wife Rossy Evelin Lima and myself, translated to Nahuatl by Jesus Castañeda and illustrated by Gaby Rico. It is a trilingual book designed to nourish the importance of language and nature. It is the first children’s book published in Nahuatl in the U.S. and serves as a tribute to our majestic native heritage.
We have also decided to reprint important Spanish classics. For our first classic book we decided to print Romancero Gitano by Federico García Lorca. Originally published in 1928, Romancero Gitano is Lorca’s best known book of poetry. It is composed of 18 romances that reflect the struggle of marginalized people.
An upcoming release for 2018 is Undocumented Dream: A Poetic Memoir by Rossy Evelin Lima. This poetic memoir by Rossy is composed of poems as well as real life anecdotes that span almost two decades of her life as an undocumented immigrant.
We are also hoping to publish contemporary Mayan poetry soon.
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.
In general, it is a great time for independent presses. Technology such as social media and modern printing options have given anyone with an enormous amount of passion and a relatively small amount of capital a platform to share their stories; many of which would otherwise probably not fit the mainstream narrative pushed by traditional presses. Nonetheless, independent presses still have a long way to go, specifically in the areas of marketing which can be very expensive. One thing that I feel needs to change is how independent presses organize and interact with other institutions. Because of our limited resources, we need to make sure we build closer relationships with schools, libraries, and colleges. These are great resources that many times are not fully explored.
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 Jade Publishing?
Like anything else, I think it all boils down to supply and demand, which includes reading fees (i.e. author appearance fees—we don’t charge submission fees) and book pricing. My recommendation is to keep fees and book pricing at a minimum when demand is low and slowly elevate pricing when demand begins to increase. Otherwise, it is very difficult to compete with popular best sellers.
As far as our numbers, it would be misleading for me to give you specifics since we’ve only been open for less than a year. What I can share is that our bestselling author is surprisingly not from the U.S. Therefore, it is important to acknowledge that it is in our best interest to seek for great talent internationally and not limit ourselves to a specific region.