Submission Guidelines: “Although we do not accept submissions for Sad Spell Press you may submit to Witch Craft Magazine so we can get a feel for you and your work, just mention in the submission that you have a chapbook manuscript you’d like us to read. OR email us a description of the chapbook and why it would be a perfect fit for Sad Spell Press.”
Interview with Catch Business, Founding Poetry and Prose Editor/Chapbook Coordinator
How did Sad Spell Press start?
Sad Spell Press was almost an accident. Elle and I had both considered printing chapbooks in the future but when we read a few of the submissions for Issue 1 and realized we didn’t have the space to share the work in the mag but we did still have the ability to share it, we decided to expand our plans ahead of schedule. We chose the name Sad Spell because it was already in use as the title of our blog, so that everything written that wasn’t for an issue of Witch Craft Magazine would fall under the same title. Our Spellbook Series 1 definitely does the name of our new press justice as each author picks off little pieces of your heart in turn.
Tell us a bit about Sad Spell Press. What are your influences, your aesthetic, your mission?
Because there are two of us as founders, our aesthetic is influenced by a wide variety of small presses, editors and authors. Some of my favorite small presses that publish print chapbooks include Guillotine and Factory Hollow Press. Each of these presses are also maintained by a small amount of people so that the hard work of the editorial staff and writers always radiates throughout the chapbooks. When I hold onto such books, it feels like I’m holding hands with those who made it. I want to accomplish the same feeling. That being said, Sad Spell has aligned our mission with Witch Craft’s, in that each Spellbook should leave us feeling affected as though an actual spell were cast over us.
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 Spellbook Series 1 is a handmade and limited edition collection of Spellbooks by three authors, Heather Goodrich, Danielle Perry, and Christopher Morgan. Spellbooks The Filaments of Heather, Phases, and Shadow Songs will be available to purchase individually or in a bundle November 30th. Below is a blurb for The Filaments of Heather by Heather Goodrich. More information on all of the spellbooks can be found on our press page.
The Filaments of Heather is at once a dismantling and maintenance of self. Goodrich takes apart the world to more closely examine it and in the process awakens her reader to how the moving parts of an environment are just as arresting as the ugly, bubbling whole. Authority has no place here, where everything has shredded and come alive differently, with more mess. But it is the mess that moves us forward. It is the mess that keeps us engaged and alive. —Emily O’Neill, Pelican (YesYes Books)
The future of Sad Spell Press includes a series focusing on writing and visual art collaborations. We plan to start releasing this series next spring, and by the end of next year, who knows! We could be onto our first full length, fingers crossed!
What about small/independent press publishing is particularly exciting to you right now?
The community. I’m constantly amazed at the kindness and support shared throughout our community. Everyone is always so easy to talk to, honest and helpful. Whether it’s a discussion about the best printer to go through, a poem I just read or something completely unrelated to literature—the people I’ve met because of literature are most of the best I know.
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 Sad Spell Press?
What I’ve learned through the process of producing these first spellbooks is to use your surroundings. Like a survivalist. Make a list of what you need and then think outside of the box to achieve it. This should cut down some costs here and there. For example, I called around to 10 different letterpress studios in Denver and finally found one who would let me work for almost 10% of the cost as everywhere else. Another example: no paper-trimmer, no problem! I actually sanded the edges of the pages (for an even fold) at my dad’s shop because my paper-trimmer wasn’t doing the job. There’s always a way to accomplish your goals, you just have to find it!
Regarding reading fees, no way! I’m unable to submit to contests and open reading periods because of submission fees and I wouldn’t want to cause that kind of stress to those who are actually interested and already supporting Witch Craft Magazine by buying our print issues. Sad Spell Press doesn’t accept submissions at this point, but when we do, we won’t charge to read and in fact we strive for the opposite by paying our authors.
All of the costs necessary to accomplish the Spellbook Series 1 came directly out of my pocket. The initial investment and profits of the first series is going to set Sad Spell Press up to print the next round of books, a pattern which will hopefully continue for years to come.
How does Witch Craft Magazine interact with the press?
Because we are not open for submissions to Sad Spell Press, we make a lot of our publishing decisions based off of submissions to the magazine. Often, we’ll receive a piece that is perfect but too long to share in the issue, so we’ll reach out to the author and give them another option, a paying option, their own book option. This is why Sad Spell Press needs Witch Craft Magazine, and hopefully as we grow, the opposite will show to be true as well.