Interview with Leesa Cross-Smith, Co-Founder/Editor
How did WhiskeyPaper Press start?
I wanted to start a literary magazine and be a control freak about what was getting out there from my side of things. I just wanted to do it! So I did it.
Tell us a bit about WhiskeyPaper. What are your influences, your aesthetic, your mission?
Our mission is to publish amazing flash fiction. This is the quote on our submissions page because it pretty much says it all:
“My only duty was to describe reality as it had come to me—and to give the mundane its beautiful due.”
I love beauty beauty beauty in writing. Updike, Nabokov. Also songwriters like Neko Case, Fiona Apple, Sufjan Stevens…people who write about both ordinary and strange things in gorgeous, heartbreaking ways. That’s what we’re going for at WhiskeyPaper. Also, we want anyone/everyone to be able to read and enjoy—from people who teach writing to people who may not even read more than one book a year.
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 publish one story a week and we also have three chapbooks under our belt. We have at least one more coming in 2016, as well. We’d like to continue publishing stories online and making little books as long as we can.
What about small/independent press publishing is particularly exciting to you right now?
Like a lot of people, I like it when previously marginalized voices are heard. I think there’s room for everyone here, all sorts of things. I like some experimental things, some classic things. What excites me about small/independent press publishing is that people are willing to try new things and so much of it is a bit underground so a lot of the stuff I find and read and love feels like a really good secret, which pleases me.
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 WhiskeyPaper Press?
Don’t have any real numbers to share because we make zero dollars! We sell chapbooks and pretty much break even. We spend $50-100 on the paper, putting them together and we usually make that money back. We aren’t able to pay our writers but I try to do a good job of promoting our contributors’ work and we give our chapbook authors a big ol’ box of their chapbooks that they can turn around and sell, of course. It’s hard out here, I know. But of course, we didn’t start this thinking about making any money at all. I’m terrible at knowing how to make money. I’m a writer. I have an English degree. What do I know? 🙂
Recent releases from WhiskeyPaper Press: