Quick Update on Being a Publisher

Carry the Sky Front CoverI’ve been absent on and off here, especially this summer, with both kids home and lots of publishing priorities as we gear up to launch Kate Gray’s Carry the Sky, an unblinking look at bullying told from the perspectives of two teachers reeling from their own losses.

It’s been blurbed by a veritable who’s who of impressive authors, including Hannah Tinti, Ron Carlson, Carter Sickels, Christopher Buckley, and Cari Luna, who I featured earlier this year on the Seven Questions Series.

Read all the blurbs, and learn more about the book, at our Carry the Sky catalog page. You’ll hear more as we get closer to our Sept. 1 pub date, but I have another announcement to share.

I fell in love with a book. Okay, another book. This one, in my slush pile, a Hurricane Katrina novel. And today I got to announce that Forest Avenue Press, my press, has acquired it. Today, after lots of reading, and a two-hour walk in the park (literally) with the author, making sure we were on the same so-called page, it’s official.

There are thousands of tiny pieces to putting out a professional trade paperback–miscellaneous decisions, emails to and from the author and reviewers and bookstores, events to plan, blurbs to share–but there are two really big moments in the journey.

One: announcing that a book has been accepted.

And two: the official pub date.

And right now, I’m doing both. We’re less than a month away from the launch of Carry the Sky, with books on their way to my doorstep right this moment, and we’re announcing our 2015 title, Landfall by Ellen Urbani. Ellen’s well-respected memoir, When I Was Elena, came out from The Permanent Press in 2006. I’m so excited to work with her on Landfall.

You can read more about it here.

And psst, I’m going from acquisition straight into looking for potential blurbers, reviewers, and bloggers, so if you have any suggestions about Katrina novels or nonfiction I should read, or New Orleans authors I should reach out to, please let me know! As an Oregon press, with lots of connections here, I’d love any ideas, because I don’t want to miss someone, or some opportunity, that might end up being crucial to this beautiful, heart-wrenching (and yet still funny, in a mannered, polite, southern sort of way) novel.

About Laura Stanfill

Publisher, Forest Avenue Press
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8 Responses to Quick Update on Being a Publisher

  1. I love hearing about how you handle this process — it sounds so… full of grace? A two hour walk in the park — how perfect. And they both sound like stunners.

    • Stunners–yes, that’s exactly right. There are scenes in both manuscripts that made my mouth drop open and stay open… just astonishing writing. I feel so honored to have the chance to publish them both!

  2. Gwen Stephens says:

    Laura, you won me over with The Gods of Second Chances, and these upcoming releases sound just as intriguing. How encouraging for emerging authors to learn – that a publisher can fall in love with a manuscript drawn from the slush pile. Looking forward to both books!

    • Thanks, Gwen! And oh yes–these slush pile acceptances happen! For me, as a publisher, it’s not about who sends me work but who nails my taste. I can’t say enough about that angle. I’ve had some perfectly lovely books in my inbox that I’ve needed to let go, because they weren’t my exact taste, and as a result I wasn’t left breathless, and as a result, it would be a disservice to publish them because I’m not the best possible advocate and champion.

  3. jmmcdowell says:

    It’s good to hear that so much is going well on the publishing end. You and the authors are growing an impressive crop of wonderful books!

  4. Congratulations, Laura. It’s all very exciting! I can’t wait to read both books.

  5. Mike Reilly says:


    You already have your Hurricane Katrina novel all sewn up. I guess I’ll have to take my own elsewhere Lol. Seriously, best wishes to the author when it publishes in 2015 and I’ll look forward to reading another’s take on the event which occupied so much of my own writing time the last 4 years.

    Mike Reilly
    Author MISISIPI

    • Oh thanks, Mike! We’ve been on deadline this week getting a super-early galley out to take to a tradeshow next week. I look forward to learning more about your book, too, and I wish you the best of luck with it.

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