For today's post, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kevin Walzer, whose WordTech Communications poetry press has six imprints: Cherry Grove Collections, CW Books, David Robert Books, Textos Books, Turning Point, Word Poetry and WordTech Editions. They have published my two poetry books, and it's instructive to hear about the inner workings of an independent press that puts out more books per year than most other houses, despite the challenges facing the publishing industry. Here's Kevin:
What inspired you to start WordTech Communications?
My wife Lori Jareo and I started the company in the late 1990s intending it to be a business name for freelance editorial work, as we both worked in writing and publishing fields. We added poetry publishing in 2000, intending to do one poetry book per year; I had earned a Ph.D. in creative writing/poetry but was working in the business world because of the poor job market in academe, and I wanted to keep my hand in poetry. One book per year led to a few books per year and then several, and by 2003 we had grown to the point where we went full-time with poetry publishing, and we will be celebrating a decade of full-time publishing this year.
What distinguishes you from other presses?
We publish more than 40 books per year, all poetry, which makes us one of the largest poetry publishers in the U.S. in terms of number of titles. We are one of the few independent poetry presses in operation, meaning that we are unaffiliated with a university, arts organization, or some other institution, and we are a for-profit press, accepting no outside grants or subsidies and surviving on our book sales. We were also one of the first poetry presses to fully embrace using print-on-demand technology instead of traditional offset press runs for our books, which has allowed us to better manage our publishing expenses.