MEET THE PUBLISHER: PANK Books

1.     Tell us about the mission of your publishing house and why you started it/what need in the publishing industry does your press address.

With PANK Books we wanted to continue pushing the envelope in terms of making a home for writers & writing that would otherwise not have one, except now we are able to champion an individual writer & an individual work, instead of collecting & curating a publication of several voices & works for the magazine.

 2. What do you offer writers that they cannot find at another press?

I’m not sure what they can find at other presses since my endeavor as a publisher is wholly concerned with PANK & PANK Books. But I can tell you that we don’t necessarily look for the best, most polished, well-written manuscripts when diving deep into our Submittable pile; instead, we often ask ourselves, “This is good. But is it PANK?” & another way of thinking about that question is, “Could this be published by anyone else, anywhere else?” & if the answer is yes, it probably deserves that home; to repeat my response to that first question, we really look for work that would have a difficult time finding a home elsewhere. We are fortunate to have a wide audience & a very passionate, enthusiastic readership. If we can bring light to an underrepresented voice, we’ve done our job. Or: if we can bring light to an unrecognized (or uncategorizable) form, we’ve done our job.

3.     Tell us about the books you have released and/or upcoming releases.

Launch date for our first 3 books is March 10 (AWP Tampa):

Laura Buccieri's "On Being Mistaken" (a poetry chapbook)

Maya Sonenberg's "After the Death of Shostakovich Pere" (speculative/creative nonfiction) Sonenberg's nonfiction book is multimedia-directed. Several photos are weaved throughout the writing

& Stacy Austin Egan's "You Could Stop It Here" (a collection of short stories)

4. What do you feel writer's need to do to be successful?

Really work the reading scene; be prepared to travel, at least throughout the state & neighboring states. Readings are often the best way to get your voice heard (literally) but also they are great opportunities for actual contact with one’s contemporaries & potential collaborators. & so I think the best thing besides reading in well-placed, well-timed venues/events, is be a real literary citizen in your community; review works by other writers you admire, teach their books (if you are a teacher), learn to listen & soak up everything that you are experiencing without the goal of acquisition; by that I mean networking. Networking & building community are two very different things & I would hope writers opt for the latter.

5. What challenges do you see in the industry that your press addresses?

The industry, at least the mainstream publishing industry in the United States, is still white, mostly male, catering to those singular, hetero-normative, Anglo-centric tastes. As I mentioned earlier, we are very fortunate at PANK to have accumulated so much momentum through the vision, persistence, & hard work of our former editors, & although we don’t have nearly the size of any of the Big Five, we have quite a reach, we’re hungry, & we are continually challenging ourselves; Maya, John, & myself, & our dedicated readers.

6. How do you gain exposure for authors outside of the usual festival and conference circuit?

We run a lot of local reading series based on our editors’ vastly different neighborhoods. For the last year I’ve been hosting a monthly PANK (originally, we teamed with Folder magazine as well) reading at the beautiful, gracious Dixon Place, in the heart of the Lower East Side. These specific events are great because we only select two readers; each former PANK contributor or author reads up to 20 minutes, & so the audience can really get a feel for their work & celebrate it in a meaningful way.

7. What are your five year goals for your company?

I don’t even know what my “five-year” plan is for my personal life. I think we’ve done a great job, so far, with focusing really sharply with each issue we put out, & I’ve been really proud of the quality, & the thrill, also, of publishing a lot of brand-new (previously unpublished) voices. If we can continue to put out two online issues a year plus the print annual edition, ramp up the blog content that is already refreshed every week with reviews, interviews, & sometimes, cinepoetry or other multimodal content, & still find time & talent to release 3-4 small books & 1-2 big books? I’d be elated. I’d also be concerned with the state of my health, or how much hair I’ve got left, by year five.

For more about PANK, visit their site:

https://pankmagazine.com/