Small Press Points

Now that Major League Baseball's spring training schedule has officially begun—the Braves play the Mets in Port Saint Lucie, Florida, on March 2—it's probably safe to start in with the baseball imagery again. So here goes: For a small press like Ampersand Books, which happens to be based about two hundred miles west of Port Saint Lucie, in Gulfport, a literary magazine is a bit like a minor-league farm team. It provides a forum for writers to show the editors their stuff—along with an understanding that they could be called up to the big leagues and publish a book at any time. While Ampersand Books doesn't accept unsolicited submissions, the Ampersand Review does, and that's where the work of novelist Joseph Riippi and poets J. Bradley, Melissa Broder, and Ryan Davidson—each of whom has a title published by Ampersand Books—first appeared. The playful editors note that writers looking to publish a book should submit a sample of writing to the journal "and hint, delicately if you can, that there is a manuscript afloat and, further, that there may be beer involved." If the submission guidelines for the journal (i.e., the press) are any indication, beer is often part of the mix: "While the fiction editor enjoys writing that plays with form and conventions, it is widely known that each time a vampire story is written, somewhere an orphan dies.... For every nature poem received, the poetry editor will refuse to recycle something.... Nonfiction submissions should not be terrible."