What is your role in the publishing scene?
Our role in the publishing scene, as editor Stacy Giufre put it, is mostly about finding new, talented authors and “dancing along the edge of marginal and mainstream.”
As the Editor-in-Chief, I sometimes feel like we are very quietly plodding along, putting out books, and hoping, like a starlet, that Pink Narcissus will get its “big break” someday. We are only in our third year of publishing, and many people haven’t heard of our press. There are a lot of small presses out there, and many of them are good, but it’s often difficult for all of us to get the attention our authors deserve, despite all our best efforts. I’m always surprised and immensely flattered when I meet people who recognize our name and know about our books.
Although we don’t specifically categorize ourselves as being a feminist, LGBTQ, or minority publisher, we would like to be a safe haven for those writers who may have felt marginalized by the publishing industry—or just by real life. This is an essential part of the PNP philosophy—the authors and their stories comes first.
How would you characterize the work you publish?
In a word: eclectic. In more words: speculative fiction, with an emphasis on feminist or queer fiction, and fairy tales. Which is not surprising as most of the editors are feminists and/or queer. So our choices are very personal—which is the case with all editors who aren’t thinking foremost in terms of commercial profit.
We do tend to shy away from the mainstream. We like humorous pieces. We like writing that pushes the boundaries a little bit, and in which the genres begin to blur together. And we’re always on the lookout for stories that make us think, that entertain us and surprise us.
Who is your audience, and in what ways are you trying to reach them?
We have a very mixed audience because we produce a variety of books that appeal to different readers on different levels. On the lighter side, we have novels like Stuart Sharp’s Court of Dreams, which is a Terry Pratchett-style comic fantasy, and Ash Krafton’s Demimonde series, which offers a fresh take on some of the old tropes of urban fantasy. Pushing the boundaries, we have authors such as Lyle Blake Smythers and Duncan Eagleson, whose novels defy easy classification, blending together elements from various genres and sources including adventure, fantasy, dystopian science fiction, mystery, Shakespeare, and more. For the more literary minded, we have story collections such as Heather Fowler’s People with Holes, feminist magic realism that is very frank in its explorations of relationships and sex. On a similar note, Amy E. Yergen’s At Times I Almost Dream touches upon similar themes, but through the use of modernized fairy tales. In both collections, the protagonists are real women laid bare upon the pages in all their glory, strengths, and weaknesses.
Could you briefly describe Pink Narcissus Press’s history?
The idea sparked during a conversation I had with Duncan Eagleson. We’d been talking about talented authors we knew whose manuscripts had been rejected, despite the fact that the editors liked their work. As authors, we had both had this experience with one of the “Big Six,” and we found it particularly frustrating when the reason given was that the editor can’t accept your work because it isn’t “mainstream” enough—and that they wouldn’t know how to market it.
Pink Narcissus Press was founded in 2010 by myself, Josie Brown, and Bill Racicot. Once we had taken care of the practical aspects of the business, such as how we would solicit, select, produce, market, and distribute our books, we decided that we were going to start by publishing anthologies. For our first anthology, we chose the...