As a writer, I always found getting published to be a pain in the rear-end. It was mostly a pain because after I did all the work of submitting the manuscript there was little hope of ever hearing back from the publisher and for the most part when I did hear back the response was along the lines of “thank you, but no.” Not exactly the encouragement required to keep up the motivation for the next round, in spite of the wonderful “how many rejections did you get this month” contests I would get into with other writers. Finally, I just figured it was better to write for myself, publishing be damned. Then a strange idea came to me. Why not just be the publisher?
The idea rolled around in my head for months. The more I thought, the more I read, and the more questions I asked, the more things started to come together. “Yeah, yeah, I could do this.” Why did it seem like a good idea? Well, I came to realize that while I am a capable writer, I am a much better editor. More importantly, I like working with writers. I like helping them develop and improve a manuscript. It is from this passion, the passion for working with writers that Walrus Publishing was born.
It was born right here in Saint Louis, hometown, or nearly hometown, to so many great writers past and present – The ones we’ve studied in school like Kate Chopin, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Mark Twain, Tennessee Williams, T.S. Elliot, Eugene Field, Maya Angelou or the ones we’re reading today like Laurell Hamilton, Michael Kahn, John Dalton, Angie Fox, Heather Brewer, Irene Hannon, or John McFarland just to name a few. With a list like this, all I can say is “What better place to ‘birth’ a publishing company?”
You see, Saint Louis already produces great writers, so it’s a good bet that there are more to come, and we want to find them! We are dedicated to giving talented, local writers a “leg up.” For Walrus, it’s all about working locally. Saint Louis writers don’t need to send their manuscripts to some far away publisher who may or may not respond. They can work with Walrus and get the personal attention a writer from Saint Louis deserves.
We’ve been pretty successful at doing that so far. For example, our very first publication, Flood Stage, was an anthology of fifty-five Saint Louis poets, the first of its kind in recent memory. We are currently working with four other writers for our next publications. It’s been a wonderful experience getting involved with the writers and writing community in the Saint Louis area.
What we are doing now is getting the word out about Walrus to local writers and local readers. There are several avenues we are working. The first is very basic and very personal – word of mouth. While this may seem pretty mundane in a world so filled with social media, nothing can really replace the personal connection that a face to face conversation brings. We are going to readings, workshops, and open mics across the Metro area making connections with the writers and poets and the community who enjoys them. These venues and experiences have helped us build relationships so vital to working with writers and poets and serving to deepen the connection between them and their audiences.
Of course technology cannot be ignored, and we haven’t. As you can see, the website is growing to include event articles, writers’ tips, and interviews. We are laying the foundation on this website so writers and readers have a place to come together as an online community. We are augmenting this with our Facebook presence as well. It’s a little less formal and certainly an easy way to let you know what’s going on out and about not to mention what’s going up on the website.
This month features tips from Lisa Ebert, whose book we should be putting out next summer. We are also posting a number of featured articles from events such as John Lutz’s reading at Left Bank Books, Llewellyn’s Open Mic night for Emerging Writers, and many more. We’ll keep you posted on what’s going on literary event wise in Saint Louis.
We hope you will “stay tuned” with us as we grow. I know I’m looking forward to getting to know you and the rest of the community. It’s going to be a great ride!