Notes from An Alien

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Tag Archives: Interview with a Publisher

Interview with a Most Talented and Enterprising Publisher


Do you know this woman? Laura Stanfill

More than likely not, unless you’re a regular reader of this blog; or, you’re involved in the literary scene in Oregon, U.S.A.; or, perhaps, you’ve bought something from Forest Avenue Press

However, more folks could soon know her since she’s been nominated for Publishers Weekly Star Watch, which was created “…to identify and celebrate members of the U.S. publishing community who are on the rise and bring recognition to them on a global stage.”

Some of you who follow this blog may remember that she founded the Main Street Writers Movement

And, I’m happy to say there is a new interview with—drum roll—spotlight onLaura Stanfill !

The interview was conducted by Edwin L. Battistella—instructor of linguistics and writing at Southern Oregon University—author of six books and over fifty academic articles. He “…is on the editorial board of The Oregon Encyclopedia, and the Executive Committee of the Linguistic Society of America. He is the co-editor-in-chief of the Wiley-Blackwell journal Language and Linguistics Compass.” He also “…contributes a monthly blog to Oxford University Press, called Between the Lines with Edwin Battistella.”

As is my usual plan, I’ll share a few excerpts and encourage you to read the Full Interview

As part of her relating what she’s learned in publishing, Laura said:

“I spent two years selling books out of the back of my car—and toting boxes to bookstores for consignment—before signing with Legato Publishers Group…We have sales conferences and reps that sell our books across the U.S., which makes our marketing and publicity efforts even more crucial, because the risk is higher. But the potential reward is higher, too.”

While discussing her choice of Portland, Oregon for her business, she said:

“We…have incredibly dedicated booksellers who write excellent shelf talkers and hand-sell local titles to browsers. When I showed up as a new publisher, I found friends and allies in the indie bookstore world because I had been buying books and attending events for a decade. My mission with Forest Avenue was to urge in-person conversations about literature, so I created an events-based marketing plan that I still use today. My whole business model is centered on independent bookstores. I support bookstores; bookstores support our authors. It sounds obvious, but it’s important. Essential.”

When asked about Main Street Writers Movement, she said:

“It’s a movement geared to encouraging writers to build community at the local level by supporting each other, their indie bookstores, and local presses and magazines. If we can create these invested hubs of community goodness, then the whole national literary ecosystem will become stronger. And touring writers will be able to activate Main Street communities in the places they travel….We use #mainstreetwriters as our hashtag to help members find each other.”

Here’s where you can read more about or join Main Street Writers Movement

Again, I encourage you to read the Full Interview; but, here’s a final excerpt to help you decide to go over there :-)

When asked what she looks for in an author, Laura said:

“I look for someone who has been actively building community, because it’s really hard to sell books by authors who are only invested in promoting their own work. Debut authors are a favorite, because so many of them have spent years honing their craft, and it’s a huge honor to launch an author’s first title.

“I love working with authors who have a strong sense of their own craft and want to work together with our team to get the book to reach its full potential. That kind of collaborative spirit is essential.”

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