Sealing The Deal

August 3rd, 2006 · No Comments
by Booksquare

We have a soft spot in our little black heart for niche publishers. We like the fact that someone out there is making it by focusing on what they love. It’s probably safe to say that Seal Press, with its tight focus on feminist issues falls into that category, if only because it proves that feminism is alive, well, and incredibly relevant.

According to editor Brooke Warner,

Our most barebones mission statement is that we publish books that inform a woman’s life.

Mostly this comes from the serious, non-fiction perspective. Warner doesn’t outright dismiss fiction that informs women’s lives, but, if we can read between the lines — and who’s going to stop us? — she doesn’t seem inclined in that direction. Of course, she notes that there are elements of women’s writing that has commercial appeal elsewhere. Why not focus on works that would likely get lost in the morass that is a big publishing house?

Other than the feminist focus (meaning the publisher is big enough to recognize that men have a stake in the issue), getting your foot in the door at Seal requires the same factors as any other publisher: good writing, solid proposal, you know the drill. Warner does note that

I will work with someone who I believe has potential even if their initial proposal isn’t totally right for us because I can see that they’re flexible; maybe they need a little handholding, but ultimately they seem capable, smart, and have good follow-through. The author is all-important to me. Prior to acquiring a book that’s unagented, I want to call the author to get a sense of them and make sure we have a connection, even if it’s just over the phone. I sort of have to trust my instincts on that, but within 10 minutes I know whether or not we can have a working relationship.

File Under: Publishers and Editors