Saturday, September 5, 2015

From the Publisher

It sometimes takes others to point out obvious things about oneself. So it was this week, when a friend wondered why I keep three enterprises discrete. "The same mind is behind them all." He urged me not to compartmentalize so absolutely.

I have to thank Rick for bringing this to my attention. He's right. I have assumed that my careers as a visual artist, as a lecturer and teacher in medical humanities (Ann Starr), as an arts writer (Starr Review), and as the owner and senior editor of Upper Hand Press might signal fecklessness rather than fecundity!

Art-maker; art-thinker; authority-questioner; writer. To anyone wondering where Upper Hand Press came from; to the author wondering if this is a likely company to submit to, of course this is all relevant information.

Upper Hand Press will not publish books (or music) unless I personally love it. I publish books that excite me and music that stops my heart. I publish individuals who are deep and whole-hearted about their work, eager to collaborate in establishing their audiences and promoting their works. It is my happiness to midwife for exceptional artists and their creations. 

Publishing has the reputation for being a cruel industry, but I don't want to be that. I come to this as an artist who is learning to run a business. I hope that this makes me searching and respectful. 

The Press editorial board is composed of seasoned writers and teachers who take their time with the manuscripts I send them, always returning extensive and thoughtful comments. Few writers turned down by Upper Hand Press go away without feedback delivered in a personal letter from the publisher. 

How can any of us grow without thoughtful criticism from the people we ask to consider our work? How can publishers feel they are behaving responsibly without doing this? I believe deeply in the importance of art criticism in its most generous construction: Thus, the "rejection letter" must provide content that, at the very least, assures the author that the publisher is paying the attention s/he deserves.

So, in case there could be any mistake, Upper Hand Press has a mission, is a labor of love, and feels to me personally like the project that brings together my hopes to realize some good for the world of art and artists. It is a grand, creative enterprise. It is a work of art, always in process.

It's an expensive one. I have had many blessings of people to help me along the way, but the core investment is mine. In my mid-sixties I invested my IRA and more in the company. I keep my fingers crossed, my drive and idea-generator in high gear. Upper Hand Press is a force for the good, feeding imagination in the world.

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