Friday, October 12, 2018

Announcing new titles for 2019; Thank you to our submitters

Submissions season is over for 2018. It was a boom year for submissions and I'm grateful for the number and quality of authors interested in publishing with Upper Hand Press. I tip my hat to the many who submitted their work for my consideration and my editorial board's. It is a pleasure and an honor to be entrusted with so many writers' works and ambitions in thirty-page blocks. I am never uninterested in the people who send their work. Everything we receive is full of life; work and commitment can't fail to show. So thank you to everyone who took a risk and sent their best to Upper Hand Press and my eye.

In the upcoming months, we'll be publishing three books, two by previously published authors, and one by a newcomer. On August first, we'll bring out Nick Fowler's, My Virtuous Sister. Nick wrote A Thing (or Two) About Curtis and Camilla in 2002 and it was a hit for Random House. It got reviews in places like the Times of New York and of Los Angeles and was a best seller in the United Kingdom. His new book, like his first, is set in New York City, but is a little more melancholy in tone as a younger brother seeks his beloved big sister, a rock star on hard times, in lower Manhattan. 

In December, we bring out Alice Lichtenstein's The Crime of Being. Alice comes to us from Scribner's, where she published her novel Lost, enthused over by NPR and the Time Book Review. Her earlier novel was Genius of the World, published with the late, lamented literary press, Zoland Books. In The Crime of Being, Lichtenstein cooly visits the hot territory of a hate crime's effects on juvenile perpetrator and victim, their families, the judicial system and population of the small town where it happens.

William Cass's illustrated book Sam will open 2020 for us. This exquisite story sits in a comfortable chair that children and adults will share. The story is about a young girl who lives with her mom and plays by herself and the lonely, elderly man who can see her outside his window. Their friendship is told with warmth and penetrating insight into each generation. Young readers will love it; younger children will love to hear it; any adult will be happy to give it voice. Cass is a retired elementary principal, with many literary credits in fine journals.

Keep up with our home page to see the details about these books as they are posted. It's exciting to have designers deliver us the new covers and to begin preorders. My Virtuous Sister is already up, so take a look, and be sure to visit the music website of our only rock-and-roll author: Nick Fowler's music.

--Ann Starr, Publisher

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Wil Haygood, Young Adults, and Young Writers

Last night I was among the many inspired by the towering historian and journalist Wil Haygood, who was back not only in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio but in his first alma mater, East High. The 1968-’69 championship basketball and baseball teams of East, composed all of black players in years of civil rights upheavals locally and nationally, are the subject of his book, Tigerland, which he launched on this joyous occasion.
Wil Haygood at the University of Vermont
Haygood brought many members of those extraordinary teams back for the occasion, and the stories of their teenaged struggles and triumphs were the meat of his generous, uplifting presentation. He stood as tall and square-shouldered as a basketball hero, but spoke as a preacher, with arm lifted and finger pointed heavenward as, time and again, he addressed Students. If Students need inspiration; if they need models; if they wonder how to proceed in life; if Students seek goals, then they can look to these men who in their youths filled with hardships and scant of resources, made their ways through discipline and courage to excellence and high achievement in adulthood.

I praise Haygood not even for his humble focus on others—so becoming in a man whose list of honors for his many books (including The Butler) and his long career at the Boston Globe and Washington Post recommend him to every reader and citizen. He persisted in pounding home the centrality of supporting high school students. He praised the youths who begat the excellent men assembled in the front row, calling for their coaches, families, and teachers to rise from the crowd and be recognized.

Best of all for me, a publisher, he made a point of asking students to come forward with their questions after his talk, even though none had dared enter the long line of adults waiting for the microphone. Two young women stepped up and asked intelligent questions focused on how Haygood broke into publishing.

Tigerland is a deeply researched book about how teenagers made it; the endings are necessarily multiple, complex, and in different keys.

Haygood didn’t write Tigerland for a YA market, but for a fully human one, that includes teens who will become adults. As the topic of Haygood’s book and very presence suggested, his book can inspire teens who want to write as adults about human experience—who write not as teens, but as aspiring adults, like the young women who took the mic to engage with him.

By reading widely in all literature and nonfiction, young writers can learn their craft; from their teachers and by taking the opportunities to hear writers like Haygood in their communities, they can find inspiration and practical knowledge to help them to their goals. We publishers too have a role in the advancement of young writers, by not assuming we publish content for limited ideas of supposed “teen level” or “teen taste,” but by aspiring for youth when we choose and market books that inspire next year's writers.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

A New Service for Self-Publishers

Upper Hand Press is adding an imprint. You may have seen it already on Facebook or Twitter; its webpage will be coming soon.

Kensington Place Books will serve the needs of a kind of writer whose work we often see but can't accommodate. These are people who offer good books for publication, but whose ultimate goals are to publish a book rather than to build a career as a writer. 

For these authors, self-publishing is probably the best course. 

Are you writing an intimate memoir; writing a family history; organizing a volume of poetry for limited distribution? Are you in a writing group that wishes to publish a volume of work; an educational institution that would like to do an anthology of student writing? These are the clients we anticipate serving.

Our designer is John Hubbard, who designs catalogues for museums and art galleries around the world, and whose work has been awarded by the Art Libraries Society of North America. He is designing a standard layout and a standard cover into which an author's artwork can be placed. His design features excellent typography integrated with the client's art. This arrangement offers the writer a world-class design at greatly reduced cost.

Upper Hand Press's long-standing connections offer printing in any quantity, ebooks, warehousing and distribution with Baker & Taylor, Amazon, and Ingram if needed.

Best of all, there's no dashboard. After the initial inquiry, everything is handled personally with our publisher/editor, Ann Starr, who will answer all your questions and guide you through the process to just the book you want.

If you think this may be the way to publish for you or for someone you know, contact Ann Starr either through a message on the KENSINGTON PLACE BOOKS Facebook Page, or through the message box at Upper Hand Press.

Take a look at our model cover. The title is made-up, but the design is not. This lettering and layout will sit atop the author's photo or art; or, Hubbard can produce an entirely new design.