Full disclosure: Lou is one of my dearest friends. She and I met about twenty years ago at a critique group and have been friends ever since. She not only is a Pushcart Prize nominated writer, for the past three years she and her husband Brian have operated High Hill press, a small publishing company dedicated to publishing well written books that otherwise might not have gotten noticed.
In Part I of our interview, Lou discusses how she got started in the publishing business, the mission of High Hill, what types of books she publishes, and the services her publishing company provides. My questions are in black, and Lou's responses are in blue.
You and your husband Bryan are CEOs and publishers of High Hill Press, a small press. Can you share with us a bit about your background and what inspired you to begin High Hill Press? My background is all over the place. I enjoyed a long and successful career as an artist, art teacher, and a Tea Room and shop owner. Then in 1992 I retired to write, and in 2008, my husband and I formed High Hill Press. After attending a writer's conference, I realized there was a need for something in between NY, and the Print on Demand publishers that were popping up like mushrooms. A good friend of mine published a beautiful book with Publish American and was very disappointed. On the way home from the conference I talked to my husband about starting a retirement business and that's what we did.
What are the goals and mission of High Hill Press? We want to publish as many great books as we can.
Do you specialize in any area of publishing, or are you open to all types of submissions? We'll take a look at any genre. The only requirement is that it be written well.
What are your criteria for submissions? Query letter? Synopsis? Proposal? Personal pitch? Word of Mouth? We try not to advertise too much but we're still getting an average of 80 contacts a month. We ask that they send the first and last chapter of a novel, a short story or two of a collection, a chapter and further chapter outlines of a nonfiction. And we want a bio of the author. If it looks like something we want, we ask for the entire manuscript and then we do what I refer to as the long and windy phone call. I won't work with someone I don't feel comfortable with, and that phone call tells me alot.What services do you provide that sets High Hill Press apart from most other small presses? A High Hill book will stay in print as long as the author wants it to. And while we're working with the author, we try to use as much input from them as we can with title, layout, and cover designs. Lately I've also been working on making our layouts prettier than the average perfect bound book. I'm paying attention to fonts and chapter headings. Most small press just do a simple layout, we're trying to make ours special.
Tune in Wednesday for Part II of the interview, when Lou will discuss her process for accepting manuscripts and what authors can expect after they sign with High Hill. She will also announce a giveaway of a book by one of her authors.