If You Want Something Done Right

Independent Publishing Panel at Spoonbill & Sugartown
w/ Nathanial Kressen, Susan Kirschbaumb, Rami Shamir, and Maggie Craig

A couple Tuesdays ago, people of all writing creeds gathered in the small Spoonbill & Sugartown book shop in Williamsburg to hear a panel of independent authors discuss the publishing industry – past, present, and future.

Spoonbill is a cozy corner of friendly staff and patrons, cat hair, as well as books from popular lit to independently consigned works of art, by authors like those on the panel that night.

Nathaniel Kressen, author of Concrete Fever, Susan Kirschbaumb, author of Whotown, Rami Shamir, author of Train To Pokipse, and Maggie Craig, author of The Narrows represented a community of independent authors that is growing in New York and seeking to revolutionize the publishing industry as we know it.

They have wildly different backgrounds – from a newly published writer (Craig) to a veteran of fifteen years in journalism (Kirschbaumb). But what unites them is their belief in the power of the independent author to take full creative control of their work, and change the publishing game that runs the literary world.

Each writer emphasized this need for change, and predicted that independent and do-it-yourself publishing will quickly take shape, in this age where new technology has made it than ever to create and distribute content.

Though ‘”easy” is not how any would describe their publishing process. The amount of work put into each of their books is enormous: Nathanial Kressen and Maggie Craig handmake each copy of their books. But the painstaking process is worth it, they say. There is no artfulness lost; there is a deep connection between the author and the page, the page and the reader; they get to make a political and social statement by turning against mainstream publishing; and, overall, it puts the power back into the artist’s hands.

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