You started Chelsea Station Editions in 2010, and your list currently includes 12 books either already released or coming out this year, is that right?
Yes, but I am already addressing some titles that will come out in 2012, including new works by David Pratt, Jon Marans, and Felice Picano, all of whom I published this year.
How big’s your staff?
One. (Me). I edit, copyedit, layout, design, market, publicize, and publish all the books with a one-man staff (me). It gives me a hands-on control, which I feel is very important. I do have help with the Web site from Andrew Beierle, an author (First Person Plural) and good friend who is very talented in Web design. I also have incredible help from the authors who help publicize and market their own work.
What was your reason for starting Chelsea Station?
With the demise of Haworth, Carroll & Graff, Suspect Thoughts, and Alyson and the increasing disappearance of gay books from the market, I felt it was important to establish a press for gay literary works that were not able to find a home at other publishers.
What do you see as the biggest challenge for your press as well as LGBTQ publishers in general?
Finding readers and getting the attention of people who would want to buy and read gay books. For the generation that I came of age with, gay books were how we discovered ourselves—reading gay novels and short stories and memoirs and personal accounts. Now that there is more gay visibility on TV, movies, music and politics, gay literature has to compete with these other mediums.
Are your titles available as e-books?
Most of our books are available in e-books, which I do myself. It has been a learning curve for me to learn how to create the books in all of the formats that now exist.
What were some of the unexpected issues you faced while starting up Chelsea Station? Would you do anything differently?
The costs associated with being a new publisher have always been worrisome, and Chelsea Station has grown very fast. I’ve never been someone who had a lot of money or made a lot of money, but everyone thinks that because you are a publisher you have money and financing. I only publish books that I adore and feel have merit. I don’t publish the books to make a profit, and the press is financed by the salary I make at a very demanding day job. I put as much as I can into making wonderful books, so I have been surprised to encounter independent booksellers I have dealt directly with who won’t pay their bills in a responsible manner. And there are also many independent booksellers who won’t carry books published by a small press, which I find so strange and problematic—they only want to carry the same books that are sold by the big chain stores.
In what direction do you hope to take the press in the next few years?
I publish books that I adore and want to share with other readers. I’d love the press to grow by our authors recommending future works that they adore and want to share with readers.