Q & A with Larry Moffi of Settlement House Press

Posted: October 6, 2010 by fsucenterforcreativewriting in Interview, Poetry

How did Settlement House get started?

Starting a small press was something I’d thought of doing, off and on, over the years. One day in a friend’s living room, he encouraged me by offering to help “bankroll” a small press if I wanted to oversee editorial operations, including selecting what the press published. I’d worked in publishing–magazines mostly, but also books, a newspaper and newsletters–for a good part of my adult life and thought this was an opportunity to apply what I’d learned to something no one would pay me to do and something I couldn’t afford to do on my own. I knew a number of poets with as many as 12 books of poems to their credit who couldn’t even get a manuscript read without paying a “reading fee” to be judged by “an anonymous poet” in a contest. So the decision was something of a no-brainer.

How have you seen the publishing industry change and how are you responding to it?

The change in the publishing industry has changed drastically over the years, particularly in the poetry genre. Whereas 30 or 35 years ago, a publisher could break even, often making a small profit, by publishing a book of poems in an edition of 2,500 to 5,000, that’s virtually impossible today. Too there are dozens–hundreds?–more small presses today than three decades ago. The proliferation of creative writing programs has produced more and more poets seeking publication. And more and more of them are finding the small press world as the most likely home to their work.

What are your opinions on self-publishing, online or in print?

Whitman published himself. Case closed there.  Online publishing is here to stay–though I still prefer print–and I think this will encourage more and more people to publish themselves.

What benefits do Settlement House offer writers?

Speaking only for myself, Settlement House is only going to publish what we believe deserves an audience, something we’re passionate about.

What mistakes should writers avoid when submitting to your Settlement House?

We’re not ready to accept unsolicited submissions right now. Perhaps in a year or two.

Other than what’s listed in your submission guidelines, what are you looking for in a submission?

See above.

What events/publications do you have coming up that we should look out for?

Settlement House will have a table at the AWP annual meeting in D.C. in 2011.

Larry Moffi

More information on Settlement House can be found on their website. Come to our Press Festival on October, 16th and talk to Larry directly!

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