Cobalt: Tell us a little bit about Patasola Press. How did you get started? What do you publish?
Lisa Marie Basile: I wanted to publish work that is amazing, as any press does, but I wanted to have a special focus on identity and women writers. A lot of what I’m reading or publishing is by women (Kristina Marie Darling, Kiely Sweatt, Rae Bryant, Tiffany De Vos and more) or by writers who play with identity, like Joseph Quintela. Our last book was by J. A. Tyler, who is a genius and wrote a heart-wrenching book that rests somewhere between reality and myth, called Comatose. We also are publishing a chapbook that is basically a long exquisite corpse. We’re raising money for that now, along with a show series we do of performance and poetry. See here.
Cobalt: How do you obtain the manuscripts that you publish?
Basile: I obtain them either by having open submissions or directly speaking with poets I know who are seeking a publisher. Nothing is too formal. It’s all out of love and discovery.
Cobalt: How many Patasola books have come from previously unpublished authors? (Meaning, of course, that they had not published a book before.)
Basile: So far, the two books out now are by previously published authors, and some the others are by authors who’ve had chapbooks or publication credits but no books.
Cobalt: In the early stages of publishing a book from a new author, what are some of the first steps that you take as the publisher, and what are some of the responsibilities that you ask of the author?
Basile: The author definitely has to step up with social media, press releases and other promotional work. They’re also responsible for editing a lot of their work until the manuscript is ready. If i love something, but it needs work, I do ask for that. Each book’s process is different; sometimes it’s simple and sometimes it’s more a journey.
Cobalt: Let’s assume that you’ve just read a manuscript, love it, and are making that phone call (or sending that email) to the author. How does your end of that conversation typically go?
Basile: Hello X, I love your writing. Please let me publish it. Then they say, “yes” (hopefully), and the rest is history. It’s all pretty simple. However, because it’s basically a one-woman show, the production time is slow. I really give it up to people like Kristy Bowen, who is publishing nearly 200 titles at Dancing Girl Press, on her own. And of those 200, one will be mine! Publishing is a fantastic but stressful venture, but it also allows you to birth beautiful, eternal things.
Cobalt: You mention special attention to publishing women. Do you find that this provides you with any advantages, or presents challenges?
Basile: If it presented challenges, I would cut them down with swords. It only provides advantages to me. I am proud of the work I publish. Women are published. If you look at VIDA’s surveys (VIDA,too, will be including Patasola Press in their Editors’ feature of publishers who promote female voices), you’ll see that women aren’t being published as often as men. I don’t need to go into the reasoning. I just know that I want to be a vehicle for women writers. I don’t see challenges when I believe in something. It may be idealist, but I don’t care.
Cobalt: What about your publishing methods/process might you consider a “selling point” for a writer that has never worked with Patasola Press?
Basile: I think our selling points would be that we are author-focused. We let the author have full say in almost anything. If I think something should be changed, and the author believes in it, it stays. We’re also in NYC, and if the writer is in NYC, we have a plethora of events and places for the reader to read at and promote their work. We also publish really, really reputable, good writers. So, I think that’s a key selling point.
About Lisa Marie: Lisa Marie Basile is the author of Andalucia (Brothel Books.) A Decent Voodoo (Cervena Barva) and Triste (Dancing Girl Press) are both forthcoming. She is a graduate of the MFA program at The New School. Her work can be seen in PANK, kill author, the Dr. T.J Eckleberg Review, elimae, La Fovea & Pear Noir! among other publications. She has been nominated for a Pushcart prize. She is the founding editor of NYC-based Patasola Press and contributes to thethepoetry. She is an assistant editor for Fifth Wednesday Journal. She is also a managing member of The Poetry Society of New York.