From the Publisher’s Desk: PW Star Watch


You know those dreams about the industry, the magical ones about how we think publishing should work?

Earlier this month–after a hectic summer–I went to New York City for a few days to attend the Publishers Weekly Star Watch party, since I am a 2017 honoree. Rosanne Parry, the bookseller and awesome middle-grade author, nominated me for the honor. Forty-five up and coming publishing industry members were recognized–and I was the only one with the title of publisher.

The Star Watch party was at the TAO Downtown Nightclub in Manhattan. There was a line to get in, and sparkly gold balloons. Honorees got their photos taken with a Star Watch background, red-carpet style. (See the photo, courtesy of PW, at right. See more photos here.)

My writer-friend Melea (in the above photo), within about five minutes of meeting me, found out I was an honoree and immediately offered me a place to stay. Once I got my tickets and confirmed with Melea,I found the perfect sparkly dress at a boutique in McMinnville. The designer, Frock Shop, is based in Seattle, the dress was on sale, and I bought it after viewing the eclipse in totality.\

In my four days in New York, I dined, visited, coffee-d, and walked with authors, agents, publishing executives, and a mentor from my distribution company. I stayed out late, I sat in public parks, I breathed. On the last day I took the good-old 33 bus out to my old neighborhood, visited the Forest Avenue I named my press after, and talked for hours with my dear friend Priya, who then drove me to the airport.

The Star Watch honor would have been lovely if I hadn’t gone, but being there made me realize how far this press has come, and how grateful I am to the authors, readers, and freelance talent, all of you who have combined to help us make beautiful books that sell. We’re in this.

Michael Shou-Yung Shum’s Queen of Spades is forthcoming Oct. 10. We have gorgeous final copies in stock. Michael will be at the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association in about a week and a half, meeting booksellers and librarians before his Oct. 11 event at Powell’s with his wife, debut fiction author Jaclyn Watterson (Ventriloquisms, Willow Springs), and superstar Alexis Smith (Marrow Island, Glaciers). You can learn more about Queen of Spades on the catalog page. Please consider buying a copy–or two! It’d make a great gift because of its classic tone, its cleverness, and how it transports readers into the behind-the-scenes world of a casino. Michael sold the book to me originally as a mashup of of the Pushkin short story of the same name and a Hong Kong gambling flick. Plus it has a fabulous Gigi Little original cover, and a gorgeous queen of spades card illustration inside. (You’ll have to get your hands on a copy to see that.)

Here’s the PW article, which talks about me as if my achievement of distribution for Forest Avenue was the big reason I got chosen. I’m pretty sure it had everything to do with community building and the work we’ve been doing for five years… because all the presses there had distribution so that certainly didn’t set me apart. And yet, I’ll take it. An industry award, being recognized at our five year anniversary, and getting to go to New York to celebrate with industry members and friends? A dream come true. I’m still starry-eyed.



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