Happy Second Anniversary, Astraea Press!
by Jeff Salter
Not sure why we’re blogging about birthdays this week, but we are. At first I drew a blank, but then I realized my publishing company is observing its second birthday this month, so it fits right in!
When I think of some of the storied histories of the better known New York publishing houses, I’ve been awed at how much influence they’ve wielded in the universe of letters. Some of them go back a century or more; most were already big names in publishing long before I was first aware of books … nearly six decades ago.
All that is only to say: each of the most famous publishers you’ve ever heard of … began with a concept, an investment, some sacrifice, a marketing plan, and a good story to print. At some point, every one of these big name publishers likely started with similar general circumstances — someone recognized a need that was not being met or believed they could do a better job at meeting the needs and desires of readers / buyers. Or perhaps they thought they could publish potentially great books that were falling through cracks left by the other publishers currently operating.
But they all started with the first functional day, that initial manuscript query, the starting round of edits on their very first contracted book.
And all this leads me up to the second anniversary of Astraea Press, the brainchild of publisher Stephanie Taylor, who saw a need not being met, believed she could assemble ‘clean’ stories which readers wanted, and knew there were great books falling the cracks elsewhere.
It took vision, concept, investment, sacrifice, good stories, faith … and lots of guts. Stephanie has admitted that several people tried to talk her out of trying and others (who knew she was forging ahead anyway) tried to discourage her. Yet she prevailed. I won’t pretend to know the exact numbers, but Astraea (in two short years) has collected some 150 authors and published well over 200 titles. Some have won awards and some have appeared on prominent best-seller lists.
Stephanie and her crew have built a wonderful sense of community and mutual encouragement among the A.P. authors: when good news is shared, we cheer for each other … when it’s not so good, we commiserate and console. There’s a healthy sense of competition, but I believe all of us recognize that when any Astraea title or author does well, it makes things potentially better for all of us.
As I’ve told Stephanie, I feel I have found a home with A.P. and sincerely hope to publish many other novels here.
So, during the anniversary month of February, I dedicate this blog column to Astraea Press and to its Founder / CEO Stephanie Taylor, who had the vision, faith, and courage to launch a company to publish clean fiction. Also to the A.P. staff I’ve had the great fortune to work with, including Kay Springsteen Tate, Opal Campbell, Cheryl Grey, Traci Pollitt, Elaina Lee, and Stephy Smith.
Happy Second Birthday, A.P.!