The Corner Office: Indie Thinking Drives Dzanc Books
• What advice would you give to those in the industry who have not fully embraced the Web?
Gillis: The writers today are all online. Even the older writers now have their own Web pages. You expose yourself that way. That’s where people [who] read are. … It’s not that difficult to do. Just … getting on the blogs is easy. And if you’re looking at it from a business standpoint, you have to tap it. … We’re still going to try to get the traditional book review, but we’re really going to focus on the electronic medium, [too]. We’re going out to hit all the blogs and all the online journals and really market [Dzanc] that way—let everybody know us via the Internet. It’s worked. It’s truly where your audience is—everyone is online.
Wickett: I think the one advantage we had is that I had been active in the literary-blog arena for the two to three years prior [to launching Dzanc]. I had gotten my name out in front of the [others] bloggers … [so] they had a clue who was behind [Dzanc]. We got a little more attention online than most presses would in the first six months. We try to have a good dialog with the people we send books to and get reviews from.
• What’s the future look like for Dzanc and for independent publishers? Is it doom and gloom?
Wickett: I truly don’t think so—[and] not because I’m banking my future on it. I say that because I’m liking the stuff the bigger companies are staying away from. There are so many seemingly good, little companies that are starting up with just really top-notch first and second catalogs. I see more and more literary journals popping up. … A month before we announced, we started soliciting. We contacted six or seven journals we loved [and asked,] “Is there anyone who published [with you] who may have a story collection or a novel?” … That’s where we’re finding them. That’s where the other independent presses are finding the authors—through the journals.