April 19, 2022
Note From Rochelle
At my house, we celebrated Easter with a tissue box in one hand and a book in the other. We all have colds—but the free weekend offered an opportunity to lie on the couch and read. I read several mysteries including Crime and Punctuation by Kaitlyn Dunnett and Homicide and Halo-Halo by Mia P. Manansala. I’m also delighting in Lauren Groff’s medieval nun novel, Matrix.
Today’s tip offers a brand new feature for Write Now! Coach: Publishers@Work. In this series, we’ll spotlight small publishers. Feel free to share this newsletter with your colleagues and friends. And if you know a good small publisher, send them my way!
Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach
Publishers@Work: Hidden Timber Books
by Christi Craig
Steno note pads, spiral notebooks, an accounting ledger. One woman writing daily for almost 37 years (even when no one was reading). Seventy-seven volumes of stories about life, politics, and history. These ingredients, held together, became the cornerstone of Hidden Timber Books.
A tiny press in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Hidden Timber Books was founded by Lisa Rivero in 2016 and the name chosen to honor her Great Aunt Hattie, a homesteader living near the community of Hidden Timber on the Rosebud Indian Reservation during the early to mid 1900s and author of those 77 volumes. When Hattie Whitcher’s journals were passed down to Lisa, she recognized the value in this woman’s daily entries as a record of an important time in history but also as an intimate tapestry of stories woven together by one woman’s unique perspective.
Hattie’s diaries are now part of the South Dakota State Historical Society, but her spirit remains an integral part of the work we do at Hidden Timber Books. When I took over as publisher in 2019, I made a commitment to carry forward Lisa’s dedication to publish stories rooted in time and place, written by authors whose voices have been traditionally overlooked or dismissed. Stories that reveal social and historical context, cultural and philosophical insight.
In truth, the mission behind Hidden Timber Books is to cultivate a strong and diverse literary community of authors and readers.
But like all things writing and publishing, none of this happens in isolation. In my first year as owner of Hidden Timber, I recognized that I would never survive as a one-woman show and cultivating that strong and diverse literary community at Hidden Timber meant inviting strong and diverse creatives to work alongside me.
PUBLISHING ASSISTANT VANESSA DAUNAIS from Montreal brings several years’ experience working with small presses and understands the care and cooperative approach to an author’s work (often the author’s debut work) that we foster at Hidden Timber. She is also younger than me and comes to the table with a different network of literary contacts. And she has an excellent eye for pairing authors together for our Small Press Author Reading Events.
BOOK and GRAPHIC DESIGNER JADE BUREL from St. Louis is an amazing artist (she designed the cover of Bone Broth by Lyndsey Ellis) and to hear her talk about her creative process – again, the care in honoring an author’s work – makes her a perfect fit. Plus, she’s proven to be quite patient when it comes to a publisher who has been known to send multiple emails in five minutes (sorry Jade!).
And recently, F. DOUGLAS BROWN has joined Hidden Timber Books as our POETRY EDITOR. I interviewed Doug several years ago about his poetry collaboration with Geffrey Davis, in the Floodgate Poetry Series, volume 3. Later, Doug and I worked together on The Friday Framework, a poetry reading series hosted by Doug and featuring BIPOC Poets.
Doug is the author of two poetry collections, ICON (Writ Large Press, 2018), and Zero to Three (University of Georgia, 2014), winner of the 2013 Cave Canem Poetry Prize selected by US Poet Laureate, Tracy K. Smith. He is both a Cave Canem and Kundiman fellow and was selected by Poets & Writers as one of their ten notable Debut Poets of 2014. His poems and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies such as the Academy of American Poets, The PBS News Hour, The Langston Hughes Review, The Virginia Quarterly, and Teaching Black: The Craft of Teaching on Black Life and Literature (University of Pittsburg, 2021). (Phew!) An educator for over 25 years, he currently teaches African American Poetry and African American Studies at Loyola High School of Los Angeles, where he serves as the Director of the Office of Equity and Inclusion.
In the coming months, avid reader and book reviewer Dani Roulette, Ojibwe from Dog Creek First Nation, will join us as the Indigenous voice, introducing readers (and writers) to Indigenous authors, their work, and the stories behind the stories.
As small as we are, we are a powerhouse crew, and I am grateful for the work we have been able to accomplish in our short time together and will continue to do this coming year.
Bookmark our website, subscribe to our newsletter, get to know our crew and the books we publish. And keep an eye out for updates on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, as we’ll be opening up our call for submissions again in September.
#YourStoryMatters – fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, and we can’t wait to read it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Christi Craig lives in Wisconsin, working by day in student accessibility services and moonlighting as a writer, teacher, and editor. She is also the Publisher at Hidden Timber Books. Her own stories and essays have appeared online and in print, most recently in The Sunlight Press and Stonecoast Review. Visit her website at christicraig.com.