by Tyler Jensen
MSUM’s New Rivers Press is starting its publishing year with a new way to make money and, maybe, earn some awards.
Two months ago, the publisher, located in Weld, started an Indiegogo campaign to raise money for its projects. Managing editor Nayt Rundquist said the campaign was an experiment to see if an online fundraiser could be successful for them. That “experiment” raised nearly $3,000.
“There wasn’t any set (amount) of money we needed to get, “ he said. “We’ve got the funding where we need it, it’s just seeing what else we could generate to make it a bit more financially profitable.”
Like any publisher, New Rivers Press needs money to publish and print its books.
In Weld, the process of publishing a book begins with writers from across the nation submitting their work. Rundquist said the press picks several manuscripts, which are edited by students seeking their certificate in publishing. Once the editors have pored over copy the authors have sent them, they turn it over to a printer in the Cities called Book Mobile.
“We do the designing, the editing — basically everything to get the book ready,” Rundquist said. “(Book Mobile creates) the actual, physical book.”
Overall, Rundquist said, it can take up to two years for a work to go from being an author’s manuscript to an actual book for sale.
Two books published on campus in 2015 are receiving some attention from critics in Minnesota. A novel and book of poetry were selected as two of the top four finalists in their categories for the Minnesota Book Awards, sponsored by Friends of the St. Paul Public Library.
“The Patron Saint of Lost Comfort Lake” by Rachel L. Coyne of Minneapolis is a novel about a lawyer and single mother trying to solve her problems, including an abusive childhood and a marriage ruined by drinking.
Published last spring, it’s a finalist in the novel/short story collection category. “Home Studies” by Judie Gard of Duluth is a collection of poems that came out in October and a finalist in the poetry category.
For Rundquist, the nominations are significant.
“It’s kind of a big deal in the small press publishing world,” he said. “Minnesota’s a big force in small press, so it’s a pretty big deal, it’s pretty exciting.”
This is the first time in recent years New Rivers Press has had two finalists, Rundquist said. While the publisher has won awards in the past, the Minnesota Book Awards are the pinnacle of local publishing achievement.
The thrill of being nominated extends beyond the editing team at New Rivers Press. Intern Mikaila Norman, who has worked on a couple of books, is among those looking forward to the recognition winning the awards may bring.
“It’s very cool for me, as a college student, to be part of something that could get national recognition, or even just the state recognition,” she said.
Minnesota Book Awards winners are announced at a gala awards ceremony in April.