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Publish is the New Post: Library Partners Press

“E-books are a lot like the internet,” says Bill Kane, Chair of Library Partners Press. “They change a lot…We all are so old now that orange is the new black is the new pink is the new black, if you follow me.”

For the editors at Library Partners Press, housed at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, many new syllogisms apply in this Brave New World of ours.

A dollar, for example, is the new free. Streaming is the new download. And perhaps most importantly, digital publishing is the new publishing.

Library Partners Press publishes “niche” nonfiction in both electronic and print-on-demand formats. LP Press is a cooperative program established by Wake Forest University, ZSR Library, and Digital Publishing @ Wake, for the purpose of collecting, publishing, and delivering content created by library patrons everywhere.

Recent titles include Five for Your First Five: Own Your Career and Life after College by Allison E. McWilliams; Mysterious Moments: Thoughts that Transform Grief by Jane Williams; and Trans / Active: a Biography of Gwendolyn Ann Smith by Sophia Cecelia Leveque.

LPP is currently accepting submissions for their first virtual Writer-in-Residence, through May 30. Residencies are intended to assist in the completion of a work-in-progress manuscript and its publication with Library Partners Press. Library Partners Press will arrange for the writers’ time, space, and facilities for research, experimentation, and production resulting in the publication of the Awardees’ manuscripts by the end of the (probably mostly virtual) residency. Writers are at liberty to structure their own time and activity throughout the residency, but are encouraged to engage with the librarians and staff and activities at Library Partners Press, either in person, or remotely.

Library Partners Press is now open for submissions, through May 30.

They especially seek content in the following nonfiction and creative nonfiction categories:

  • Biography (incl. autobiography, memoir)
  • Essays (including creative non-fiction, humor, narratives, lists, etc.)
  • History
  • Journalism / Reporting / Politics
  • Open Access (really probably anything here)
  • Reference / Textbook
  • and maybe some YA

LPP accepts query proposals through an online form found on their website. Authors may also submit full manuscripts for a not-insignificant fee of $99 per book.

Follow them on Twitter or visit their website,

After all, collaborate is the new control.

Festival to Honor Wilma Dykeman

Wilma Dykeman, NC Literary Hall of Fame inductee

This year’s Laughing Heart Literary Festival will honor NC Literary Hall of Fame inductee Wilma Dykeman:

In partnership with Malaprop’s Bookstore, The Laughing Heart Literary Festival is an annual literary festival that brings together writers and readers from the Appalachian region, providing an intimate setting for all to share the experience of books.

The festival runs August 3-5, 2018, and is limited to thirty attendees.

Held in Hot Springs, the weekend offers writers the opportunity to talk about the craft and businesss of writing, enjoy readings by North Carolina luminaries such as Wiley Cash, and partake in some good ‘ole barbeque and live music.

On Friday night of the festival, Jim Stokely (son of Wilma Dykeman), Terry Roberts, and Amy Greene will offer a conversation about Dykeman’s literary contributions and readings. This program is open to the public.

In addition, The Laughing Heart Literary Festival will offer a scholarship in the name of Wilma Dykeman for an emerging Appalachian writer to attend the conference.

Wilma Dykeman (1920-2006) lived all her life near the French Broad River in the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee. Born in Asheville, she was the only child of a mother whose people had lived in the North Carolina mountains since the eighteenth century.

Dykeman’s many honors included a Guggenheim Fellowship and the 1985 North Carolina Award for Literature. She held the honorary title of Tennessee State Historian from 1981 until she died.

She published more than sixteen books, including The French Broad (1955), one of the famous “Rivers of America” series; The Tall Woman and its sequel, The Tall Family; and Return the Innocent Earth (1973), loosely based on the fact that her husband belonged to the farming family that established the mammoth Stokely canning company.

For more information about The Laughing Heart Literary Festival, and to register, click here.

Among Okra Finalists, Tar Heel Writers Aplenty

The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance has announced their 2018 Book Prize finalists. Thirty titles across eight different categories have been selected as representing the best in Southern literature by independent Southern booksellers.

No One Is Coming to Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts is a finalist in Fiction (Southern Fiction). Stephanie served as the Final Judge for the NCWN 2018 Doris Betts Fiction Prize (the winners of which will be announced on Monday, May 7!).

Wiley Cash’s The Last Ballad is a finalist in Fiction (Literary). Wiley gave the Keynote Address at the NCWN 2017 Fall Conference.

Robert Beatty, who taught at the NCWN 2015 Fall Conference, had his new novel, Serafina and the Splintered Heart (Serafina Book 3), place as a finalist in the category of Fiction (Juvenille Fiction).

Wilmington’s Taylor Brown and David Joy of Western NC were nominated for Fiction (Literary) for their novels The River of Kings and The Weight of This World, respectively; and Asheville’s Joanne O’Sullivan’s novel Between Two Skies is a finalist in the category of Fiction (Young Adult).

For a complete list of finalists, click here.

The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) is a trade association which represents over 300 bookstores and thousands of booksellers in Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia and Mississippi.

Finalists for the 2018 Southern Book Prize go to juried panels of booksellers who will then decide on the winners in each category. Winners will be announced on July 4, “Independents Day.”

When Supernovae Collide: Blair

Those weren’t fireworks we were watching last New Year’s Eve.

Instead, as we turned the calendar to 2018, that incredible explosion of light we witnessed was actually the collision of two publishing supernovae: John F. Blair, Publisher, and Carolina Wren Press, two lauded, longtime North Carolina publishers that merged to become Blair, a new, non-profit press and…wait for it…hypernova of the literary world!

Carolina Wren Press was founded by Judy Hogan in 1976. Publishing authors from North Carolina as well as the greater South, CWP came to focus, over the years, on giving voice to marginalized voices or authors who had been too often neglected by mainstream publishing.

Meanwhile, John F. Blair, Publisher, founded in 1954, had become an established, award-winning publisher of fiction and nonfiction, including titles about coastal North Carolina; cookbooks; memoirs; and countless books by and about North Carolina, Southerners in general, and, increasingly, the United States.

The new Blair:

…combine(s) the strengths of its predecessors. Like John F. Blair, Publisher, it will offer new and backlist books about culture, history, travel, and food in the Southeastern US and beyond. Strengthened by this backlist, the new Blair will be able to expand the mission of Carolina Wren Press, publishing additional literary fiction titles of both national and regional interest, with a focus on new and diverse voices.

New titles include Donald Morrill’s debut novel Beaut, a haunting tale of marriage and madness told in a blend of poetry and prose; the poetry collection Little Domesday Clock by Sam Witt, winner of both the Katherine Nason Bakeless First Book Prize (2000) and the Cleveland State University Press Open Book competition (2006); and two memoirs, This African-American Life by Hugh B. Price and Witness to Change by Sybil Morial.

Have a book you think might be perfect for Blair? You can check out the full guidelines on their submission page:

Blair is a small, independent press interested in publishing voices from beyond the mainstream. We publish prose and poetry by underrepresented writers such as women, people of color, authors with disabilities, LGBT authors, and experimental writers.

We are also interested in nonfiction works, particularly those by underrepresented writers, authors working on subject of cultural, natural, and historical interest in the American South and beyond.

Blair accepts unsolicited submissions through its three annual contests as well.

The Bakwin Award for Writing by a Woman (now open!) honors full-length prose work (novel, short story collection, or memoir) by an author who is a woman. The winner will receive a $1,000 honorarium, and the winning book will be published by Blair. Deadline: June 15.

The Lee Smith Novel Prize awards cash and publication to a novel by a Southerner and/or about the American South. This contest will open again for submissions in the summer of 2019.

And the Carolina Wren Press Poetry Series will open again for submissions at a time TBD. The most recent winner was the debut poetry collection Binary Stars by Dana Koster.

Visit Blair on the web at and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Celebrate Indie Bookstore Day!


Saturday, April 28, is Independent Bookstore Day. Who’s ready to paaaaarty?

Always held on the last Saturday of the month in April, Independent Bookstore Day:

is a one-day national party that takes place at indie bookstores across the country….Independent bookstores are not just stores, they’re community centers and local anchors run by passionate readers. They are entire universes of ideas that contain the possibility of real serendipity. They are lively performance spaces and quiet places where aimless perusal is a day well spent.

In a world of tweets and algorithms and pageless digital downloads, bookstores are not a dying anachronism. They are living, breathing organisms that continue to grow and expand. In fact, there are more of them this year than there were last year. And they are at your service.

We really couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Plenty of North Carolina bookstores are getting in on the fun. A not-remotely comprehensive list is below; check store websites for updates and further details.

Malaprop’s Bookstore & Cafe in Asheville is offering up free audiobooks that can be collected on April 28.

Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh offers a full day of scheduled events, from chalk art to storytime to celebrity booksellers and live music.

The Regulator Bookshop in Durham will hold raffles for Advanced Readers Copies and gift certificates and is taking donations of gently used children’s books to donate to Book Harvest.

Even if there’s nothing official planned at your local independent purveryor of books, why not make time on Saturday, April 28, to stop by and pick up something, just to let your neighborhood bookstore know how much you love them?

Can’t make it to a bookstore on that day? There’s still time to order schwag that you can wear, well, anywhere.

For more information about Independent Bookstore Day, visit

Poem in Your Pocket Day

This is the first we’ve heard of this holiday, but it sounds fun to us: Thursday, April 26, is “National Poem in Your Pocket Day.”

Part of National Poetry Month, Poem in Your Pocket Day encourages literati to “select a poem, carry it with you, and share it with others at schools, bookstores, libraries, parks, workplaces, street corners, and on social media using the hashtag #pocketpoem.”

Poem in Your Pocket Day was initiated in April 2002 by the Office of the Mayor in New York City, in partnership with the city’s Departments of Cultural Affairs and Education. In 2008, the Academy of American Poets took the initiative to all fifty United States, encouraging individuals around the country to participate. In 2016, the League of Canadian Poets extended Poem in Your Pocket Day to Canada.

Unsure about how your sharing will be received? You can download a PDF of helpful instructions.

Tip of the cap to Blue Ridge Books in Waynesville, who turned us onto this holiday. This indie bookseller is handing out FREE poems every day in April. They have a board in the store for customers to write down their favorite poem title or poet. They will also hold a drawing to win a prize (winners announced April 26).

Much obliged!

NCWN’s Spring Conference in the News

Anne Anthony, courtesy of “Listen to Your Mother” photographer Traci Huffman Photography

As big-league pitcher Dizzy Dean is said to have quipped, “It ain’t braggin’ if you can back it up.”

So we feel okay about sharing our news this week that we have set an attendance record for our upcoming Spring Conference on Saturday, April 21.

161 registrants, at least, will join us on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

As part of this build-up, we’ve been in the news. We wanted to share some links that highlight our immensely talented faculty:

Clearly, Tar Heel writers are as excited as we are for this Saturday. We hope to see you there!

On-site registration opens at 8:00 am in the MHRA Building  on UNCG’s campus.

Introducing Spring Conference Exhibitors: P. III

Over the past week or so we’ve been introducing the exhibitors who’ll be staffing booths at the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2018 Spring Conference.

The exhibit hall is a great opportunity to get a jump on your summer reading, buy some books and literary journals, and shop local. It’s also the ideal time to chat with the literary professionals at each table, who can offer up an insider’s perspective on the current state of books and the literary world at large.

If you missed our first two posts, they’re here and here.

Now bringing us home….

Library Partners Press:
Library Partners Press, the digital publishing imprint of Wake Forest University, aims to publish quality books (of any length and size, in both electronic and print-on-demand formats) created by Wake Forest University and North Carolina library patrons and friends. Recent titles include Thriver’s Quest by M.E. Hart. Part poetry, part memoir, part healing guide, Thriver’s Quest introduces the MiniQuest writing process—The Call, The Quest, and The Return—to help us tell our own stories, in our own way. A self-described “hybrid-indie” small press, LPP uses various print-on-demand and digital platforms to offer “publishing and distribution services to content creators looking to have their works collected and preserved and protected by libraries post-publication.” Authors submit potential projects to the press, which are screened by one or more members of the editorial board.

North Carolina Poetry Society:
With more than 350 members from North Carolina and beyond, the NC Poetry Society is an all-volunteer organization devoted to poets and lovers of poetry. The Poetry Society holds regular meetings four times a year in Southern Pines at the Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities. In addition, NCPS sponsors annual contests for adults and students, which offer cash prizes and award certificates; the annual Poet Laureate Award, judged by the state’s poet laureate; the annual Brockman-Campbell Book Award, recognizing the best book published by a North Carolina poet; and the annual Lena M. Shull Book Award, selecting for publication the best full-length unpublished poetry manuscript by a poet living in North Carolina, where the winning manuscript is published by St. Andrews University Press, and the winning poet leads a workshop and gives a reading at Poetry Day Hickory in April. Membership is a steal at $30 a year ($10 for students).

Press 53:
A longtime publisher of poetry and short fiction based in Winston-Salem, the Spring 2018 list for Press 53 is pretty exciting. To start things off, there’s a new poetry collection from NC Literary Hall of Fame inductee and current NC poet laureate Shelby Stephenson, Our World; plus additional poetry collections from beloved Tar Heel poets Michele Beadle, Mark Cox, Holly Iglesias, and more. On the fiction side, new story collections by Nathan Alling Long and Joseph Rein should be available for purchase at Spring Conference, with another, Collateral Damage by Kevin C. Jones, on the way. And that’s just the front list! The back list includes Taylor Brown, Terri Kirby Erickson, Gabrielle Brant Freeman, Marjorie Hudson, Steve Mitchell, Maura Way, and NC Literary Hall of Fame inductees Doris Betts, Kathryn Stripling Byer, John Ehle, Robert Morgan, and many more. Editor Kevin Morgan Watson will serve as a panelist for Slush Pile Live! at the NCWN 2018 Spring Conference.

Prospective Press:
It’s a story that bears repeating: editor Jason T. Graves was sitting on one of the panels at Slush Pile Live! when an attendee approached him afterward and pitched her first novel. That attendee was NCWN member Paige L. Christie, and the manuscript she pitched became Draigon Weather, which has received high praise from Publisher’s Weekly and many others. The sequel, Wing Wind, is coming out any day! Other new titles include The Would-Be Virgin and other Romantic Tales by Susan Surman, who the Winston-Salem Journal described as writing with “authenticity, deep passion, and sly wit.” And Mouse by Richard Ford Burley tells the story of an unlikely protagonist tasked with stopping the apocolypse, which author Deb Loughea called a “clever and compelling mash-up of magical realism and fantasy.” Jason will once again serve as a Slush Pile Live! panelist at the NCWN 2018 Spring Conference.

Stanley Donkoski:
Stanley Dankoski is a certified Gateless Writing instructor. The Gateless methodology is based on brain science, allowing the writer to befriend the inner critic so the inner genius can thrive. If you have a completed draft of a novel that needs another set of eyes, Stan offers developmental and editing services. His fiction appears at Literary Orphans, The Great Smokies Review, and Lime Hawk. His first published story landed on the 2016 Wigleaf longlist, and another was a semifinalist for the William Van Dyke Short Story Prize. You’ll also see Stan taking photographs around Spring Conference: he’s the official conference photographer! (To see more about his literary portraits and event photography, click here.)

Sip, Savor, Enjoy: McFarland & Company

The northwestern corner of North Carolina, near the Tennessee and Virginia borders, is home to one of the leading nonfiction publishers in the United States: McFarland and Company, Inc., Publishers.

Producing 400 new titles each year (with a backlist of more than 6,000), McFarland is especially revered for its serious works in such popular fields as pop culture (especially film), sports (especially baseball), and automotive history.

New books include Understanding Sabermetrics: An Introduction to the Science of Baseball Statistics – 2nd Edition by Gabriel B. Costa, Michael R. Huber, and John T. Saccoman; The Love of Baseball: Essays by Lifelong Fans, edited by Christine Arvidson and Diana Nelson Jones, including essays by former NC poet laureate Joseph Bathanti and NCWN communications director Charles Fiore; The Manson Family on Film and Television by Ian Cooper; Uncovering Stranger Things: Essays on Eighties Nostalgia, Cynicism, and Innocence in the Series by Kevin J. Wetmore, Jr.; Power Under Her Foot: Women Enthusiasts of American Muscle Cars by Chris Lezotte; and Auto-Racing in the Shadow of the Great War by Robert Dick.

Because McFarland began (and continues as) a library-oriented publisher, their proposal and submission guidelines are extensive and should be followed closely.

They are especially known for “covering topics of popular appeal in a serious and scholarly fashion, and for going to great lengths to manufacture [their] books to the highest standards and library specifications.” Note that with exceedingly rare exceptions they do not publish fiction, poetry, or books for children.

Because they’re more of an academic publisher, you won’t normally find their titles in box stores like Barnes & Noble, although any bookstore can order McFarland & Co. books, including indies.

While the typical price point for their titles, typically $25 and up, may disuade the casual buyer, purchasing a McFarland & Company book is akin to buying a bottle of good whisky. You may pay a little more, but in return you are assured that careful attention has been paid to the quality of the product. Sip, savor, and enjoy.

Given the deep connection in western North Carolina to all things Scottish, many people wonder, why McFarland?

In addition to “McFarland” being a family name for founder Robert Franklin, it was in part chosen because of a strong North Carolina and Tennessee heritage. One early namesake, Robert McFarland, was an officer at the Battle of Kings Mountain, later spent time in or near the Ashe County, North Carolina area, then went on to become the first ever sheriff of Greene County, Tennessee. That McFarland’s grandson, Robert McFarland, fought at Vicksburg and was a justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court in the 1870s and 80s. There’s also a Scottish connection. The “McFarland’s Lantern” of Scottish folklore has been incorporated into the company logo, and the clan tartan appears on the company banner.

Shop McFarland and Company on their website, and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Introducing Spring Conference Exhibitors: Part II

Pre-registration for the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2018 Spring Conference ends Sunday, April 15.

In the meantime, we’ll be highlighting our exhibitors. The exhibit hall is a great chance to truly shop local and stock up on your summer reading material!

We highlighted four exhibitors last week here.

Here are four more:

Bull City Press:
The big news out of Durham this week is that Yuki Tanaka has won the 2018 Frost Place Chapbook Competition, which Bull City Press sponsors annually, for his manuscript Séance in Daylight. Tanaka receives a fellowship to the Frost Place Poetry Seminar, a $250 prize, and a week to live and write in the Frost Place house in Franconia, NH. Séance in Daylight will be published in September of 2018. Jill Osier’s new chapbook, from, is coming out any day: she won the 2017 Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award and the 2013 Frost Place Chapbook Competition. Also out this Spring: Tunsiya/Amrikiya by Leila Chatti, the Editor’s Selection from the 2017 Frost Place Chapbook Competition. Chatti, a Tunisian-American, explores the nuances of multicultural identity, the necessity of family, and the perennial search for belonging. From vantage points on both sides of the Atlantic, Chatti investigates the perpetual exile that comes from always being separated from some essential part of oneself. Bull City Press also publishes a literary journal, inch, devoted to the most compressed literary work.

Greensboro Bound:
The inaugural Greensboro Bound Literary Festival happens May 18-20 in various locations around downtown Greensboro. Over seventy authors will host readings, panels, talks, and more. Those authors include former Piedmont Laureate John Claude Bemis, author of The Wooden Prince, among many others; poet Nikole Brown; former NC poet laureate and NC Literary Hall of Fame inductee Fred Chappell; novelist Naima Coster; Steve Cushman, winner of the 2018 Lena Shull Book Award for his first full-length poetry collection, How Birds Fly; poet Nikki Giovanni, named one of Oprah Winfrey’s 25 “Living Legends”; author Jessica Jacbos; poets Terry L. Kennedy, Michael McFee, Joe Mills, and Lauren Moseley; novelists Elaine Neil Orr and Michael Parker; poet Emilia Phillips; author and storyteller (and NCWN membership coordinator) Deonna Kelli Sayed; fiction writer and NC Literary Hall of Fame inductee Lee Smith; fiction writers Daniel Wallace and Michele Young-Stone; and a whole lot more. Greensboro Bound hosts literary events throughout the year in Greensboro.

The Greensboro Review:
The Greensboro Review, a literary magazine published by The MFA in Creative Writing Program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, has been willfully and defiantly “old school” since it’s founding in 1966. Back then, it appeared more or less exactly as it does today, offering readers a simple cover, no distracting graphics, and a complete and total focus on the quality of the text. Recent authors include fiction writer Jacob M. Appel; poets Matthew Olzmann, Matthew Poindexter, and Alan Shapiro; Pulitzer-Prize winning poet Claudia Rankine; and Pulitzer-nominated fiction writer Kelly Link. TGR editor Terry L. Kennedy will serve as a panelist for the “Slush Pile Live!” program at the NCWN 2018 Spring Conference, where attendees will also be able to park for free in the Oakland Avenue parking deck courtesy of the MFA in Creative Writing Program at UNCG. The Greensboro Review spnosors the annual Robert Watson Literary Prizes, which will reopen on February 16.

NC Literary Map:
The mission of the North Carolina Literary Map is to highlight the literary heritage of the state by connecting the lives and creative work of authors to real (and imaginary) geographic locations. Through the development of a searchable and browseable data-driven online map, users are able to access a database, learning tools, and cultural resources, to deepen their understanding of specific authors as well as the cultural space that shaped these literary works. Housed at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, the NC Lit Map focuses on works written about North Carolina and authors who were born in North Carolina, who currently live or have lived in North Carolina, who have written about North Carolina, or who have made a significant contribution to the North Carolina’s literary landscape. The NC Lit Map offers several Literary Walking Tours around the state, including Asheville, Charlotte, Greensboro, and Wilmington. Their website also offers educational resources for elementary, middle school, and high school students.