In my last article I gushed about my time at the Denver Publishing Institute, the insight I gained, and the people I met there. It was a wonderful experience for me, and I hope that those of you looking for a way into the business will consider spending your summer there this year. However, I acknowledge that Denver may seem like a remote and esoteric place to host a publishing institute, especially since the University of Denver doesn’t even offer a degree in publishing. And I’m sure my article left many of you thinking, “All right, the program sounds legit. But why would anyone ever put a publishing institute in Denver? Why not just go to New York City?”
Well, reader, you’re not entirely wrong. As I’ve said before, New York is certainly the center of the American publishing industry. The Big Six and many smaller houses have their headquarters there. But publishing is not confined to New York, and it just so happens that Denver has an important place in the publishing industry of the West.
Look again and you’ll see that Denver, and indeed the West in general, offers an array of book-related opportunities that you might never know about if you stayed in the New York metro area. I’ve already mentioned the amazing Tattered Cover bookstore, which is one of the biggest independent bookstores in the country, with three locations in and around the city of Denver. It is a coveted customer for publishers’ sales reps, and its location makes it a prime venue for authors on their book tours. When I was a student at DPI, we had a field trip to Tattered Cover see Kirk Farber, who was there to promote his debut novel Postcards from a Dead Girl and to talk with us about his editorial process. Students this past summer met with David Wroblewski, author of the critically-acclaimed, New York Times-bestselling Story of Edgar Sawtelle. Attracting big names and big sales, the Tattered Cover is a Denver landmark, a national treasure, and one of the last bastions of brick-and-mortar bookselling in an age dominated by the online marketplace.
But there are bookstores, even independent bookstores, all over the country, you say. Why Denver? Well, for starters, the Tattered Cover’s owner is also the director of the Publishing Institute, so it makes perfect sense that the program would take place in Denver. But the Denver area has more to offer the budding publisher than a big (and admittedly awesome) bookstore. Denver is also home to the offices of Fulcrum Publishing, an independent publisher whose books cover a range of genres but focus largely on the environment, local history and culture.
Nearby Loveland, Colorado, is home to Interweave Press, one of the nation’s largest arts and crafts publishers. They publish industry-leading magazines and books about knitting, crochet, quilting, sewing, beading, jewelry-making, painting, drawing, spinning, and weaving. Denver is also one of the hubs of PubWest, a trade association of small publishers, printers, designers, binderies, marketers, etc., in the region. And it is attracting start-ups like WaveCloud, an eBook distributor and marketer that is working to create a Goodreads-like social media experience for authors and readers.
I don’t doubt that I’ve left out many independent presses and other book-related business located in the Denver area. My point is that publishing happens everywhere, and just because you’re not in New York doesn’t mean that you can’t make meaningful strides in the publishing industry.
Do you work in publishing somewhere other than New York? How have you found the publishing community in your area?