- Lauren Murrah
Austin, Texas is home to more than just South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival and delicious breakfast tacos. Austinites have always gone their own way and currently they are maintaining their independent streak with a burgeoning literary side. This Hill Country city has earned a spot as one of the US’s 12 best places for book lovers. Check out Austin’s literary side with their ten best independent book publishers.
Host Publications, Inc.
Host Publications was founded by a husband-and-wife team who wanted to provide a spotlight for international authors. After both graduated with PhDs from the University of Texas at Austin, Joe W. Bratcher, III and Elzbieta Szoka created HOST. Over time, Host has published literature from countries like Poland, Chile, Turkey, Brazil, and Belgium as well as cutting-edge material from American authors. Standouts include Nobel Prize winners Pablo Neruda and Wisława Szymborska, plus Texas author/editor David Oliphant.
Host Publications, Inc., 1000 E 7th St #201, Austin, TX, USA, + 1 512 236 1290
A Strange Object
Run out of a little office in East Austin, A Strange Object Press was founded in 2012 by Jill Meyers and Callie Collins, two experienced literary editors. This indie press has dedicated itself to ‘surprising, heartbreaking fiction alongside thoughtful ephemeral’ — literary works that take big risks and push the limits. They keep the number of published works very small, committing to authors and literature that they fully believe in. Works worth looking into are Katie Chase’s Man and Wife, a collection of stories following women through common rites of passage, and Nicholas Grider’s Misadventure, a collection that explores the desires and conflicts between men.
A Strange Object, Austin, TX, USA
Eakin Publications, Inc. was launched in 1979 as a trade-book publisher in Burnet. The company relocated to Austin in 1983 and its output reached a total of 250 books in print. Though its bread and butter are Texana topics (Texas history and culture), Eakin has come to include contemporary fiction and literary nonfiction. In 2013, Eakin Press was acquired by Wild Horse Media Group; the Fort Worth-based company has become the largest publisher of Texana in the world. Current available titles include the historical fiction A Paradise Called Texas, fictional biography Girl of the Alamo, and the newly released biography Sam Houston: A Study in Leadership.
Wild Horse Media Group, P.O. Box 331779, Fort Worth, TX, USA, + 1 888 982 8270
Langmarc Publishing started over two decades ago producing inspirational trade books and church resources. They have since expanded into both fiction and non-fiction works and are proud to maintain a family-friendly, ‘G’ rating on all their books. Langmarc now produces books on recovery, like Reach to Recovery: Depression Anonymous; religious themes, like Living Life Twice: A Second Chance at Adulthood; mysteries like Whispering Stones; and non-fiction secular works like When Life Throws You Curves, Keep Swinging.
Langmarc Publishing, 7500 Shadowridge Run, Unit 28, Austin, TX, USA, + 1 512 394 0989
Bard Press is the brainchild of Ray Bard, a writer with a sturdy track record in authoring books for over thirty years. Bard established this company in 1982 and produced a string of national bestsellers. Currently available works include the #1 Wall Street Journal bestseller The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, The Little Red Book of Selling by #1 sales trainer Jeffrey Gitomer, and the inexplicable but refreshing The Full Plate Diet.
Bard Press, 5275 McCormick Mt. Drive, Austin, TX, USA, + 1 512 266 2112
Plain View Press
Plain View Press has been around for nearly four decades, publishing contemporary literature (fiction, non-fiction, and poetry) with a focus on social issues and justice. Over 400 titles have been published from authors around the globe who take a humane and caring approach in looking at issues like education, gender, justice, peace, and the environment. Plain View’s shelf includes such works as Middle-East Mezze, What Pearl Harbor Wrought, Some Mothers Don’t Come In Pastels, and Dear Corpus Christi.
Plain View Press, 1101 W. 34th Street, Ste 404, Austin, TX, USA
Write Bloody Publishing
A little press with a fantastic name, Write Bloody was founded in 2004 with the vision of publishing and promoting touring poets. The press now has over 50 authors and 111 titles in its stable, with more than poetry available for purchase. Stand-out titles include poetry collections/anthologies Courage: Daring Poems for Gutsy Girls and Multiverse: An Anthology of Superhero Poetry of Superhuman Proportions, children’s book Valentine the Porcupine Dances Funny, and YA novel Dive: The Life and Fight of Reba Tutt.
Write Bloody Publishing, Austin, TX, USA
Joel McIntosh founded Prufrock Press over 25 years ago when he discovered that, as a classroom teacher in a rural community, he had to create the appropriate materials for a group of gifted students. Since that time, Prufrock has become the nation’s leading publisher in producing materials for both gifted and special-needs students. Over 500 titles are available to teachers and parents including Hot Fudge Monday: Tasty Ways to Teach Parts of Speech to Students Who Have a Hard Time Swallowing Anything to Do With Grammar, Philosophy for Kids: 40 Fun Questions That Help You Wonder About Everything!, and Children With High-Functioning Autism: A Parent’s Guide.
Prufrock Press, 5926 Balcones Dr, Ste. 220, Austin, TX, USA + 1 512 300 2220
Founded in 2006, Siren-Bookstrand is a romance/erotica publisher that has launched over 5,000 print books and 6,000 e-books in its ten year history. As this press likes to say, ‘life without spice is bland,’ and they’ve developed 14 imprints that produce 80-100 new titles every month. Every possible combination from mainstream romance to steamier alternatives is represented with titles like Dixie Lynn Dwyer’s American Soldier Collection, Marcy Jacks’ The New Luna Werewolves Series, and Cooper McKenzie’s Silken Bonds. Just be forewarned — save your book browsing for after work!
Siren-Bookstand, 2500 S. Lamar Blvd., Austin, TX, USA
Greenleaf Book Group
As a bonus and honorable mention, Greenleaf Book Group stands out as an independent press that crosses the boundary between a vanity press and a traditional publishing house. Greenleaf moves beyond self-publishing by providing their services — development, production, branding, promotion, and distribution — to self-publishing authors. Authors get ownership rights and creative control of their work, while Greenleaf gets to publish some fantastic literature that can make it — and has made it — to the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists. Such titles include Activate Your Brain: How Understanding Your Brain Can Improve Your Work – and Your Life, Fearless Leadership: High-Performance Lessons from the Flight Deck, and Don’t Mess With Texas.
Greenleaf Book Group, 4005B Bannister Lane, Austin, TX, USA + 1 512 891 6100
By Lauren Murrah