Sunday, May 1, 2011

Interview with Rose Mambert of Pink Narcissus Press

Rose Mambert is Editor-in-Chief of Pink Narcissus Press, founded in 2010 in Auburn, Massachusetts with Josie Brown and Bill Racicot. Rose holds a degree in Italian Literature from Middlebury College and teaches Italian and Cinema. Pink Narcissus Press launched its first anthology Elf Love in February 2011, and has a second anthology Rapunzel's Daughters coming out in July 2011.

1) What motivated you to set up Pink Narcissus Press and how did the editorial team get together?

Pink Narcissus Press was born one dark and stormy night about twenty years ago in Portland, Oregon when a friend of mine and I thought it would be cool to publish an indie magazine. Portland in the '90s was a very literary, coffee-shop kind of scene, so everyone we knew was some sort of writer or artist. However, we were young and not exactly motivated, so the publication never got off the ground. Since then, though, the idea had been in the back of my mind. Once I had the motivation, I decided to give publishing another shot.

Pulling the team together was easy. I called up Dr. Bill and Sweet Josie Brown and asked them if they'd like to found a publishing company. Fortunately, they said yes. Since then, we've recruited Stacy Guifre, who agreed to join our team if we called her "Principessa Stacy" and bought her a tiara.

2) With a background in Italian Literature and teaching in areas as diverse as Italian and cinema, what was your pathway to setting up a speculative fiction press? How far back do its roots go back for you personally?

I started reading fantasy back in highschool. I hung out with a geeky crowd, so all my friends were into fantasy and sci-fi, and kept shoving books into my hand, saying "Read this!" At the time, my writing was of the contemporary sort. Someone insisted I read Michael Moorcock's "Elric" series. As cliched as this will sound, these books changed my life. I've been reading and writing fantasy ever since. So I blame Michael Moorcock.

3) Pink Narcissus' first anthology, Elf Love, has now been published and is meeting with positive reviews. What were the major hiccups and highlights of getting Elf Love into print (and e-print) and what do you feel you've learnt from the experience? Oh, and what inspired you to lift off with elves?

We've learned a lot from the experience of Elf Love. Among other things, we've learned that publishing a book is a lot of hard work, that printers are unreliable, and that if you put two sexy elves on the cover, a lot of people are going to assume that the book is porn (which it isn't). Elf Love was not an easy project. In part, writers were hesitant (and understandably so) to submit to a brand new press with no publication record. In part, a lot of writers weren't inspired by the elf theme.

The theme of "elf love" came out of my unnatural obsession with elves. At the time, it seemed like a good idea - after all, no one else had published an anthology based solely on elves, so our book is certainly unique in that regard.

4) Recently you've opened up submissions for novels and novellas - do you have an overarching goal or aspiration/s for Pink Narcissus?

Our primary goal as a press from the beginning was to publish genre fiction novels. Larger publishers tend to overlook novels that are well-written for the sole reason that they don't easily fit into a particular category, and therefore would be difficult to market. Our goal is to give a home to such works. However, we decided the best course of action would be to build up a reputation by publishing some anthologies first.

5) Pink Narcissus currently has submissions open for no less than three new anthologies, Slashfest, A Stranger Comes to Town, and WTF?! You're certainly highly motivated and busy! Opening anthologies under different editors as well as opening submissions for novels/novellas, how do you coordinate yourselves as a team? Do you have an overall 'production schedule' as such?

As Editor-in-Chief, part of my job is to keep everything organised and give orders to my minions...I mean, to the editors. In truth, though, each editor works on the project that interests them, and sets their own deadlines. Once Rapunzel's Daughters comes out in July, we are planning on kicking Pink Narc into high gear, and hoping to average 5-6 titles a year. Since we're a small press, though, we can afford to keep our production schedule flexible.

6) In the light of current developments in the publishing industry, how do you see the future of the press? Do you see yourselves using conventional publishing forms, or moving more towards e-publishing and print-on-demand?

Currently we use both e-publishing and POD technology. When we started the company, we had a long and serious debate about whether we should print our books traditionally or go for POD. The advantages to POD printing are numerous, however, we were concerned about the stigma that often goes along with POD printing, which often (erroneously, I might add) gets equated with self-publishing, or worse, with vanity presses. In the end, though, it occurred to us that what you print is what counts - not who the printer is. In fact, it's becoming common for "traditional" printers to use the exact same technology (laser printing) as POD printers use for short runs (usually under 1000 copies). Usually only for large print runs will a printer crank up the old traditional lithograph offset press.

Whatever the technology, Pink Narcissus will continue to print paper copies. Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but there's something pleasurably visceral about the experience of holding an actual book in your hands and leafing through the pages that you just don't get from reading on a screen. Of course, given the growing demand for e-books, all our books will also be available in e-format.

Thank you, Rose.

To find out more about Pink Narcissus Press, and for details of published and forthcoming anthologies, and anthologies currently open for submissions, visit them at

1 comment:

  1. It's so refreshing to read that a publisher can simply explain that POD is a means of producing books rather than a publishing method. My own publishers use POD printing, and it benefits everyone along the line: publisher, author and reader. I enjoyed reading this.