As a follow up to my Thursday post, I’m going to list 6 local (and not-so-local) small presses worth noting. This seems like a reasonable thing to do. After the publishing industry “melt down,” as some are calling last week’s events, it seems like a good time to discuss the power of the small press.

With a small press you can do big things. Of course, you may have to be satisfied with a tinier marketing budget or a steeper climb up the reviews ladder. But you can at least be happy knowing that you’re working with a group of individuals who believe in and support your project: your novel, collection of poems, whatever you have. That’s why, in this Age of Publishing Troubles, it’s really worth supporting the small presses. The holiday season is fast approaching. What better way is there to satisfy your reading pleasure than to help support a small press with the purchase of some books?

Space considerations allow me to mention only six publishers in this post, so this is not an exhaustive list by any means.

Washington Writers’ Publishing House This publisher has been around for as long as The Writer’s Center. Over the years they’ve published a lot of people, including Grace Cavalieri, E. Ethelbert Miller and, recently, David A. Taylor. Each year, WWPH runs annual poetry and fiction contests.

Paycock Press

Like WWPH and The Writer’s Center, Paycock has been around since the mid-seventies. Rick Peabody, a local legend, is the publisher. Rumor has it that Rick was also the very first WC member back in76. In any case, he’s been publishing books (and Gargoyle Magazine) for a very long time. A recent title is Enhanced Gravity: More Fiction by Washington Area Women. But you can find plenty more on their Web site here.

Santa Fe Writers Project. Andrew Gifford publishes SFWP. In the spring of 09 they’ll release the anniversary edition of Writer’s Center instructor Richard Currey’s terrific novel Fatal Light in the spring of 09–the definitive “author’s cut” with a really cool cover–but this year they published Orange Prize finalist Pagan Kennedy (a Bethesda native who once, in high school, attended workshops at The Writer’s Center).

Vrzhu Press. This is a relatively young press that focuses on poetry. New titles include books by Hiram Larew, Carol Guess, and John Gilgun, and Kim Roberts. See all the titles here. Includes a wonderful blog right here.

Open Letter. This is a new press based out of my home town of Rochester, NY. It’s a publisher, connected to the U of R, that specializes in translations. They’ve already got an impressive roster of books that includes Norwegian author Jan Kjaerstad, Marguerite Duras, and Icelandic Bragi Olaffson (former bassist of The Sugar Cubes–Bjork’s band). A very nice Web site is found here. And over at their official blog, Three Percent, they have an interesting reading idea, A Year of Reading, wherein you read as many books as “you pick a literary charity that you want to support in 2009. You sign up to be part of The Year of Readers, get people to sponsor you and just start reading whatever you like.” Sound cool? Pop on over to Three percent, here, to learn more.

 And finally Tinfish. Based in Hawaii, Tinfish specializes in Pacific Rim poetry, but it’s a wide and glorious variety that it offers. Last year I got a CD of a Hawaiian poet reading his poetry with music in the background. The sounds of Hawaii as it were. Tinfish is a nonprofit press founded in 1995 by DC area native Susan Schultz, herself a poet (and she’s got a great sense of humor). Find them here.