I first became acquainted with Chad Prevost back in the fall of 2007 during the Meacham Writer’s Conference here at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. A man of many hats, I was amazed at how fluidly he shifted back and forth between the roles of writer, educator, and family man. When Chad arrived in my publications class a few days ago, my classmates and I were introduced to yet another ‘hat’ – the businessman. Chad, alongside his friend and colleague Ryan Van Cleave, runs a non-profit, independent press called C&R Press that primarily specializes in the publishing of poetry. The ‘conscious and responsible’ duo have published five books and have been contracted with five more for 2009.
In a time where big presses are dominating the literary world, why would one choose to go the route of the independent press? Chad admits that his desire to go the non-profit route is what guided him in the direction of starting an independent press. He also states that he was naïve in regards to making money. The important thing, he says, is to be realistic while being optimistic. He credits Van Cleave’s ‘energy and trustworthiness’ as pivotal to the success of the press but also recognizes that not every partnership would be as successful as theirs.
Now that you’ve set up your non-profit literary magazine, what do you do to set yourself apart as an independent press? “It’s an amazing amount of work,” Chad answers. “So many things to do.” The choice to focus on publishing poetry rather than prose was a direct result of poets being more “accessible” than fiction writers. When dealing with prose, you have to deal with agents and contracts. On top of all of that, no matter what genre of literature you’re dealing with, you have to have a slick website, a logo, distribution, and you have to purchase ISBNs. “Running C&R Press is a ton of work but it is also a labor of love.”
What are the biggest misconceptions that people have about literary magazines and presses? “Every publisher from big time to intermediate to the lower tier needs the author to market their work.” In addition, Chad believes that an author needs to have a strong passion for what they do. “If you write literature, no matter the genre, do it because you love to create art and with the expectation that you won’t be making a lot of money.”
Any advice to students seeking internships with C&R Press? The relationship between the editor and the intern, Chad explains, needs to be symbiotic. The editor needs to be specific and direct with the intern and adaptable to the knowledge of the intern. In addition, the intern needs to be confident in what he or she brings to the table. “As an editor, you don’t want to spend so much time detailing what you need from an intern, otherwise you can do it yourself.”
Interview by Bryce Lee Wynn (2009)
For more information about Chad Prevost and C&R Press click here.