Launched as a pilot program in May, 2019, the SPD Fellowship offers participants a 50% discount on our services for 2.5 years, as well as considerable mentorship, technical assistance, and discounts on additional marketing opportunities. All of this provides a means for very small, very new, and/or developing publishing projectsones producing original and exceptional work but that frequently come to us lacking the experience or capacity to effectively partner with a distributorto grow into successful presses.
Presses that qualify for the SPD Fellowship will show a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion by working to break down traditional barriers in publishing. (This applies to any of the parties referenced in the longer description below.) SPD will also look for the following characteristics of an emerging press:
Is the press less than three years old?
Does the press have fewer than five titles published?
Has the press recieved less than $10,000 in grant funding?
Does the press meet all the normal SPD publisher criteria laid out in our Publisher Handbook?
We developed this program because we realized that our acquisitions process is our best chance to find and cultivate the diversity the field needs by offering an equitable point of entry. We see the fellowship as an opportunity to partner with other organizations and stakeholders devoted to increasing the available resources and platforms for people of color, women, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and other marginalized groups, or presses doing compelling work with demonstrated need, so that they can publish work from their communities and have the kind of reach and support that SPD can provide.
While SPD’s catalog is remarkably diverse and we already carefully curate the presses we represent, looking for those who share the core values of representational justice and literary experiment that drive our mission, the SPD Fellowship makes this goal even more proactive and outward-facing. We think it will make our longstanding commitment to underrepresented voices and communities more legible, more visible, and more effective.
After the two and a half years, Fellowship publishers have the choice of continuing with SPD under our regular terms. We hope this trial period allows them to test and adjust to a different scale of operations, make connections, and gain enough experience on a distribution level to participate more fully in the book industry going forward.
Since the program started, we have welcomed nine publishers into the SPD Fellowship. They span the U.S. and are based in New York, Arizona, California, Washington, and more. Their foci range from translations to care-giving to the intersection between music and literature. One of the first program participants even has a book on our bestsellers list.
If the SPD Fellowship sounds like a good fit for your publishing project, please submit our regular application and mention in the comments that you’d like to be considered for the program.