13 Books From Indie Publishers To Look Forward To In 2018
Why does independent publishing matter? What's even the difference between publishing houses at this point? Start a conversation around diversifying the publishing world, and these questions are likely to come up. If you're ready to join the debate, check out the most anticipated indie press releases of 2018. Your reading list just got, like, 14 books longer.
So, back to our original question. Why does independent publishing matter? In an era that's becoming increasingly defined by corporate takeovers of media, independent presses serve as the backbone of original thought within the publishing world.
What's even the difference between publishing houses at this point? Indie presses are not beholden to a larger parent company. They aren't exclusively headquartered on one of the coasts (and don't get me wrong, the coasts are dope, but they tend to dictate trends for the entirety of the country, the majority of which is, uh, landlocked, in more ways than one). They spotlight voices that larger publishing companies may not see as profitable, or just not profitable enough. They seek out previously unpublished novelists and poets and essayists and artists.
And while major house publishing has become a vocation dominated by white women of a certain economic standing, independent presses pop up all over the country all the time. Their creators are often writers themselves, or are situated squarely within their local creative communities. Basically, if you want to read stories and voices you've never heard before, seek out indie presses. They're almost certainly not in it for the money. They're in it because the written word is integral to our culture.
You don't need to pay a visit to an independent bookstore in order to snag an indie press book, although, if you're really keeping with the spirit of non-corporate consumerism, then, yeah, avoiding online megaliths is the way to go. IndieBound, an online database which sources its books from independent bookstores across the country, is a great alternative. But if you're short on time and really need a book, quick, Amazon now carries the majority of established independent presses.
Hey, you guys? I have a good feeling about 2018.
'Mouths Don't Speak' by Katia D. Ulysse (January 2; Akashic Books)
When the 2010 Haitian earthquake hits, Jacqueline Florestant's life is shattered. With a PTSD-wrought U.S. Marine husband, a 3-year-old daughter and an extended family assumed dead among the rubble, Jacqueline returns to her homeland, desperate to find a semblance of the Haiti she once knew.
'Neon in Daylight' by Hermione Hoby (January 9; Catapult)
A sweaty, sticky, simmering love letter to pre-Hurricane Sandy New York City, Hermione Hoby's debut novel follows Katie and the two intoxicating strangers she meets in the middle of a heatwave.
'The Widows of Malabar Hill' by Sujata Massey (January 9; Soho Crime)
In 1920s Bombay, the city's first female lawyer, Perveen Mistry, is investigating the deaths of three widows living in purdah - strict isolation, with little contact with the outside world and never speaking to men. So who, then, is killing these women? And why?
'Love, Hate, and Other Filters' by Samira Ahmed (January 16; Soho Press)
Seventeen-year-old Maya Aziz is facing the struggle so many first-generation teens know: the desire to forge her own way, while honoring the traditions of her parents. Maya's parents want her to attend college close to home and settle down with a good Muslim boy. Maya wants to attend film school in New York City. But then a horrific crime, hundreds of miles away, shakes Maya and her close-knit community to their core.
'How Mamas Love Their Babies' by Juniper Fitzgerald and Elise Peterson (February 13; Feminist Press)
A mixed media picture book that centers sex worker parents and expands upon the concept of a "good mother." Yeah, we're already emotional about it, too.
'Tomb Song' by Julián Herbert (March 6; Graywolf Press)
The first English-language work from Julian Herbert, Tomb Song takes place at the foot of a deathbed, as Julian reflects on the life of his mother, a prostitute, now dying from leukemia. A portrait of life and death in Mexico, Tomb Song blends fiction, memoir and essays in a genre-bending trip through memory.
'Not Here' by Hieu Minh Nguyen (April; Coffee House Press)
Queer and Vietnamese, Nguyen has created a poetry collection that serves as a map, as an escape plan, as a guide to surviving in a world violently opposed to lives lived outside a whitewashed outline.
'Wade in the Water' by Tracy K. Smith (April 3; Graywolf Press)
From the poet laureate of the United States comes a poetry collection that plucks strands from our nation's history, weaving them into an explanation of how we're here, now, in this moment.
'The Underneath' by Melanie Finn (May 15; Two Dollar Radio)
The follow up to Finn's smash hit debut, The Gloaming, The Underneath is a thriller you probably shouldn't read if you live, uh, alone. Kay Ward, a former war journalist, attempts to settle into a calmer life out in the wilds of Vermont. But when her husband is called away on business and she discovers a crawl space underneath their home, Kay becomes worried that something, something horrible, happened to the previous tenants.
'Feminist Freedom Warriors' edited by Linda Carty and Chandra Talpede Mohanty (June 12; Haymarket Books)
A collection of writing by women throughout the Global South, these essays give voice to figures often ignored or tokenized within the feminist movement. Women of color, poor women, laborers, decolonizers - warriors, all of them.
'Every Body has a Story' by Beverly Gologorsky (June 19; Haymarket Books)
Four South Bronx friends try to stay afloat and stay together amid the Great Recession and the foreclosure crisis that so many of us came of age within.
'The Hypothetical Man' by Paul Maliszewski and James Wagner (August 21; Curbside Splendor)
These short stories center around three mysterious characters - A, B and S - as they embark on mysterious missions and plans and lives, like undercover work at an amusement park in Illinois.
'The Blurry Years' by Eleanor Kriseman (July 10; Two Dollar Radio)
A childhood sprawled across "sleazy" 1970s and '80s Florida, a complicated mother-daughter relationship and a powerful, messy, tangled up coming-of-age story.