“Frankly, I never intended to be a publisher,” explains Steven Saus, who is, nevertheless, founder of and publisher at Alliteration Ink (www.alliterationink.com)
Still, Steven is enthusiastic about his new venture, which focuses on collections and anthologies of short fiction.
“If I have to pick a genre that I love and am publishing, I’d say speculative fiction, which is a way of summing up fiction that is also identified as fantasy, horror or science fiction,” says Steven. “However, what I really love are stories that make me catch my breath and say, ‘Now that is a really cool, awesome idea!’”
The website for Alliteration Ink has “solid guidelines,” Steven says, for those interested in submitting. He is not interested in publishing novel-length work, and mostly he’s working with authors he’s met at writing and speculative fiction fan conferences. His company’s site also has helpful tips on querying publishers in general, helpful advice for writers of any genre.
So, how did he start on a path that would end up with him as a publisher?
Steve is himself a writer of speculative fiction, with several short story credits in anthologies and magazines to his name. It’s important to note, however, that he does not include his own work in the anthologies and collections he publishes at Alliteration Ink. “I think keeping a firm boundary between myself as writer and myself as publisher is important for the integrity of both ventures,” he explains.
As a writer, though, he soon became acquainted with various publishers. He helped Apex Publications, a speculative fiction publisher out of Lexington, Ky., with setting up several titles as ebooks. From there, his skill in providing publishing services spread by word of mouth, and he began helping other writers self-publish in both print and electronically.
“I think it is really important to make a clear distinction between offering publishing services and being a publisher,” Steve says. “Publishing services means just that—helping writers with the production aspect of putting their work into print or digital format. But being a publisher also means selecting works for publication, getting the work into the hands of distributors and so forth.”
Because, again, clear lines in his roles are important to him, Steven stopped providing publishing services. “I think publishing services, such as ebook conversion, are important for writers who wish to self-publish, but I realized I needed to either provide publishing services … or be a publisher. And I opted to be a publisher because that’s where my creative passion really is, in addition to my own writing. And I found myself wanting particular anthologies and collections that just didn’t exist.”
An example is the anthology “What Fates Impose,” edited by Nayad Monroe, this bringing together stories from a diverse group of speculative fiction writers, including winners of the Bram Stoker Award, a Nebula Award, an AU Shadows Award and an Origins “Cleo” Award.
Steven, who is a nuclear medicine technician, grew up in Morgantown, W.V., attend Marshall University, served eight years in the Army, and settled in Dayton to be near family in 2002.
“What I love about Dayton is that it is more diverse in so many ways than even native Daytonians realize,” Steven says. “And there is so much to do here, including in the arts. I find a lot of dedication, heart and commitment in writers and artists of all kinds here. There’s also an attitude here that of course people can, and should, create their own work, and explore their own creativity.”
Including, it turns out, starting a publishing company.
Upcoming literary events
• Sunday, Jan. 26, 2 p.m., Wright Memorial Library (1776 Far Hills Ave., Oakwood) — Ed Davis will read from his new full-length poetry collection “Time of the Light.” A book-signing will immediately follow, during which Davis will sign copies of the new collection as well as his other books. The event is free and open to the public.
• Sunday Jan. 26, 8 p.m. Ghostlight Coffee (1201 Wayne Ave., Dayton) — Gem City Poetry Stage will feature a reading by poet Grace Curtis, followed by an open mic.
• Sunday Feb. 9, 4 p.m. (Blush Boudoir Photography Studio, 120 North St. Clair St., Dayton, Ohio 45402) — Antioch Writers’ Workshop will host a Valentine’s themed LitSalon, featuring romance author Donna MacMeans. Details at www.antiochwritersworkshop.com