Representation of marginalized groups in media and literature is critical. The Oscar-winning film Moonlight and the innovative television series Sense8 both speak to the importance of seeing oneself in film, television, literature, and other modes of artistic expression. Now more than ever, neurodivergent people seek to find representations of themselves, their voices, and their experiences in literary form. Mainstream publishers have mostly ignored this community, or have relied on neurotypical authors producing hackneyed, inaccurate portrayals rooted in the same repeated stereotypes. You’ve seen them before: the Sheldon Coopers, the Christian Wolffs, the Simon Lynches. At Autonomous Press, we’re an independent publisher of diverse books aiming to change this trend.
Weird Books for Weird People
Founded in 2015, AutPress focuses solidly on bringing transformative works to print and digital formats. Its catalog consists of both single-author books and multi-contributor anthologies featuring voices that are usually marginalized in mainstream publishing: queer, transgender, neurodivergent, mad, disabled, racialized, presently or formerly homeless, and incarcerated. That translates to our single-author titles such as The US Book, a mic-dropping work that brings together science fiction, hip-hop, art history, music history and other influences to craft its own spectacular, full-color multiverse between the pages.
Among our yearly anthologies, you’ll find the Spoon Knife series, which already has two volumes under its belt with the release of Spoon Knife 2: Test Chamber this past spring. Debuting in 2016 with the first Spoon Knife Anthology, the annual collections bring together work that pushes boundaries and centers on themes salient to neurodivergent, queer, and mad people. The series continues in 2018 with the release of Spoon Knife 3: Incursions, which will include works of one reality or theme breaking through into another.
New NeuroQueer Books for Fall
We’ve given you a couple of suggestions for fall reading picks, but you’ll want to stay tuned for our next set of releases. Read the story of exolinguist Richard Hayek’s quest to solve the mystery of a rogue computer virus, a missing child and a major threat capable of wiping out an entire alien species in Nantais, a new sci-fi novel by Verity Reynolds. Coming this autumn, we also have Barking Sycamores: Year Two. It’s the second installment in the annual anthologies from one of the only literary journals explicitly publishing literature and art by neurodivergent contributors. Between groundbreaking books like The US Book and Spoon Knife 2: Test Chamber and upcoming titles like Nantais and Barking Sycamores: Year Two, you’ll have plenty of books to stock up on for your fall reading.
Hi there AutPress fans! Athena Lynn here, and I want to let you know that all of our titles are once again avaialble on Kindle. We had a couple weeks of service outage there because we were changing distributors as part of our larger plan to connect our authors to larger audiences, and there were just a couple of hiccups while we made the change. There are a few new things you might notice now that we are with our new distributor:
None of our ebooks are over $10 anymore. That’s because our new distributor helps us make more money at the lower price point, and we want to make sure our books are as economically accessible as possible. You can find those new prices at our store if you want .epub books, or you can get them at Amazon for your Kindle.
Our Amazon distribution has increased to offer more ebooks on more Amazon sites internationally, making it possible for people in countries where we previously had no coverage to access our books. This includes Japan, Brazil, and many countries in Africa.
Our new marketing partners are helping us to find readers in communities that are dedicated to spreading the word about books, including communities that encourage their readers to review books, like Goodreads.
Changes Coming Soon
On top of our new Kindle distribution, we are picking up a second print distributor to help us make our books available in more places. As that happens, we will be able to offer international shipping to more countries. We’re still in the process of setting that up, but once we do we will be able to get paperbacks out through Amazon in all territories, even places where we have not been carried yet or where our distribution was disrupted, like Australia.
As we make those changes, expect to see international options showing up in our store, too. I can’t promise we will be available in every country, but we are looking at solutions for the UK, Canada, and Australia to start. After that, we’ll see where we can go. Some of it depends on you, our readers, because some of it requires an extra push for demand for our books before it will be profitable to provide them in that market or that format.
One big example of this is audiobooks, which are both expensive to produce and time consuming. While the whole partnership realizes that they are an accessibility issue, if the press is simply not capable of funding them, then going bankrupt to provide accessibility is not going to work. That’s why we put our books out through Bookshare, and we let them work on ways to make them accessible to those who need non-print editions.
We would like to change that, and we realize that being in commercial audiobook markets aids with accessibility because not everyone has Bookshare. We still need to get to a place where that project is feasible, and the more our distribution improves, the easier that is.
How You Can Help
There are a few ways that you can help us out as we prepare to release a book each and every month from now until we run out of manuscripts–and currently, that looks like next year. Whether you have a lot of extra cash or not, there’s something on this list that every fan can do:
Review any Autonomous Press books you have. Go to Amazon.com, search for a title like Spoon Knife 2 that you have read, and write just a 3 or 4 sentence summary of your thoughts. Give us a rating 1-5 stars to go with it, and post. We’re not even asking for a review at a particular level, just an honest assessment from as many people as possible. It helps even more if you bought the book on Amazon, but that’s not entirely necessary.
Go to Goodreads and do the same thing. Also, while you’re there, search for all of our books and add them to your to-read list. It doesn’t cost you anything and it helps more people see our titles.
If you’re a blog person or you work for a place that takes book reviews, consider doing a longer review that you can put out there where it will be seen by people googling our titles.
Sign up for the Autonomous Press mailing list and get coupons every month when we send our newsletter with more announcements and book teasers.
Buy copies of our books so you can review them later.
Post about us on social media. Put us on Amazon.com lists of things you like. Do the same thing at Goodreads.
Check out our anthologies, too, because we have only put out about 10 books so far, but we have published over 100 authors because of our aggressive anthology development process.
If you are in our anthologies, promote them on your own platforms. That’s the only way that future books will be there as income opportunities for you.
Ask your friends to review our books after you recommend them.
Contact bookstores and libraries in your local area and ask them to carry our books. We are available in the Ingram catalog, or you can refer them straight to us.
If you can help us spread the word over the next six months, then we will be able to grow enough to offer true worldwide distribution, audiobooks, and a bunch of other cool stuff like book tours. It takes a fandom to build a publisher, though, so if you have been enjoying our books, please think about what you can do to help spread the word. – Athena
NOS Magazine, the go-to magazine for neurodiversity culture and news, has released its annual list of the 50+ autistic people you should know, and we are happy to see that most of Autonomous Press’s partnership has made the list, including:
Dani Alexis Ryskamp, our legal partner. They edited Spoon Knife 2: Test Chamber, which is now available in ebook and will shortly be available in paperback too. Dani also contributed to The Spoon Knife Anthology last year, and they run Autistic Academic on the new Neurodiversity Matters blog network. Dani also writes as Verity Reynolds, and will be releasing their first novel Nantais under that name in late spring or early summer.
Nick Walker, the coordinating editor for Autonomous Press and the blogger at Neurocosmopolitanism. Nick also co-writes the Weird Luck webcomic, and his work has been featured in both Spoon Knife volumes.
The Teselecta Multiverse, of which N.I. Nicholson, the coordinating editor of neuroqueer books, is a member. He edited The Spoon Knife Anthology, and the whole Multiverse blog at Neurodiversity Matters, where the literary journal Barking Sycamores has also found its home. N.I. Nicholson founded Barking Sycamores with his partner.
The Puzzlebox Collective, of which Athena Lynn Michaels-Dillon is a member and spokesperson. Athena was AutPress’s production coordinator for almost two years before the board voted to make her Chief Operating Officer in February. Athena has published 5 books under the name Michael Scott Monje, Jr., including The US Book, which was co-written by the rest of the collective. She also wrote the Lambda Literary finalist Defiant.
AutPress Authors from Spoon Knife 2: Test Chamber
On the NOS Magazine list, you will also find several AutPress authors, including Sparrow Rose Jones, the author of The ABCs of Autism Acceptance. Sparrow also contributed to Spoon Knife 2, and so did the following members of the list:
The Teselecta Multiverse’s N.I. Nicholson
Every member of the Puzzlebox Collective: Athena Lynn writing as Michael Scott Monje Jr., Athena the Architect, Lynn Vargas, Monday Dillon, and Clay Dillon
Dani Alexis Ryskamp, writing as Dani and as Verity Reynolds
Collectively, these writers are responsible for more than half the word count of the book, so if you discovered them through the article about autistics you should know, this book gives you a one-shot chance to get a taste for all their writing styles, and since many of them have also authored or edited full books on their own, this volume is a great introduction to a highly influential body of work by a cadre of autistic writers who have worked together for half a decade to develop the conversation around neurodiversity and representation in the media.
AutPress Authors Who Did Not Appear in Spoon Knife 2
Morénike Giwa-Onaiwu also made the list, and we would be remiss if we did not mention her good works in the activist community as well as her contribution to The Real Experts: Readings for Parents of Autistic Children. She blogs at Who Needs “Normalcy” Anyway, and we hope to see more work from her at the press in the near future.
Congratulations to All Our Autonomous Press Authors
We want to give a warm and hearty congratulations to all of our Press authors, both those who made this list and those who did not, for helping to contribute to the development of our company. The partners and authors who did make this list might have been on it without these accomplishments and contributions, but there would most definitely have been fewer of them. We owe it to everyone who helped build this company that so many of our partners and writers made the list, and we also owe it to our readers to remind them that while we have strong autistic representation, we are not an all-autistic press. Spoon Knife 2and its predecessor also feature a wide range of allistic neurodivergent voices, to help make sure the conversation is as inclusive as possible.
My name is Bridget Allen. I am both a constituent and founding partner in a business headquartered in your district, and I am writing to express my concern over the ill-advised Senate Bill 6.
The creation of new laws regulating the minutiae of human bodily elimination may be the very definition of governmental overreach.
Laws already exist regarding predatory behavior and sexual assault. SB6 does nothing to improve public safety. It exists to regulate against a non-existent threat that cannot be backed up by substantive evidence. The fact that there has been no increase in public safety incidents in Texas cities that have ordinances that allow everyone to use the restroom appropriate to their gender speaks to the pointlessness of the proposed bill.
One group particularly endangered by SB6 is the very group the bill purports to protect, children. As a parent, grandparent, and former professional working with school age children, I am gravely concerned about the risks this bill poses to transgender and gender non-conforming children. If we truly care about children, we care about all children, and research has shown that acceptance, not marginalization, leads to the best outcomes for trans kids.
This bill is bad for the Texas economy. One need only to look at the billions of dollars North Carolina has lost since passing HB2 to see the future of a once robust Texas economy.
When my business partners and I founded Autonomous Press, we had several options of where to locate, and we chose Texas. Laws like SB6 not only go against our ethics and mission, they hurt our business. We need our LGBT authors and customers to know we stand on the side of acceptance. Sadly, the risk of losing potential sales and future book deals may force us to relocate.
Please don’t let pointless discrimination become the law of the land.
The Spoon Knife anthology series is published under Autonomous Press’ NeuroQueer Books imprint. All submissions should in some way touch upon or be relevant to the themes of neurodivergence, queerness, and/or the intersections of neurodivergence and queerness. These themes can be engaged with either directly or through metaphor.
ForSpoon Knife 3: Incursions, we’re looking for pieces that focus on the theme of incursions by one reality into another.
Authors are encouraged to interpret this theme broadly and creatively. An incursion from another reality could mean a great many things, including but definitely not limited to:
• Experiences such as hearing voices, hallucinations, visions, or so-called “psychotic breaks.”
• Possession or visitation by spirits, ghosts, angels, demons, gods, or other otherworldly presences.
• People or things (like artifacts or creatures) showing up from another world in the literal sense – from alternate universes, for instance.
• People or things showing up from another world in the more figurative sense – for instance, the impact a visitor from a foreign culture has on a relatively homogeneous community, or the impact a forbidden book has on a sheltered mind.
And these are just a few examples of the vast array of possible interpretations.
Every volume of Spoon Knife has a different team of co-editors. The editors for Spoon Knife 3: Incursions are Nick Walker and Andrew M. Reichart.
Nick Walker is an autistic genderqueer author, educator, and aikido teacher, and one of the founding editors of Autonomous Press. He is a faculty member at California Institute of Integral Studies and Sofia University, and senior instructor of the Aikido Shusekai dojo in Berkeley, California.
Andrew M. Reichart writes books, stories, and comics that blur the genres of fantasy, science fiction, and horror. New editions of his books are forthcoming from Autonomous Press, starting in 2017. He lives in California with his wife and a couple of dogs.
Format and Length
Fiction and memoir pieces must meet the following criteria:
• 12-point Times New Roman font, double-spaced.
• Indent the first line of each paragraph, and do not put blank lines between paragraphs.
• Make the first page a cover page with title and author contact info.
• Author’s name and page number in the top right corner of every page
• Use Oxford commas.
• The entire manuscript should be thoroughly and carefully spell-checked and proofread (we recommend it be reviewed multiple times, by the author and by at least two other readers who have a sharp critical eye for detail, punctuation, grammar, and clarity of writing).
We will not accept manuscripts that do not meet all of these criteria, or that contain multiple spelling, grammar, and/or punctuation errors.
Fiction and memoir pieces should be 10,000 words or less. If you’re an author whom we’ve previously published or whose submission the editors have specifically solicited, and you need more than 10,000 words to tell your story properly, we may be able to make an exception about the word limit for you – please contact the editors about it.
If you’re submitting poetry, you may submit up to 5 poems of any length and style, provided all the poems are consistent with the theme of the anthology. Poems should also have the author’s name in the header of each page, as well as a cover page with author contact info. Poetry does not need to be double-spaced.
All submissions must be in .doc or .docx format, or in a fully Word-compatible file format like .odt or .rtf.
When and How to Submit
We are accepting submissions now. All submissions are due bySaturday, September 30, 2017.
Authors will be notified of their acceptance or rejection no later than November 1, 2017.
Payment for accepted submissions will be 1 cent per word, to be sent by check during the first quarter of 2018.
The title of your email must be either “Spoon Knife 3 Submission – Fiction,” “Spoon Knife 3 Submission – Memoir,” or “Spoon Knife 3 Submission – Poetry.” Using one of these three email titles ensures that your submission will end up in the right place.
Please include a cover letter that makes it clear exactly what name you wish to be credited under, and that gives a 3-4 sentence bio written in the third person. The name and bio should be typed exactly as you want them to appear in the book.
Chances are, you’ve got a bibliophile or two (or perhaps 15) on your gift list. Thankfully, AutPress has rolled out four new gift bundles for the book lovers in your life. (Or, you know, you could gift them to yourself.) Just in time for your gift-giving (or book hoarding) needs, we’ve put together these bundles and discount deals, each available in both paperback and ebook format. These themed collections were crafted so you can easily select the perfect one for your intended recipients in mind.
First, we’d like to introduce our Autistic Activist Bundle. As one of our gift bundles containing some of the press’ most groundbreaking releases, it features three books that are great introductory texts for anyone seeking to understand the realities of Autistic people. The ABCs of Autism Acceptance by Sparrow R. Jones is an excellent guide, discussing and expanding on topics that change the ways in which autism is perceived. Also included is Typed Words Loud Voices, one of our debut books featuring work by a coalition of writers who type to communicate. Finally, The Real Experts is one of our top sellers, containing insider wisdom on autism written by Autistic adults.
Next among our bundles and discount deals is Shaping Clay: The Elementary Trilogy. This gift bundle contains three works in the Shaping Clay series: Nothing is Right, the Lambda Literary Finalist title Defiant, and the epic Imaginary Friends. If you have yet to read Clay Dillon’s saga, you’ll want to start with this collection of books. And with the next book in the series Gaslight Village soon on the horizon, you’ll want to grab this bundle now to catch up on the story. By the way: if you want to support Gaslight Village and read it as a serial subscriber, visit Michael’s Patreon.
Poetry lovers will want to snag our NeuroQueer Poetry Bundle, which contains all three of our poetry releases this year at a substantial discount. This gift bundle includes Adrift in a Sea of M&Ms, the Summer 2016 collection released by Michigan spoken-word artist and activist Fable the Poet. Also in this collection is The US Book by Michael Scott Monje, Jr., which provides the backstory for both Clay Dillon’s and Lynn Vargas’ universes. Finally, Barking Sycamores: Year One pulls together the poetry, short fiction and artwork published in Barking Sycamores’ first year of publication.
Explore new worlds in which neuroqueer voices are centered with the NeuroQueer Horizons bundle. Before our NeuroQueer Horizons chapbook series launches, you’ll want to immerse yourself in this collection of neuroqueer fiction, memoir, and poetry. Included in this gift bundle are the first Spoon Knife anthology, the science fiction thriller Mirror Project, and Monje’s Imaginary Friends, a surreal exploration of Clay Dillon’s childhood from the Shaping Clay series.
We’re proud to offer these bundles and discount deals as both paperbacks and ebooks. Whether you’re seeking to treat yourself or you want to put smiles on the faces of your book-loving friend, you don’t want to pass up these generously discounted collections containing our landmark releases, engaging fiction works, and pioneering poetry. Happy gifting!
Autonomous Press is delighted to announce a special deal only for attendees of the 2016 Conference on College Composition and Communication.
While Autonomous Press will not be selling books at this year’s conference, three founding partners of Autonomous Press, Elizabeth J. (Ibby) Grace, Michael Scott Monje, Jr., and Bridget Allen will be in attendance.
If you order any of our books online between now and 12:00pm CDT, Friday, April 8, and enter the coupon code HOTELDELIVERY, you get $3.25 off (the cost of economy shipping), and AutPress partners will deliver your books to you in person. Just enter your room number in the shipping information, or meet us during our “lobby hours” at a public location at the CCCC hotel or conference area.
Copies of Fading Scars and Defiant will have limited edition Lambda Literary Awards finalist stickers. Any books purchased with writings by Grace, Monje, or Allen will be signed by the authors. As always, your print books come with a free instant download ebook copy.
Coupon code: HOTELDELIVERY
Code works one time per email address. You can order multiple books, but make sure to buy them all at the same time/checkout.
Offer is only for attendees of the 2016 Conference on College Composition and Communication in Houston.
We are happy to announce the editors for the second volume in the Spoon Knife Anthology series.
Dani Alexis Ryskamp is an editor and the Legal Coordinator for Autonomous Press and the author of “My Mother GLaDOS,” which appears in The Spoon Knife Anthology. Her research on neurodivergence and poetry also appears in The Hilltop Review. She actually wrote her own contributor bio for this post, which is a first.
Sam Harvey is a graduate student in rhetoric and professional communication at Saint Cloud State University. He begins his Ph.D. work in rhetoric and professional communication at Iowa State University in Fall 2016. Sam is also the author of “Journey to Self-Love in a Culture Demanding Self-Hate,” which appears in The Spoon Knife Anthology. He is feeling very odd writing his own bio and is going to proceed to go hide now.
The Call for Submissions
We are seeking submissions of poetry, fiction, and memoir for Spoon Knife 2: Test Chamber. This book will be the second in the series, following The Spoon Knife Anthology, released in March 2016 by NeuroQueer books. As part of the NeuroQueer family, Spoon Knife 2 focuses on neurodivergence and disability as they intersect and interact with queer issues. This includes queering disability and neurodivergence, as well as discussing how neurodivergence functions or fits with other aspects of a queer identity.
The phrase “test chamber” may be read in myriad ways: as an adjective + noun denoting a place (“the subject was placed in the test chamber”), as an imperative verb + direct object (“to find weakness, test (the) chamber”), as a compound verb (“test-chamber a round to check that your slide isn’t jammed”), and others not imagined here. These meanings are dynamic. That is, they coexist, interact, change, and complicate one another in various ways.
For the second volume in the Spoon Knife series, we seek to feature works that focus on one or more of the meanings of “test chamber” as it/they relate to neurodivergence, disability, and/or queer issues. What does it mean to be inside (or outside) the “test chamber”? To test the chamber? To test-chamber or to be test-chambered? More importantly, how do we approach the boundaries of neurodivergence, queerness, or both in a way that questions, subverts, blurs, or even embraces them – forcing ourselves and others to question the existence or permanence of the “test chamber” itself?
Or, if you prefer an alternate way in: play Portal. Write accordingly.
While we will consider any submissions that are on-topic and we do wish to solicit voices from a broad range of neurodivergent and disabled perspectives, preference will be given to authors who clearly identify as neuroqueer and whose work demonstrates a neuroqueer point of view.
Length and Format
Fiction and Memoir: 10,000 words or less of fully-polished prose, submitted in standard manuscript format (title page with contact info, double-spaced Times New Roman 12-point font, pages numbered with either title or author’s name in the header.)
Poetry: Up to 5 pieces of any length and style, provided they use the prompt above as a touchstone.
All submissions need to be in a Word-compatible format (.doc, .docx, .odt).
Deadline and Terms
Submissions are due by Monday, August 22, 2016. Authors will be notified of their acceptance or rejection no later than October 15, 2016. Please include a cover letter that makes it clear exactly how you are to be credited – we will reproduce these exactly, including punctuation and spacing. We will also need a 3-4 sentence bio for the contributors.
Hi everybody! Michael here, but I’m no longer your loyal leader of the NeuroQueer Books imprint. Nope. I got the thing up and running, but I’ve been saving a seat for my good friend and longtime editor (through Barking Sycamores, the journal that takes most of my work), N.I. Nicholson. My last act before moving behind the scenes to supervise our labor assignments and workflow on book production is going to be a good one, though: I’m giving you a sale, some pre-sales, and a song. First, the song, which celebrates everything I got into publishing to do:
AutPress Direct Overstock Sale
We do a lot of events and because of that, we wind up sending a lot of books out to make sure we have inventory. Over time, the extras make their way back to the press store from our partners, and as a result, we can accidentally wind up overstocked. When that happens, we need to recoup our storage space and make sure our books make it out into the world, and we’re doing that with an overstock sale. From now until St. Patrick’s Day (just because), we’re offering 40% off on two of our titles: Corbett OToole’s Fading Scars: My Queer Disability History and Michael Scott Monje, Jr.’s Defiant.
Fading Scars, if you have not encountered it yet, is a gripping, close-up autoethnography covering several important events in the history of disability rights, civil rights in the U.S., and disabled communities. It takes a close look at the way they have been constructed, the way research in disability studies impacts communities, and the way communities work to impact research that affects their lives. It is an important read for anyone who seeks to understand how the current landscape of the disability rights and disability justice movements came to be.
Defiantis part of my Shaping Clay series, alongside Nothing is Right and the soon-to-be released Imaginary Friends. In it, we join Clay Dillon shortly after he finally receives his autism diagnosis–at the age of thirty. As he seeks to navigate a professional life that finds his labor marginalized and devalued and a personal life thrown into turmoil by the collision between disability and a lack of access to basic medical services, Clay’s body begins to remember other divergences, and to force them into the foreground of his personal development. On top of its careful examination of the ways that adjunctification and workplace access impact disabled populations in the United States, the novel also takes an unflinching look at the violence that transgender individuals perpetuate against themselves when they attempt to deny their own nature.
Pre-Orders for New Releases
On top of our inventory reduction sale, we are also offering presales with instant ebook delivery for our U.S. customers. Like with our other titles, international customers are welcome to purchase the ebooks as long as they have a valid payment method, but we can not ship abroad. This March, our new releases include two anthologies edited by our new NeuroQueer Books coordinating editor N.I. Nicholson, as well as my (Michael’s) newest novel, Imaginary Friends.
Barking Sycamores published its first issue in the spring of 2014 and from the beginning, it dedicated itself to providing a medium for neurodivergent voices in literature and art. In partnership with Autonomous Press’s NeuroQueer Books, the journal proudly presents its Year One anthology. Collected in this volume are its first four issues, first published online in 2014 and 2015.
FEATURING WORK BY: Sarah Akin, Mikey Allcock, Samm Almester, Amy Barlow Liberatore, Matthew Brown, Cathy Carlisi, Ellie Castellanos, Tasha Chemel, Deanna Christian, Robin Como, Allen Davis, Melissa DeHart, Heather Dorn, fayola, Leila Fortier, Kimberly Gerry Tucker, Jessica Goody, Elizabeth J. (Ibby) Grace, Michael Lee Johnson, Duane L. Herrmann, Madison Kallisti, Jillian Koopman, Thomas Krampf, Craig Kurtz, Savannah Logsdon-Breakstone, Chris McLean, Laura Merleau, David Mitchell, Michael Scott Monje Jr., N.I. Nicholson, A.J. Odasso, Emily Paige Ballou, Thomas Park, C.F. Roberty, Miss Roberts, Maranda Russell, Barbara Ruth, Giorgia Sage, Phillip Sroka, Lucas Scheelk, A.D. Stone, Bethany Tap, Jonathan Travelstead, Candy Waters, Angela Weddle, Christopher Wood-Robbins
In Imaginary Friends, “The strange and terrible saga of Clay Dillon begins with the books Nothing Is Right and Imaginary Friends,and also includes Defiant (which takes place when Clay is 30 years old). The whole saga should be required reading for anyone who works in any capacity with the sort of young people who are often described asgifted, disturbed, troubled, oppositional, defiant, or exceptional…
In a way, Clay himself is an “imaginary friend” to the adults in his life, insofar as when they look at him they don’t see him but instead see an imaginary child, a product of their own misconceptions and projections who has no resemblance (except in the external physical sense) to the real Clay Dillon. Every adult in his life is consistently one hundred percent wrong, all of the time, about Clay’s motivations, needs, feelings, thoughts, and perceptions… They can imagine neither the extent and nature of his difficulties, nor the complexity and sophistication of his thinking.
In this respect, Imaginary Friends constitutes a warning to any adults – especially those in “helping” professions – who are so arrogant as to presume that they can truly understand the realities of their young charges.” – Nick Walker, from the Afterward to the book
Last but definitely not least, The Spoon Knife Anthology collects the work of over 25 authors, including Autonomous Press partners, disability studies scholars, established prose and poetry artists, and emerging storytellers from a variety of backgrounds. Together, these writers deliver a series of meditations on compliance and consent that are simultaneously intimate and alienating.
“This jewel of a collection had me crying, laughing in parts, and becoming outraged. I hope that everyone in the care-taking communities of medicine and mental health reads these rare and wonderful first hand accounts for their own education.”
– Judy Grahn, author of A Simple Revolution, Another Mother Tongue, and Love Belongs to Those Who Do the Feeling
We hope you enjoy them! And I’ll be back in a couple of weeks with some announcements about our June books! You can check out the pre-orders and the whole back catalogue at shop.autpress.com!
Autonomous Press is proud to have Dani Alexis Ryskamp aboard as our newest editor and your future curator for Spoon Knife 2: Test Chamber. On top of her work in activism an blogging, Dani’s writing includes fiction, research and academic essay writing, and a variety of freelance genres. Joining our press isn’t her first job in the industry, and because of that, her experience will help us bring our mission into focus. For instance, when she says:
Your time, effort, and attention are valuable. When you focus them to produce a piece of writing, that writing has value. When you give that writing away without being compensated for it, you are giving charity. It’s a gift. And like all gifts, you are notobligated to give it.
Naturally, a lot of companies realize that simply asking people to give them charity doesn’t fly. So “write for us for free!” is often (though not always!) masked with other terms, like “on spec” or my personal favorite, “for exposure.”
Which is why we’re also glad that she was able to say this, without even having to prompt us to try it:
Autonomous Press, founded in 2015, has published only one book containing the works of disabled writers who were not paid cash money for their contributions. The writers were, h0wever, compensated with at least one physical printed copy of the book apiece (to my knowledge, The Mighty does not print copies of contributors’ submissions for distribution). Contributors to the press’s second compilation, The Real Experts, were paid with contributor copies and cash; contributors to its third, The Spoon Knife Anthology, will be paid in similar form. Every single-author book Autonomous Press has produced to date is also paying royalties to its respective author.
(Incidentally, AutPress’s payment to me for my own contribution to Spoon Knifeis the most I have ever been paid for a single fiction piece.)
If AutPress can produce physical, printed books with a four-figure startup budget and compensate our contributors, The Mighty has no excuse for running a digital-only realm on a seven-figure startup budget and not paying its writers. And as for “exposure,” a print publication outranks a digital one on a CV every time.
And that’s why we’re also happy to announce one last thing:
There’s a blog network coming. And we’re paying.
For now, please check out the rest of Dani’s post about The Mighty, along with her advice about spec work and “exposure.”