My name’s Frank Burton – creator of the non-profit online publisher, Philistine Press. I’d like to tell you something about the origins of Philistine, and the purpose we serve.
My first contact with the online publishing community was through getting bits of fiction and poetry published in online magazines. As a young writer, I was more excited by the prospect of my work being promoted online than I was about getting into print.
I mean no disrespect to printed publications, but online literary magazines have two great advantages. First of all, the potential audience is far greater. If your work is online, anyone on the planet who has internet access can log on and read your work. (This doesn’t necessarily mean anyone will, but at the very least the possibility is there.)
Secondly: they’re free. They’re free in the sense that editors can publish whatever the hell they like. They’re also free of charge.
They’re free of charge because they’re run by people who love literature, and aren’t doing it for the money (if, indeed, there’s money to be made). They’re free because if there were a cost attached to their content, far fewer people would show an interest. Non-profit publishing is about finding great literature and making it available to as many people as possible. Philistine Press was founded on these principles.
Somehow we’ve managed to make it a success. There aren’t many things you can justifiably describe as unique, and I’m proud to say Philistine Press is one of those things.
I’m not blowing my own trumpet too hard by saying that. I may be the creator of this ever-expanding online labyrinth, but it’s the extraordinary gathering of writers who’ve made us what we are.
There’s the confrontational and highly explicit confessional poetry of Mr If. There’s Annette Greenaway’s verse manifesto, The Joy of Atheism. There’s Stephanie Newell’s novel The Third Person, which could’ve easily won the Booker Prize if we could afford the £5000 entry fee. Weird and wonderful stuff, in equal measures.
Our submissions policy is as broad as it possibly could be. Any genre of fiction or poetry is considered. If it’s great, we publish it – it’s as simple as that. One of the great things about non-profit publishing is that there’s no need to ask ourselves the question, ‘Will this make money?’
Strangely, there are very few publishers who do what we do. There are a considerable number of small press publishers who specialise in print titles and paid-for ebooks. Many of these publishers make little or no money. As such, they’re non-profit without calling themselves non-profit. It’s surprising how few small presses have made the transition from conventional print publishing to free of charge online titles in the way that so many magazines have done.
Perhaps non-profit digital publishing is the future of the small presses. I don’t know.
Anyway, if you’re reading this, I’m guessing you have an interest in ebooks, in which case please visit http://www.philistinepress.com.