By TAK Erzinger
In many ways, I’ve been reborn through nature and writing. My poems are prayers I offer out to the world. My temple is found outside, and I feel closest to God in nature and writing. Therefore, finding the right publisher for my manuscript Tourist was a delicate and methodical process for me; as it most likely is for every writer. It was imperative for me to find a publisher who had enthusiasm and understanding for my vision of this poetry collection. At this point in my writing journey, this meant submitting to independent publishers.
Unfortunately, my publisher/editor Robert Cabello-Argandoña passed away six months after publishing my last collection At The Foot Of The Mountain, which meant I had to start afresh and find a new publisher for my latest collection. I began by researching a great many. This took hours and involved a lot of legwork. I took the time to read about the publishers, their interests, what they’d previously published and tried to imagine my work aligning with their booklist.
After about six months of submitting my manuscript, it was accepted by Sea Crow Press, an independent publisher operating from Barnstable, Massachusetts. Their mission statement spoke to me because it concerns itself with our connection to each other as humans and the natural world. It states: Sea Crow Press is committed to amplifying voices that might otherwise go unheard. In a rapidly changing world, we believe the small press plays an essential part in contemporary arts as a community forum, a cultural reservoir, and an agent of change. We follow a traditional publishing model to create carefully selected and edited books. In turbulent times, we focus on sharing works of beauty that chart a positive course for the future. We welcome emerging writers, experienced authors, and all readers. Working with their editor, Mary Petiet, has been an open and positive experience. Her competence, passion, patience and common sense have been the guiding hand from start to finish in launching Tourist out into the world.
Tourist is my third book and second complete poetry collection. When I began submitting the manuscript, I had a particular type of publisher in mind. I was hoping to be accepted by an independent press. I wanted to work with a publisher who genuinely championed my nature poetry because it spoke to them on a personal level. Rather than the contract being profit-driven, I was looking for a mission-driven home for Tourist; an organisation helping to get my work out into the world because they regarded it as something special that might otherwise become lost in the slush pile of a larger commercial publisher. Moreover, working with an independent press means getting my voice heard without the pressures of commercial publishing. Since I’m writing poetry, there’s no need for an agent, and this is possible when submitting to an independent press. Also, because Tourist falls under the genre of nature poetry with diaspora themes, I was looking for a publisher offering a niche opportunity for this type of poetry. I found this at Sea Crow Press.
One of the things I cherish, and have experienced working with an independent publisher, is the collaboration during the design and editorial process. Mary Petiet at Sea Crow Press encouraged me to submit an illustration for the cover, working closely with me on the design to best represent both myself and the collection. Through the process, we’ve developed a trusted professional relationship. Being able to have this input has made me feel valued for my creativity and vision. My experience with Sea Crow Press and my editor has meant a more personalised support, from the acceptance of the manuscript to the release date. She’s worked closely with me every step of the way throughout the publishing process.
Furthermore, having Tourist published by Sea Crow Press has offered the best of both worlds outside of the big publishing houses. It’s offered the accessibility to international sales spanning from suppliers for main book retailers, to wholesalers supplying independent bookshops.
For me, working with an independent press for all three of my books has equated support as well as a reasonable amount of control throughout the different publishing stages. Lastly, having my books published by an indie press has added legitimacy to my work, making it eligible for a wide range of awards. This helps me to continue to build my platform as a poet and a writer.
Tourist by TAK Erzinger published by Sea Crow Press 2023 (Massachusetts)
Tourist encompasses a journey that unburdens the weight of past guilt and trauma. During this voyage, spanning multiple cultures and stages in life, the importance of following one’s inner voice and embracing one’s own path is discovered. Revelations are made in the middle of the night, during a pandemic, in the heart of the forest, at the seaside and in food; snapshots of past and present. Through the wonder and surprise of nature the search for identity is explored, surrendering to what cannot be changed and confronting the mercurial temperament of relationships and how they are perceived, one poem at a time.
Currently available online at Sea Crow Press Shop, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and many more booksellers.
TAK Erzinger is an American/Swiss poet and artist with a Colombian background.
Her poetry has been featured by journals at Indiana University, Cornell University, McMaster University, the University of Baltimore and more. Erzinger’s poetry collection At The Foot Of The Mountain (Floricanto Press 2021), won the University of Indianapolis, Etchings Press Whirling Prize for 2021 for best nature poetry book and was a finalist at The International Book Awards 2022. It was also a finalist at the Willow Run Book Awards and Eyelands Book Awards. Her poetry collection Tourist (Sea Crow Press 2023), was released in April. Erzinger has been accepted as a ‘writer in residence’ by the Art Center Padula, Residency Programme for August to September 2023 partially funded by the Savannah College of Art and Design.
She lives on the foothills of the Alps in Switzerland with her husband and two cats.
To hear TAK Erzinger read two poems from the collection and an interview about her work, go to Latinx Lit Magazine Podcast
Previous works by TAK Erzinger
- At The Foot Of The Mountain, poetry collection (Floricanto Press, California 2021)
- Stella’s Constellation, audio drama (Alt.Stories and Fake Realities Podcast 2021)
- Found: Between The Trees, chapbook (Grey Borders Books, Canada 2019)
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I wanted to work with a publisher who genuinely championed my nature poetry because it spoke to them on a personal level; helping to get my work out into the world because they regarded it as something special that might otherwise become lost in the slush pile of a larger commercial publisher.