Skip to Content

Editor Interview: Trail to Table Press

Q: Describe what you publish in 25 characters or less.

A: Literary prose & poetry

Q: What other current publications (or publishers) do you admire most?

A: There are too many to name, but some of our favorite small press book publishers include Copper Canyon, Graywolf, Red Hen, Two Sylvias, Concrete Wolf, Milkweed Editions, Diode, Catapult, and many other truly great presses.

Q: If you publish writing, who are your favorite writers? If you publish art, who are your favorite artists?

A: I can never answer the question "Who are your favorite writers" because, inevitably, I regret not naming all the phenomenal writers out there. In general, though, they are authors who bring fresh perspective and fresh language to the page in a way that embraces gravitas, while giving us deeper insights and deeper appreciation for this life and each other.

Q: What sets your publication apart from others that publish similar material?

A: We have a specific mission to publish literary works that transform our thinking about how we engage with the earth and each other as thoughtful, generous stewards in our actions and interactions, whether on the trail, as consumers and makers, or around the table through genuine connection and respect for life.

Q: What is the best advice you can give people who are considering submitting work to your publication?

A: Despite how our name may sound, we are not looking for how-to books on foraging or cooking wild foods. We love eco-writing, but not exclusively. We're open to all literary works with an emphasis on literary. We appreciate authors who take risks, are compelled by an inner music and their own ethos, and show consistency and clarity of purpose in their manuscripts.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: A work where language, meaning, music, and form all come together with intention. The author might not have started out knowing exactly how they wanted to write their manuscript, but by the time they submitted it, they were very clear and purposeful about its content and construction.

Q: What do submitters most often get wrong about your submissions process?

A: Some submitters make mistaken assumptions about the kinds of books we publish. Or they send us manuscripts outside our open reading period.

Q: How much do you want to know about the person submitting to you?

A: Publication credits are not why we select works. Cover letters can be useful, if they help the editor understand the author's driving impulses in creating the work. We don't seek a synopsis, but we do want to understand what genre it is (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or hybrid), and what compelled the author to write it. If the work, for example, wrestles with certain issues, we're glad to see the author articulate that in the cover.

Q: If you publish writing, how much of a piece do you read before making the decision to reject it?

A: Every submission is read by a minimum of two editors. We read well into each manuscript for an initial pass to identify works that aren't a fit for the press,. We read entire manuscripts after that point. In rare cases, we will rule out a manuscript if it's fundamentally disrespectful to specific groups of people.

Q: What additional evaluations, if any, does a piece go through before it is accepted?

A: The quality of the writing and the overall composition of the manuscript are paramount. We also may consider how the book will fit within our list, but that's secondary to the writing.

Q: What is a day in the life of an editor like for you?

A: Each book is assigned two editors who will read it and make a recommendation. However, all of our editors have access to all submissions, so other editors can, and often will, read the manuscripts and weigh in. In addition to editorial notes, editors recommend advancing books to the next round of review with a Yes, No, or Maybe. Manuscripts that receive two Yeses automatically go to the next level. Those with one Yes and a No or Maybe, are discussed further, as are those with two Maybes. From there, editors revisit the manuscripts, and we make final decisions.

Q: How important do you feel it is for publishers to embrace modern technologies?

A: We're all for technologies that help authors get their words into the hands (or screens) of readers, and help we editors do our jobs better, too.

Q: How much do you edit an accepted piece prior to publication?

A: We work with authors to refine their manuscripts and encourage them to find someone they trust who can be a fresh pair of eyes to proofread. We make editorial suggestions. We don't make edicts. Authors always have the final say.

Q: Do you nominate work you've published for any national or international awards?

A: Yes. We nominate for international, national, and state book awards, the Pushcarts, and other honors.