The idea behind Ten Piscataqua is a simple one—bring ten outstanding local achievements to the attention of the region’s arts community, one coffee table book at a time in the case of visual artists, and one paperback anthology every other year in the case of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction writers. The Piscataqua watershed is blessed with an exceptional diversity of talent and we’re looking for ways to discover, explore and support outstanding talent in their own community. So far we’ve crowdfunded and published Ten Piscataqua Photographers, the first in our series of coffee table books. Now Ten Piscataqua Painters is on track to publish in the fall of 2021.
We aren’t your traditional publishing house, first we reach out to contemporary artists and writers working in the Piscataqua watershed with a Call for Entries, from which we select and invite 10 to collaborate on our next book. We aren’t saying these are the best artists of a particular medium in the region, instead our books represent a diversity of talent we think the community should know about and celebrate. The artists and writers invited divvy one quarter of the book’s net profit. We have no full time employees, instead we recruit creative professionals from the region to help produce and market the book. This crew sharesanother quarter of the book’s net profit. The rest remains with Ten Piscataqua and largely goes to cover continuity, warehousing, and rent.
Unlike mostpublishers, we don’t have a national distribution network. We depend on our growing network of backers and patrons from the community to support us, by ordering copies in advance at a discounted price, along with other donations in return for various rewards during the project’s crowdfunding period. Crowdfunding is similar to supporting your Public Radio or TV station, only instead of getting a mug for your donation, we provide a first edition copy of the book at a discount price with free shipping. Once we raise enough money for printing and manufacturing the book with crowdfunded pledges from the community, we can put it on press. What we’re able to raise beyond our breakeven target, becomes net profit and gets shared among the featured artists and the creative professionals who’ve invested their time and talents in that particular book.
Once a book is off press and we’ve fulfilled our orders from backers and patrons, we distribute copies to regional retailers like book stores, galleries, and gift shops where the public can purchase copies after the crowdfunding period has ended. Folks can also buy directly from us through our online Shop and get free shipping.
Within a month or two of the book coming off press, we hang an exhibition of original works by the ten artists and hold a book signing event, and for writers we hold a book signing and reading events for where the community can meet the ten artists, get copies of their books signed, as well as see their original work on the walls. In the year to follow, the exhibit may go on the road to a few other venues around the region, allowing other communities in the watershed to meet and celebrate the talent gathered in the book.
But by that time, we’re also well into the editing and production of the next title in the series.