Culture  Freshly pressed

Alternative publisher offers new authors a chance

Like many people who contribute to The Daily and other campus publications, I hope to pursue writing as a career option; whether that work ends up being full-time, part-time, or on my time remains to be seen. Regardless, each writer with similar goals has fretted over the daunting task of getting their name recognized in publishing circles, much less getting their material actually published. Every writer has heard horror stories of mass rejection, with manuscripts sent back from every company that offered the opportunity for a realized dream. Luckily for us, a fellow Montreal writer, MaryAnn Hayatian acknowledged this problem as well, creating Flower Press Publishing as a solution.

Unlike other publishing companies, Flower Press does not deal in rejection. In my interview with Hayatian, her words emphasized the company’s pro-opportunity stance on dealing with potential clients’ manuscripts. “We look for writers that want to publish because they do have the talent and they do their best to pursue it,” stated Hayatian, who graduated from Concordia in 2001 with a degree in art design. “We don’t want to have people [who] want to publish a book for the sake of having a book…published and for the money.”

Evidently, the focus for Hayatian and her publishing brainchild, only a year old, is on providing a helping hand for those who write because they love writing – not for those looking to affirm a measure of status in the literary realm. The two are sometimes conflated, and for Flower Press, that simply won’t do. “[Other publishing companies] take in famous writers, people with connections,” affirmed Hayatian, who clearly had a less than enthusiastic attitude towards this particular demographic. “As if these [famous writers] took their own time to write their story…we in the writing and publishing field doubt it.” Clearly, wealth and status are two factors that potential Flower Press clients should not be concerned with, a boon to most students who might be interested (especially those of us in the Arts).

Like other young aspiring authors, Hayatian felt the negative energy emanating from the publishing business early in her writing career, despite having her own work successfully recognized. “I noticed the people in this society were unfair; I noticed that writers were getting disappointed, receiving rejection letters from known publishing companies. Many writers quit their writing careers [because of this]. I decided to open a publishing company and help the writers that have the spark in them. I want to make a difference to the world.” Such dedication to helping up-and-coming creative minds write for the sake of writing is certainly admirable, and the cry issued by Flower Press against monolithic publishing companies that have no regard for the “little guy” is one that we students can certainly sympathize with.

Hayatian was also kind enough to share some tips on dos and don’ts when it comes to presenting a manuscript to a publishing company. “Effort of meaningful description and detail to the text [are important],” she said, while “punctuation and spelling when it comes to Canadian writing [versus] American writing” are issues that often come up when editing a manuscript. If you’re in need of a cover design, Flower Press can provide that as well; Hayatian told me that the two books that have been published through her company have both had their covers designed by herself and her associate, who split all the duties involved with the business. “[We] had a fun time editing, designing book covers, and adding better corrections [to the books]. There were [many] sales for both books, and still are.”

Throughout the interview, Hayatian was adamant that those looking for an opportunity to realize their writing dreams can do so just as effectively through a smaller, more personal publishing company. “Every type of manuscript is equal   – we would like to publish all sorts of subjects.” In a world where such open reception is rare, Flower Press provides hope for an easier path to allow writers to keep on writing.

MaryAnn Hayatian can be contacted at info@flowerpress.ca.