Tell us about Vegan Heritage Press.
In 2006, I decided to make a clean break from the work-a-day world and move to the mountains. I’ve worked in various aspects of book and magazine publishing for many years and I wanted to put my skills and experience to use for something positive that could make a difference in the world. As I’ve been vegan since the late 1980s, starting Vegan Heritage Press seemed like a perfect way to merge my skills with something I’m passionate about. So, in 2007 I founded Vegan Heritage Press as an independent book publishing company that would publish vegan cookbooks. By spring, VHP will have six titles in its list.
What are some of your newest releases people can pick up for the holidays?
I’m extremely excited about our two new titles: World Vegan Feast: 200 Fabulous Recipes form Over 50 Countries by vegan cooking icon, Bryanna Clark Grogan. Bryanna is a fount of knowledge and her recipes are amazing.
Our other 2011 title is The Blooming Platter Cookbook: A Harvest of Seasonal Vegan Recipes, a wonderfully creative book by Betsy DiJulio, Arranged by the seasons, this book helps you cook your way through the year using seasonal ingredients.
One of my goals at Vegan Heritage Press is to publish cookbooks to round out my list with books that cover a wide range of needs in the vegan community. So, for example, those who want to create vegan versions of their favorite diner food and other comfort food will enjoy American Vegan Kitchen: Delicious Comfort Food from Blue Plate Specials to Homestyle Favorites by Tamasin Noyes.
For those who need quick 15-minute pantry recipes and want to know how to eat well when the power goes out, there’s my own book, Vegan Unplugged: A Pantry Cuisine Cookbook and Survival Guide. It includes 80 great pantry recipes by Robin Robertson, who also wrote our flagship title, Vegan Fire & Spice: 200 Sultry and Savory Global Recipes.
In the spring, I’ll be publishing our first raw cookbook, though it will be something brand new and interesting for everyone who is raw or experimenting with raw. Stay tuned!
What kind of challenges have you faced as a small press?
As the publisher of a small press, I have to wear a lot of different hats. That can be challenging, but it’s also very rewarding and fun. I’m fortunate to work with some great freelance graphics designers, editors, proofreaders, and marketing consultants. And I enjoy the one-on-one relationships I have with our authors. Many people like the idea of working with and supporting vegan businesses.
One challenge is to resist bringing out more than two titles a year. I limit the number because I believe a title needs six months of promotion. The big publishers can’t afford to do this—they usually give a book six weeks or so, and then it’s “sink or swim.” With two titles per year, I can turn on a dime, react to market trends via the social media, and work hands-on together with the authors to spread the word about what I believe to be valuable and wonderful books.
Who’s one of your favorite cookbook authors that you haven’t worked with yet?
Is that a trick question? There are so many great cookbook authors out there, I couldn’t name just one, but it’s probably someone I haven’t met yet that will have the next great idea for a vegan cookbook. And of course, I’ve very much enjoyed getting to know the wonderful authors I’ve worked with at Vegan Heritage Press and I think of them as family. I can’t help but extend that to all vegan authors and vegans in general.
Tell us about another vegan-owned business that you love that other people may not know about.
I really like what’s being done on Vegan Etsy. It’s great to see so many talented vegans on one site. All kinds of crafts, art, jewelry. I love the images posted by Josh at the Herbivore Clothing Company about how important it is for the vegan community to support each other. And the Vegan Etsy site is a great shopping alternative for fantastic hand-crafted gifts and keeps your dollars in the vegan community.