This week on The Three, we have an interview with our co-editor and key contributor: Jo Longley. We ask about her new business, Derailleur Press, and her upcoming collection of poetry, ‘Violet Mints.’
The Three: So, you’ve been absent from The Three for a few weeks, and that’s in part because of your new press—tell us about that.
Jo: Yeah, things with the press have been a little overwhelming, but really lovely. I guess I should start with our backstory. Our name is Derailleur Press—myself and two other talented, incredible ladies that I am lucky enough to be friends with are the founders.
The Three: Well, doesn’t that sound familiar. Who are these talented ladies, and how do you know them?
Jo: I met Kate Hatcher, our nonfiction editor, in grad school. She was in the publishing course, while I was on the creative writing course, but we lived in the same building and were both short brunette girls with glasses who love books—so we got on pretty much immediately.
We met our fiction editor, Cassandra Baim, in Brooklyn. Kate and I were volunteering at Ugly Duckling Presse, stitching poetry chapbooks together, and Cass was there talking about tattoos and literature and wanting to start her own press one day, and I think Kate and I fell in love with her immediately.
The Three: So you guys met making chapbooks, and now you’re starting your own press? That’s pretty full circle!
Jo: Oh, it gets better. Part of our whole deal with Derailleur Press is that we love book arts as much as we love the words that come with them—so all of our books are gonna be hand stitched, yes, but with our first collection, all of the covers are going to be rubber stamped. Our graphic designer is going to do a large line drawn image for us for the cover, and Kate and Cassandra are gonna get carpal tunnel stamping every one of the books.
The Three: I’m glad you mentioned your first collection; tell us more about it.
Jo: Oh boy, yeah, well—the first collection is a chapbook of poems written by yours truly.
The Three: Why is that an “oh boy”?
Jo: Well, you went to grad school with me, you know the whole negative connotations behind self publishing—which I will say are largely dumb, and my anxiety about that is soothed by the fact that I think our press is cool as hell. It’s just that, while I’ve had poetry published before, I’ve always had someone else (i.e. someone I didn’t know) telling me “Yes, this is good enough to publish.”
The other half of my anxiety is that ‘Violet Mints’ is some very vulnerable poetry for me. All poetry is pretty vulnerable, but this is some cut-through-my-spine-right-up-to-the-nerve level stuff and I’m nervous not just about publishing it but actively asking people to pay for it. That’s been tough.
The Three: Hold up, where can I pay for this spine-nerve-poetry?
Jo: Lol, well we have an IndieGogo where you can preorder ‘Violet Mints’ at a discount, and get a complimentary tote bag. There are other levels of ordering as well. I would suggest doing any of the levels where you get a year subscription to Derailleur Press—that’ll mean three books in 2020. I’m really excited about the project after ‘Violet Mints,’ which we’ve titled ‘Conversations With Men’. It’ll be a nonfiction collection so the talented Kate Hatcher will be shaping that one.
The Three: Okay, the IndieGogo, got it. Are there any other ways people can support you?
Jo: Umm, follow us on social media. All of our accounts are @derailleurpress—we’ve just finished a giveaway, but we might have another as our IndieGogo closes.
The Three: Your IndieGogo is closing??
Jo: Yeah, in a few days. No stress through, we’ve met our goal (and then some). So mostly we’re using it as a preorder site. Which works out for everyone because you end up getting a discount and a free tote!
The Three: That’s awesome—I have a favour to ask though. Can we get a sneak peek of ‘Violet Mints’?
Jo: Hmm, fine—but only because it’s you.
I bought violet mints
as some sort of offering, a single item shrine.
I don’t want to tell you how they taste:
in a way I want to forget—like poison
on a lost lover’s lips.
The Three: Thank you so much for giving us a look at your spine! Congrats on the launch of the press, and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the chapbook.
Jo: Thank you for letting me talk about my other passion project here.
The Three: What do you want to close on?
Jo: Hmm, I’ll do a sales pitch—if you like writing that doesn’t just get your gears turning, but shifts them entirely, you should keep an eye on what Derailleur Press is doing.
Support us through our IndieGogo, or follow us on Insta, Facebook, or Twitter @derailleurpress.