Student-run presses are not a new concept. Most MFA programs for creative writing publish literary journals, which MFA students work on while in school. And many universities have student-run newspapers, such as UCSB’s Daily Nexus.
But not many schools have student-run book publishers. A couple weeks ago, I met an author whose book had been acquired and published by Apprentice House, “the nation’s first and only book publishing house entirely run by students.” Apprentice House is run by students at Loyola University Maryland who acquire, design, edit, produce, and market books over the course of three classes. Three semesters is about the same amount of time it takes a regular publisher to produce a book. According to the site, leaps in technology is what have allowed students to actually publish books.
Apprentice House has published 28 books, and they are actively looking for new authors. Submissions are reviewed once per year, during the Fall semester, and students are looking for manuscripts that are insightful, local, supernatural, memoir or biography, or travel related.
Though Apprentice House may be the only publisher entirely run by students, there are other schools who give credit to students in exchange for publishing books. The Athenaeum Press is the university press of Coastal Carolina University, and professors, graduate students, and undergrads work together to publish books.
According to the press’s website, “The Athenaeum Press is a student-centered laboratory for document design, editing, publishing, and digital media development and dissemination. Located in the Thomas W. & Robin W. Edwards College of Humanities & Fine Arts at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina, the educational mission of The Athenaeum Press requires that every step of each publication project—from research to writing, conception to design, production to promotion—involve and enhance student skills.”
Athenaeum Press’s most recent book is Chasing the Paper Canoe, which is about “Nathaniel Bishop’s trip down the Waccamaw River in a paper canoe more than a century ago.” Published in April 2013, the book was published by five faculty advisors and three students. One of the students, Marcello Garofalo, created many of the multimedia aspects.
But the most interesting student-run book publisher that I found is Unique Ink Publishing, which is run by a team of Roosevelt High School students mentored by faculty and students at Portland State University’s Ooligan Press. The students published their first book this week, Where the Roses Smell Best. It’s an anthology that includes work from Roosevelt students and local authors.