The Wapshott Press was founded in 2007 to publish the work of an online friend who was having a run of bad luck. And the cherry on top was that a story that had previously been accepted by a small press was sent back to her. She got the “sorry you’re fucked” letter the day she got out of the hospital. Oh, and she would be back for surgery and had no health insurance. Well, I couldn’t do anything about her health or finances but I could certainly publish her story. And so the publishing world was gifted with a charming collection of gay cuddle porn written by people with two X chromosomes, a handsome volume called “Chase and Other Stories.” And because that was so much fun, Wapshott published a similar collection, “The Tagger and Other Stories,” about a year later.
So, I didn’t start Wapshott to publish myself, but since it was there, I published “The Pajama Boy,” mainly written to get some yaoi tropes out of my head, but also to keep Wapshott active. I then published “The Lady Actress,” a biography of Anna Cora Mowatt by Dr. Kelly S. Taylor, and “The Wizard’s Son,” a fantasy novel by Kathryn L. Ramage. Both are fine books that I found a pleasure to read and so also found a pleasure to publish for the reading pleasure of anyone who gets their hands on a copy. I also started some magazines: The Journal of Bloglandia, because some blog essays are too cool to stay in cyberspace, Storylandia, the Wapshott Journal of Fiction, and Erotique, the Wapshott Journal of Erotica. These last two got their starts because magazines are easier for me to edit, and in the anthologies, there was always some wonderful gay romance with no sex that probably wouldn’t get widely read in an erotica collection. By the way, the Calls for Submissions for these journals are ongoing.
I had hoped to publish “Dr. Hackenbush Gets a Job” and the other Hackenbush books at an established publishing house. When Wapshott started, I still had a New York literary agent shopping the manuscript. But, although there were very nice things said about Hackenbush, there were no takers. And here we are today. I suppose if anyone asked me why I’m self-publishing, the short answer is, because I can. But if my interlocutor wanted to know if I’d publish with a more established publisher, my fast answer would be, hell yes.