by Joshua Hren
Wiseblood Books began four years ago in response to a visible vacuum in our culture: the Catholic (and catholic!) literary culture of the previous century had waned, fiction exploring eternal questions had petered out, and yet the need for literature that possesses a sacramental vision of reality had only increased. We saw the good work being done by literary magazines such as Dappled Things, and saw also how difficult it was for authors whose work was charged with a Christian vision to locate a publisher.
Four years later, I am simultaneously proud and humbled to be able to say that as of June, 2017, we have filled a small corner of that vacuum with twelve fiction titles, six poetry titles, four monographs, and two works of literary criticism.
Launching and sustaining a small press requires a fortitude that borders on pigheaded stubbornness. It means countless late nights at the desk, as well as a dangerous willingness to take risks so that brilliant new books may be brought into being. While Wiseblood Books has so far been able to create and distribute rich, well-reviewed books--including our “constitutional document,” Dana Gioia’s The Catholic Writer Today--on a tiny budget, your support will help keep us independent and vital. Supporting a small press is an act of gravity-defying kindness but it is also a necessity; without your donations we will simply be unable to forge a timely yet enduring idiom in the Catholic literary tradition.
We’re running a fundraiser in the hopes of raising $15,000, which would be our operating budget through the middle of 2018. This is our first fundraiser since 2013, when we raised a meager $10,000. We’ve accomplished a lot with a shoestring budget, but now but now we need to build a solid foundation to prepare the way for the next phase of Wiseblood’s mission.
Our plans for the funds we raise are concrete and touch all aspects of the press, from staffing to book production, marketing, and distribution. Your donation will allow us to supplement the current stipend for our Director of Marketing, Charles Schmitt, so that he can assume full-time work, making important advances in our marketing and distribution. He has already demonstrated a remarkable capacity for the work he is doing; now we need to ensure that he can stay on full time! We also plan to use funds raised to allow our Managing Editor, Angela Cybulski, to work full-time alongside Charles. Angela is our most experienced editor, with a very impressive resume in academia and professional editing. Her full-time attention is vital to maintaining our high standard of literary excellence as we push to grow Wiseblood in new ways. With Charles and Angela fully on board, our titles will find broader readership, and in this way, the leaven of our authors’ fine work will elevate the culture.
Your donation to our campaign will also help us prepare the fiction and poetry titles we are currently working on for our 2018 publication calendar and increase the visibility of three forthcoming monographs in our successful Wiseblood Essays in Contemporary Culture series:
1) Girard biographer Cynthia Haven’s Everything Came to Me at Once: The Intellectual Vision of René Girard
2) First Things Editor-in-Chief Rusty Reno’s essay on Henry James and the Lie of the Beautiful Life
3) French Catholic Political Philosopher Pierre Manent’s remarkable reading of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, The Tragedy of the Republic
You can see the early success of our fundraiser or make a donation directly by visiting our official Classy Fundraiser Page.
I look forward to hearing from you, and express my deep gratitude for your friendship and time.
Joshua Hren, Ph.D.