Sixteen Rivers Press was founded in 1999 by seven San Francisco Bay Area writers. Our goal was to create a sustainable, shared-work publishing collective run by and for Bay Area poets. The original model was Alice James Books, which in the 1970s created a regional collective press in the Boston area.
Our mission is to represent new and diverse voices by bringing in one to two new members each year, and to mentor writers and literary organizations in the collective publishing process.
Current Membership: The press currently has eighteen members: five founding members, and thirteen members selected through our annual manuscript competition. All members contribute to the operation of the press, and all income from book sales returns to the press for the production of future authors’ works.
New Members Selection: New members are selected on the basis of a book-length manuscript of poems submitted during our reading period, November 1 to February 1. Prospective members are also asked to identify their interest in collective publishing and the skills they can bring to the press’s operation. Read our submission guidelines here.
Business of the Press: The members meet once a month, on Sunday mornings, to conduct the business of the press. We shepherd our newest authors through the publishing process, schedule readings and plan fund-raising events where well-known poets read for supporters, and participate in conferences such as AWP and in regional book fairs. As more and more readers discover our beautiful books, our sales have steadily increased, and at the same time the Sixteen Rivers’ extended family of friends and donors has grown each year.
Advisory Board and Nonprofit Board: The press enlists the support and advice of authors and publishers. The current advisory board consists of seventeen advisors whose primary responsibilities are to promote Sixteen Rivers Press within their own literary communities, and to encourage Bay Area poets interested in collective publishing to send us their work during our submission period. Sixteen Rivers Press is a federal and California nonprofit corporation [501(c)(3)], governed by a board of five directors elected by members of the press.
Publication Schedule: The press publishes at least two books of poetry each spring, including one book by a current collective member. New members may expect their manuscripts to be published in the second year of their three-years’ service.
Marketing, Book Sales, and Distribution: Sales of books come primarily through mail orders from our annual brochure, online book orders, and direct sales of books at author readings, book fairs, and other events. Our book distributor is Small Press Distribution of Berkeley, and our titles are listed in their catalog (Small Press Distribution, http://www.spdbooks.org, 1341 Seventh Street, Berkeley, CA 94710-1409, (510) 524-1668, (800) 869-553). Our books are available for sale in bookstores and through Amazon.
Community Service and Outreach: Sixteen Rivers has sponsored youth writing contests, offered community workshops on publishing, visited classrooms, and mentored groups interested in establishing their own collective presses. Please contact us if you are interested in one of our outreach programs.
Fundraising Efforts: Besides raising money through sales of our books, we also rely on financial help from friends and supporters. We solicit donations and subscription sales through an annual mailing of our catalog, and by hosting an annual fund-raising event. Our projects are supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Please consider making a donation to Sixteen Rivers Press. Become a Friend of Sixteen Rivers (Tributary $100, Watercourse $250 or Wellspring $500) and receive a free 2015 subscription (s&h included) and acknowledgment in our 2015 catalog.