Welcome to Bona Fide Books!
bona fide (from Webster’s): made in good faith without fraud or deceit;
made with earnest intent; sincere; authentic
Welcome to Bona Fide Books, an independent press in California’s Sierra Nevada. Our mission is to publish and support new voices, to help writers find their readers, and to build communities around storytelling.
Does the world need another small press? In our opinion, the more of us there are doing good work in the service of literature, the better. Our mission largely rests on the idea of building community and forging connections. In addition to an ether-based community, we also have a bona fide bricks and mortar office, the Center for Wayward Writers in Meyers, Ca, just a few miles from Lake Tahoe. If you find yourself in this part of the Sierra, drop in to check out the latest lit journal, talk about your query letter, and have a cup of tea or something stronger.
Inspired by artist and friend Melissa Lanitis Gregory -- see Our Story below -- we try each day to be brave and unapologetic about the significance of literature and community. Join us!
Kim Wyatt, Publisher & Editor
Kim Wyatt has worked in most facets of publishing, including journalism, textbook development, manuscript evaluation, and as managing editor at print and online publications. Other bona fides include a stint as a bunny girl in Tokyo, a deckhand in Alaska, and over ten years working in Yosemite National Park. She holds an MFA in creative nonfiction from the University of Alaska, Anchorage. Bona Fide Books is the natural convergence of her lifelong love of literature and commitment to community. She is also a fungophile, Francophile, and amateur naturalist. Contact Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lis Korb, Editor 2.0/Craft Control
Lis Korb is an Atlanta native and a seven-year North Tahoe resident. She is the former managing editor of Tahoe Quarterly magazine and web editor of Tahoe Mountain Sports. Her copyediting credits include The Future Is Ours, the political memoir of Juan José Ibarretxe, the former president of the Basque Country, published by the Center for Basque Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno; and Mud Cakes, the poetry collection of Jason Schossler, published by Bona Fide Books. Her SEO work is proven, with monthly visits to the Tahoe Mountain Sports blog jumping from 1,500 to more than 11,500 under her management. Lis writes a bimonthly art column for Moonshine Ink, moonlights as a block printer, and loves wearing jumpsuits from the eighties. Follow Lis's professional work, printmaking endeavors, and postcard collection at blanksmith.com and 28cents.tumblr.com. Contact Lis at email@example.com.
On February 24, 2009, friend and artist Melissa Lanitis Gregory died; she was only 47. I had talked to her earlier that day, and she was going down to Reno for a blood transfusion. She didn’t make it back. We had spent the past few months talking about art v. commerce – I was feeling particularly crappy about writing lightweight articles for pay, editing books I felt little connection to, and neglecting own writing. I also felt that the state of publishing was a mess; it seemed great writing was being overlooked for celebrity advances. Mel was feeling bad about not making jewelry she could sell; instead she was drawn to creating giant papier-mâché hearts. One cold January night, after an inspiring visit with Truckee artist Carole Sesko, we drove home along the west shore of Lake Tahoe. It was one of those fantastical moonlit nights—granite peaks and snow aglow, the lake shimmering a thousand feet below—and it seemed impossibly beautiful. Right then and there, in Mel’s car, we made a pinkie pact that 2009 was the year we would be brave and unapologetic about our true work. And then she was gone. A week after she died, I decided to start a small press: I would have to be brave and unapologetic on my own.
But I'm not alone. First, artist Shelley Zentner helped with design. Erin Bechtol soon came on board to assist in all things editorial. Then the fabulous Lis Korb, editor 2.0. I also belong to two writing groups that are part of the Tahoe basin’s incredible literary community, Tahoe Writers Works and the Wordy Girls. Despite the odds and inclement weather, week after week, year after year, we workshop and hold open mics and produce plays and readings. We wrestle with carving out time to write. And we write the kind of work we want to read. Exciting, distinctive, and relevant. And there are writers like this everywhere, in the woods and in cities and tucked away in cubes or turrets, who just need someone to believe in them. We will take on writers we love and promote the hell out of them.
Bona Fide Books operates online and out of an office near Lake Tahoe, which will also serve as a drop-in center for writers who can’t afford literary journals or want query advice or a tasty beverage. The fellowship of other writers is the lifeblood of Bona Fide. It’s a place where writers and readers are taken seriously; we’ll also have a lot of fun and make great books.
Thanks for reading,
Melissa Lanitis Gregory