Hub City Press publishes new and extraordinary voices from the American South. Because relatively few Southern authors are published in New York, we like to think we are helping to set the trend by championing literary books that offer a new take on this storied region. Aside from that, Hub City also operates the independent bookstore in Spartanburg, South Carolina. We’ve noticed that literary dystopia is still going strong—books like Omar El Akkad’s American War and Lidia Yuknavitch’s The Book of Joan. One of our fall titles, Brock Adams’ Ember, lines up with that trend—in Ember, the sun’s burning out and a reluctant band of refugees is making its way across the snow-covered South as paramilitaries are seizing control.
What book/genre/topic would you like to see cross your transom?
Ideally, we are looking for books that have something new to say about the American South or at least have a nuanced or surprising perspective on the region. The perfect Hub City book throws a curveball at you. For instance, our most recent novel, Julia Franks’ Over the Plain Houses, fits comfortably into Appalachian noir, but when you get inside, you find it’s a feminist novel about reproductive choice that has as much to say about our current political climate as the one in which it is set. A recent memoir, Flight Path by Hannah Palmer, is an urban history of the Atlanta airport overlaid with a young mother’s search for her family’s roots buried by unchecked progress.
What topic don’t you ever want to see again?
Honestly, we’re pretty tired of Southern novels focused on meth-addicted, hyperviolent characters. We’ve read that book too many times.
How do you work with self-published authors?
We don’t publish books that have already been released to the market. But we champion indie authors in our own community by giving them book launch events in our bookstore.
What do you want to change about publishing?
The publishing industry is still not as inclusive as it should be. We want to see more diversity (including race, gender, LGBTQIA, people with disabilities, as well as ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities) in the books that are making it to the market as well as in the people who are working in the industry. In our corner of the world, we work really hard to craft our small list to reflect the vast diversity of the large region we represent.
We also would like to see more geographic diversity in publishing! We dream of the day when saying we’re an independent publisher from Spartanburg, South Carolina, doesn’t surprise people as much as it does now. There are so many fantastic presses operating outside of New York City, in cities like Rochester, New York, and Minneapolis. We’re proud to be doing our part in the South.
What’s unique about your corner of the publishing industry?
First, there aren’t many nonacademic publishers existing in the South. Or entirely women-run as well. And there are even fewer around the country that operate their own bookstores. The bookshop has taught us a lot about the book sales business—plus we’ve met tons of wonderful authors! Mostly we want to keep publishing beautiful books and championing writers who might otherwise be overlooked.
Anything else you’d like to add?
After 22 years as director of the press, I will slide into the position of editor this summer, and Hub City Press is welcoming Meg Reid as its new director. And our distribution is moving to Publishers Group West. I am very excited about that!
A former journalist, Betsy Teter is a co-founder of the nonprofit Hub City Writers Project, based in Spartanburg, South Carolina, which cultivates readers and nourishes writers through its independent press, community bookshop, and diverse literary programming. At Hub City Press, she selects five to six books a year in the genres of fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, memoir, and regional culture. A native of Spartanburg, she is a graduate of Wake Forest University and the mother of two sons who work in Brooklyn. Betsy is the 2017 individual winner of the South Carolina Governor’s Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award for the Arts.