Southern Fried Karma
by Emily Jaeger, Features Editor
SFK Press, a.k.a. Southern Fried Karma, is an independent press founded by Steve McCondichie devoted to publishing Southern authors. Based in Metro Atlanta, McCondichie is after works that expand the definition of Southern literature, from “the bespectacled Flannery O’Connor” to authors who “have dumped the askew pastorals on their asses.” Essentially, he is looking for contemporary artistic voices that speak with a Southern accent.
A debut author himself, McCondichie’s press is interested in putting authors and unique stories first, over the industry-oriented goals of traditional publishing, and creating a publication process that makes room for new voices: “I wanted to encourage aspiring authors and circumvent the painstaking process of traditional publishing by offering a simple path to a bigger audience. I’m a writer. I understand the angst in query letters and agent searches.”
SFK’s first title is McCondichie’s own, Lying for a Living, a bit of an unconventional move for a professional press. However, SFK is already looking for its next title by way of a no-fee contest for novels, which is currently open until May 31, 2017 (submit! submit!). In the contest guidelines, McCondichie writes: “The successful manuscript will go beyond stereotypical depictions and illuminate the multiplicity of the Southern experience; past, present, or future; the good, the bad, and especially the unexpected.” The winning author will be awarded a contract with SFK and a $1500 advance.
Another interesting SFK Press feature is the SFK blog series. Rather than merely promoting SFK titles, the blog takes a wider look at the Southern art scene. Reviews span multiple genres: literature, art, film, etc. Other articles explore relevant cultural and literary topics, from questions of literary genre in “Is the Novella the New Netflix?” to the socially conscious “Who Writes the Fiction of Slavery?” While some blogs are written by SFK staff, the press also invites any interested writers to submit pitches. The blog is accessible on the SFK site and by subscription to their newsletter, which includes other treats, such as excerpts of SFK titles.
A recent post, “Poetry’s Potent Power,” reflects the tendency of the SFK blog to look beyond the press to promote and explore contemporary Southern art. In “Poetry’s Potent Power,” Kelsey Asher writes to an audience less familiar with poetry. “Poetry is a genre as complicated and literary as the writers that devote their lives to this art. Don’t assume poetry equals sappy red roses wilting in Hallmark cards.” By reviewing four Southern poets (Bethsheba A. Rem, E. Kristin Anderson, Allison Joseph, and Melissa Carroll), Asher not only encourages the Southern literary community to embrace their local artists but also connects outsiders with new “poets to watch.”
If you are a Southern author or blogger, SFK Press is an opportunity to get in on the ground level and perhaps even find a life-long publisher. For those interested in reading or learning more about Southern literature and the arts, SFK’s newsletter and regular blog posts are a portal into the contemporary voice of the South.
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