Today, the Press employs five full-time staff members, three of whom are editors, and publishes between 15 and 20 titles a year. The offices (when people are able to get back to them) are at the CUNY building on Fifth Avenue in New York City, across the street from the Empire State Building, and above the former location of B. Altman, best known to current generations as the workplace of Mrs. Maisel. In normal years, it also hosts the annual Feminist Power Awards to honor female visionaries in a variety of fields.
Unlike many larger publishers, the Press is entirely mission driven, Ms. Wilson says, and this informs everything it does. “Your advance might not have as many zeros as other places,” she says, “but your author care will be unmatched.” She compares the editing process to “going to the gynecologist and they put warm mitts on before they examine you — someone thought about your dignity.”
Ms. Wilson also notes that, thanks largely to the political climate, she increasingly “gets the sense that authors like to be associated with the Feminist Press as part of the positioning of their book.”
Dr. Brittney Cooper, who co-edited the The Crunk Feminist Collection, comprising essays on intersectionality, feminism, politics and culture based on the popular blog, says she is thankful the Feminist Press chose to publish the collection “without a lot of rigmarole.” It “represented an investment, and making sure that much of the thinking happening in the digital feminist era would be sustained for generations to come.”
While the combination of the coronavirus pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests rocked much of the publishing world — independent bookstores, especially, are struggling and the largely white publishing industry has been undergoing a monthslong reckoning — the Press has remained steady. Ms. Wilson credits its long history in “gender justice” spaces, as well as 50 years of dealing with the financial challenges of the nonprofit space.
“It’s not the first time we’ve seen adversity and had to work together to transform,” Ms. Wilson says.