To Top

Meet Kate Martin Williams and Jessica Cole of Bloomsday Literary in West Houston

Today we’d like you to meet Kate Martin Williams and Jessica Cole.

Kate and Jessica met as graduate student fiction writers at the University of Tennessee. Starting a press was the best way to make the stories they loved more available. When the team added Phuc Luu of a Houston-based design firm to collaborate on the design elements of book projects, Bloomsday’s core team was complete. Combined with a commitment to craft and grounded in an equitable business model that is itself a natural outgrowth of their relationships with other writers, Bloomsday Literary believes there is plenty of room in today’s rapidly evolving publishing landscape for biting, shining, spark-flying new voices to be heard and read. It’s just as important to publish underrepresented writers as it is to forge lasting connections between new voices and new readers.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
We came out of our schooling grounded in the craft of writing but had little preparation when it came to the business of marketing our own writing and also navigating the path that leads authors to their readers. Fortunately, we learned a lot along the way by joining forces with a design and branding team here in Houston, called Houston Creative Space. With the addition of Phuc Luc, our creative director, Bloomsday was able to begin fully integrated in-house production of book projects that allows us to have creative control over all of our projects.

Please tell us about Bloomsday Literary.
Bloomsday seeks to give voice to the underrepresented in publishing, to voices that are overlooked either because they don’t fit the molds of the NYC Big Five or because they haven’t found purchase in an industry flooded with writers clamoring for readers. We are one of precious few independent presses here in Houston. You look at a place like San Francisco or Minneapolis — indie presses dot many more corners than we have here in Houston; yet, Houston is a vibrant literary city. We have the second-highest ranked graduate program for creative writing in the country. Why should those talents take their work elsewhere? Bloomsday believes the arts are the beating heart of this city, and we hope to be a part of representing that piece of Houston’s identity to the world. Equally important is our commitment to equitable business practices with our writers. Because we’re writers ourselves, we understand the types of relationships authors seek with their publishers. Working with Bloomsday means our authors receive one-on-one attention from their editor and publisher as we shepherd them through the publication process, without paying for all the overhead of a big press. We also get to be a bit more nimble than larger presses, by working shorter deadlines and taking books to print faster. Authors have more creative control over things like cover design and how they’d like to market. We also host our own literary podcast — called F***ing Shakespeare — in conversation (often irreverent) with published authors (never boring) about the craft and business of the writing life. On the show, we take books seriously, just not ourselves. It’s another piece in the Bloomsday platform that helps us get good books into the hands of readers who appreciate them.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
As a kid, I remember loving the feeling of picking out a new book at the bookstore. My mom could say no to pleas from my brothers and me for clothes or toys, but she never said no to books. Nothing was off-limits. One week it was Little Women. the next Babysitter’s Club. Jurassic Park. Agatha Christie. My bookshelf made little sense to anyone but me. But, the idea that you could open up this tiny little world and be completely transported? So, satisfying. I imagined myself to be Alice, through the Looking Glass, every time. You never knew where the story would take you.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Paula Luu, Houston Creative Space

Getting in touch: VoyageHouston is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in