Epigraph Publishing Service is a home for books where authors can find solutions to their many publishing needs. Unlike most self-publishing companies, our roots are in traditional publishing, and we grew from there to embrace and master on-demand technologies. (Epigraph is a DBA of Monkfish Book Publishing Company, an award-winning traditional small press founded in 2002, specializing in books that combine literary and spiritual merits.)
When Epigraph was launched in 2006, it instantly became a pioneer in the cross-pollination of traditional and self-publishing techniques. Most of the authors attracted to our “boutique” style of self-publishing service were (and still are) sensitive to traditional publishing standards and did not want their books to look or read as self-published. These authors wanted creative control as well as collaboration with seasoned publishing professionals. Two notable early Epigraph authors were the graphic memoirist Lucy Knisley, whose French Milk was acquired and published by Touchstone (Simon and Schuster) and helped launch her thriving career, and Major Benjamin Tupper, whose Welcome to Afghanistan led to a two-book deal with New American Library (Penguin). Among the most gratifying publications was Some Delights of the Hudson Valley, an Anthology of Hudson Valley Humor, edited by The New Yorker Magazine cartoonist Danny Shanahan. This book, co-conceived by publisher and author, was published as a fund-raiser for our local arts council, and to celebrate the marvelous diversity of creative talent who lived in our backyard. The launch venue was donated by our local school, Bard College, and some 500 people turned out to see their very talented neighbors read, act out, sing or otherwise communicate their love of the place we live in together. The publication and launch event were covered in nearly all the local press/media. The contributors didn't want the party to end (this was fun), and so, we went to our local recording studio and spent two days recording the best jokes and stories from the book. Our local Northeast Public Radio station played the selections for a full year after the event. Some Delights proved to us all how fulfilling on-demand publishing could be.
Over the years, we have continually refined our products and services, keeping step with emerging technologies as well as with the shifting cultural status of self-publishing. Today, we offer an ever-broadening range of services, including eBooks, DIY options, and traditional publicity to a more accepting world. In 2006, there were no credible review venues for self-published work. We coached our authors on grassroots and low-cost guerilla marketing techniques, and we and they enjoyed some startling successes. Today, self-published authors are routinely covered in serious mainstream publications from Publishers Weekly to The New York Times. In fact, I like to think that Epigraph and our daring early authors had a small part to play in that reversal. One thing is for sure: important doors have opened and self-publishing authors today have unparalleled opportunity.
You may have noticed that we have an unusual word or two in our company name: Epigraph Publishing Service. “Epigraph,” in publishing terms, means “a short quotation or saying at the beginning of a book or chapter, intended to suggest its theme.” Our second unusual word is “Service.” That word choice signifies our basic orientation toward our authors. We’re not in this business simply to turn a profit. We’re here to empower our authors to create great literature. We are as safe—and as smart—a harbor for your books and intellectual property as you are likely to find in this wild, new digital world. We strive to be “good company” in all senses of the phrase. I firmly believe you will find this philosophy reflected in all of our products and services.
I wish you every joy and success in your writing and publishing journeys.
Epigraph President and Founder Paul Cohen.
Paul Cohen is the president/publisher of Epigraph Publishing Service as well as editor/publisher of Monkfish Book Publishing Company. Prior to starting his own company, Cohen had worked as a sales executive for two independent book distributors. During his eight years in distribution he oversaw book sales to bookstores and libraries while acquiring distribution contracts with traditional small press publishers. He founded Monkfish Book Publishing Company in 2002 and established distribution through the highly regarded literary indie press distributor, Consortium. After a few years Cohen began to realize that traditional book publishing, as he had known it, was about to undergo profound, irreversible changes due to the emergence of digital publishing platforms such as print-on-demand, self-publishing, and eBooks. In 2006, he created Epigraph Publishing Service as a way to immerse himself and his press in publishing’s new technologies. Today, he remains firmly planted in the parallel worlds of traditional and self-publishing.