Where else but in Alaska would you find an ambitious publishing venture that bills itself as a cross between Ben and Jerry’s and Harley Davidson? Publisher Barbara Farris talks here about 40 Below Ink, which is preparing to launch its first books later this year.

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became involved in publishing.

I have been writing since I was five or six years old. I have an MFA in Art and taught art at the college level for three years. I became involved in publishing because I love books and writing. I also realized we can’t leave it to the New York City publishing houses to represent Alaska and Alaskan writers.

How does 40 Below Ink differ from other regional presses that publish books about Alaska?

We will be focusing on eBooks, for one. Also, Forty Below Ink is probably more “on the edge.” Although we are producing books about Alaska, our focus is for things outside the norm, slightly offbeat, and humorous, including all aspects of what it is to be Alaskan.

Your advisory committee includes several well-respected writers. How did you select the members, and what role do they serve?

We invited Alaskan authors from all areas and backgrounds. The publisher and editor will read all submissions. The advisory committee members (as available) will read the works that have been selected by the publisher and editor and offer their input.

What kind of response have you had from your call for manuscripts to be published in 2008? What are you anticipating in terms of genre, number of titles, and release dates for your initial list?

The response has been steady. We have mainly received manuscripts for novels at this time.

We hope to publish two titles later this year. The rest depends on what type and quality of submissions we receive.

You’ve mentioned that you plan to move into the eBook market as well as offering books in print. Can you elaborate on what that might mean for an individual title?

As publisher, I think the eBook market is very exciting. With a eBook, we can include images, audio and even video without appreciably increasing the cost of the book.

For some titles, it means we will produce a book in print and an eBook, which hopefully will result in an increase in sales. Those books more suited to the eBook format and/or market will be produced as eBook only, although they may be printed if sales determine that is the way to go.

How do you handle the selection and editing processes?

The selection process is as I mentioned above. We will edit the books in-house and hire a contract editor for the final copy edit.

What else would you like readers and writers to know about 40 Below Ink?

As a new company, we have a lot of energy for our goal, which is to produce books about Alaska that we can be proud of. We are also committed to environmentally friendly business practices and to supporting community service and non-profits. Please see our website at

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