Fast-Growing Indie Publishers
overall growth included a 48% gain last
year over 2014.
While Graywolf’s success can be
attributed in part to savvy marketing of
a list filled with prize-winning titles, it has
also benefited greatly from being at the
forefront of the trend in creative nonfic-
tion and lyric essays, which have gained
traction in the marketplace in recent years.
The essay collections Argonauts by Maggie
Nelson (2015) and On Immunity by Eula
Biss (2014) have both sold well, but
Graywolf’s top-selling title in 2015 was
Citizen by Claudia Rankine, a collection
of poems, essays, and images (including
photography and artwork) examining
racism. This release has sold 106,000
copies in paper, and another 10,000 in
e-books since its publication in 2014. In
addition to receiving glowing reviews,
Citizen was a finalist for a National Book
Award in 2014 and has won several other
awards and honors. It has been adopted
for many campus-wide reading pro-
grams at colleges.
Though Graywolf’s poetry and essays
are strong, fiction has lifted its sales too.
Norwegian novelist Per Petterson has
gained a cult following since Graywolf
published Out Stealing Horses in 2007,
and The Wake, Paul Kingsnorth’s 2015
debut novel, has sold 13,000 in paper
and another 3,000 in e-books.
Graywolf’s success can also be attrib-
uted to its backlist, which, publisher
Fiona McCrae says, is “doing better than
ever.” Backlist titles are often adopted
for academic courses. For Graywolf, Life
on Mars (2012), Tracy K. Smith’s Pulitzer
Prize–winning poetry collection, and
Incarnadine (2013), Mary Szybist’s
National Book Award–winning poetry
collection, continue to sell well.
Graywolf’s commitment to its authors
over the course of their careers is paying
off as well. Rankine’s Don’t Let Me Be
Lonely (2004) has enjoyed a resurgence
since Citizen was released, with the
former selling 20,000 titles.
Expect more creative nonfiction and
lyric essays among Graywolf’s 30
frontlist releases this year, including
Nelson’s The Red Parts, 2015 Graywolf
Nonfiction Prize–winner Angela Palm’s
Riverine, and Belle Boggs’s Art of Waiting.
As Seattle independent publisher
Sasquatch Books enters 2016—its 30th
year—the company points to breakout
hits such as The 52 Lists Project and A
Boat, a Whale, and a Walrus as keys to its
recent success. Known for its list of nonfiction books, Northwest regional titles,
and guidebook series, Sasquatch has
branched out into a variety of subjects,
including cooking, lifestyle, and children’s books. It launched its children’s
imprint, Little Bigfoot, in 2014 and has
already built a list of about 60 titles.
Little Bigfoot sales grew 13% in 2015,
driven by backlist sales, while Little
Kunoichi, the Ninja Girl was a strong