Singularity Press, Rowan's New Startup

As a Writing Arts student, I've always been eager to get involved in clubs and internships. These extracurriculars are helpful for any career, but have proven to be a must-have if you have any interest in publishing. (That's actually how I got involved in HC!) Megan Atwood, a professor in Rowan's Writing Arts department, and her team of interns are busy building the foundations for a publishing house right here in Glassboro. Singularity Press, once started, will publish YA genre fiction and use all profits for scholarships. I chatted with Megan to get some of her insight on the process. 

Photo by Grace Clevenger for the Whit online

Q: How did you come to be at Rowan? 

A: I worked as an adjunct professor at Hamline University in Minnesota for about seven years, teaching classes in writing for children and composition pedagogy. I also worked in publishing in one way or another for around 17 years--and during that time I wrote and published several books. I searched for a tenure track assistant professor position for years and when I saw the job ad at Rowan, it felt like it had been written for me! They were looking for a professor who could teach creative writing--particularly writing for children--and could teach publishing classes. So I applied and happily got the job, and came to Rowan in the fall of 2017.

Q: What is Singularity Press about? Who is it for? 

A: Singularity Press will be a young adult publishing company that provides multi-modal, immersive experiences for the speculative fiction reader. We want to reach those who love  fandoms and are looking for a place to go when the book is over. Most importantly, we want to publish new and diverse voices that break boundaries. And with profits from the company, we want to provide scholarships for marginalized students interested in the creation and production of books--the publishing side of publishing. All of this will be run by students, ideally across the Rowan University campus, to provide internship experiences and a chance to make a difference in the publishing world.

Q: What is your personal relationship with YA fiction? 

A: YA fiction has been my passion since the very early 2000s. I worked for a publishing company called Llewellyn Publishing and through them, created the YA imprint Flux (I will always be grateful to Llewellyn for taking a chance on me!) I left the company right before the imprint officially launched, but to even talk the company into taking a chance on a YA imprint, I acquired several YA books that sold well, and also met some amazing authors and agents over many years. The imprint, when it launched, were the books I'd acquired. After I left Llewellyn, and after some time editing journals and other materials, I realized that kidlit was in my blood--particularly YA lit--and so I went back to school to get my MFA in writing for children and young adults. I write and edit YA lit now and couldn't be happier. My life is dedicated to teaching and writing, and I am deeply passionate about young adult literature and what it can do. I'm excited to translate that, if possible, to this new publishing company endeavor. 

Q: How does your background in publishing benefit Singularity Press?

A: Starting the Flux imprint, I had to basically learn everything about publishing. Or as much as I could, anyway. That meant speaking with people in all departments and trying to understand the ins and outs of their jobs. I still have a lot to learn--but I think the groundwork I've done in my past will help shape the directions we go with Singularity Press in the future. 

Q: How can students get involved in Singularity Press? Do you have to be in Writing Arts to get involved?

A: So many ways! For editing, Writing Arts is the place to be. But if you are a marketer or publicist, or you would love to design book covers or websites, or you think you have another way you might be involved, we could absolutely use your help!  Right now in our very early stages, our main job is to find funding for the company. But once we get that secured, we'll need to work with many different people to get this going. And we'd love to meet people across the Rowan University community who are interested in being a part of it once it's up and running. 

Megan isn't the only one dedicating her efforts to Singularity. Her team of five interns also contribute massive efforts to getting the press up and running. Each intern was selected for their background and intended focus within the startup. Devon James and Sarah Knapp are pursuing a MA in Writing at Rowan University. Both graduate students have studied publishing with Megan in the past and work with acquisitions in the start up. Britt Eng and Griffin Galagher, both Juniors double-majoring in Public Relations and Advertising, tackle the public face of Singularity. They provide unique insight in marketing to help Singularity best reach its audience. Finally, there's me. Although I am a Writing Arts and English double-major, I actually wasn't selected to join the team. Instead, I found ways for me to get involved through my current internship with the Writing Arts department. As a group, we fell in love with Singularity Press and want to make it happen. 

To do that, we need your support. Like Megan mentioned, Singularity Press will be a great asset for many students at Rowan, but right now, the best way you can help out is to make a tax-deductible donation through our ProfFunder. To join our mailing list and stay up to date, email the team at [email protected]

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