Why we publish Non-Fiction Anthologies Part 2

book_rooted_in_the_body_small In the previous post, I shared some of the history behind why Immanion Press has published the particular anthologies we’ve published. Now I want to share the rest of it and discuss how these anthologies fit into the core ideology of Immanion Press. After Shades of Faith came out, there was a lot of positive reaction to it, enough so that it got listed in Huffington Post’s 2012 list of Pagan books to read, along with another of our titles Graeco-Egyptian Magick. It made me happy to hear this. in 2013, at Pantheacon, Crystal and I chatted about Shades of Faith and she told me that her and some of the other contributors wanted to put out another anthology called Shades of Ritual, which would be a continuation of Shades of Faith, but would focus specifically on the spiritual practices of the contributors. It sounded interesting and when she asked if Immanion would be up for doing another anthology, I told her we would. I didn’t assume that she’d automatically want to place it with us, because as I tell all my authors, we never assume that your next book will come to us (and I’ll explain that further in my next post), but she told me that both she and the contributors had really liked how we worked with them. They felt respected by Immanion and our hands off approach to the editing. We respected their voice and how the writing needed to appear, as opposed to trying to sanitize it in order to sell it to the lowest common denominator. So Crystal and I came to an agreement and it was decided Immanion would publish Shades of Ritual. Now there was something very important about this moment…

For the last few anthologies, I’d played a particular role…I saw a need for an anthology on a topic and I approached someone to edit and I backed off and let them do what they needed to do. This time…someone approached me and told me what they wanted to do and I loved it. I loved it because what it demonstrated was something essential the Immanion Press ideology and brand: We empower our authors to be successful, to be heard in their voices…and to me to have someone else say they wanted to do an anthology was a signal that the brand and ideology were doing exactly what they were supposed to do. I’m actually in the process of doing the layout for Shades of Ritual and I’m really excited about this book. I’ve copy edited the essays and I’m really impressed at what is being expressed in it and how the various voices of the contributors speak to their own experiences as people of color in the ritual work they do.

Over the summer of 2013, I noticed a lot of focus on the topic of racism and it got me to thinking that while we’d published one anthology on People of Color and their perspectives on Paganism and another one was being worked on, we hadn’t focused on that topic of Racism. Racism is a charged topic, but I felt Immanion needed to contribute to the conversation and how better than to do another anthology, this time focused on racism. I got a hold of Crystal and bounced the idea off of her. She thought it was a good idea and asked who the editor would be. I said I didn’t know for sure, but she told me she’d be willing to edit, but only if there were co-editors. I said ok, and then she told me I had to be one of the co-editors. I was surprised at that and I asked her why and she told me, “Because you’re doing a lot of work in the background that no one really knows about and you obviously care about these issues. I want you to edit because I want people to know the role you’ve played in the anthologies.” I didn’t expect that answer and didn’t know how to respond. I’d never done any of this for recognition and in fact didn’t feel that any such recognition should come my way. I’ve written books, so its not like people don’t know my work and the whole point of these anthologies was to focus on these social issues. Plus I felt that one of the best ways I could help was to simply be in the background, helping to facilitate. Nonetheless she insisted that I had to be one of the editors…so I agreed, with the understanding that she’d be the contact person. We also agreed that Brandy Williams could be another editor for this topic since she was doing some research around these issues herself. She happily agreed and currently we’re in the process of starting to edit the anthology Bringing Race to the Table, which will explore the issue of racism and the Pagan community in more depth.

In February of 2014 I met Shauna Aura Knight for the first time in person. I’d seen her online, but we’d never chatted. I briefly saw her at Pantheacon and because we were going to be at Convocation the flowing weekend, we agreed to meet up for lunch or dinner and talk about writing, publishing and the Pagan community. We met for lunch and over the course of three hours we bonded over topics that included writing, magical mishaps, pagan leadership and ritual facilitation. By the end of our discussion I asked she’d be interested in co-editing an anthology with me on Pagan Leadership (We’re still taking submissions). I was impressed with her take on the topic and as always I was also curious as to what other people would say…and of course I have my own take on that topic I’d like to share.

Our anthologies are reflective of our core ideology. They are quality works that contribute to our readers and to the community we are apart of. They are works designed to raise awareness and empower the writers. The creation of these anthologies is a labor of love by all involved, because we want our readers to have access to ideas that make them think about their community and get involved in the conversations that can make it better than ever before.


Why we publish Non-Fiction Anthologies Part 1


Immanion Press has been publishing Non-Fiction Anthologies since 2006. Initially our Non-Fiction Anthologies were focused on practical magic. Magick on the Edge, Manifesting Prosperity, and the Pop Culture Grimoire are examples of such anthologies. We wanted to publish anthologies that featured the edgy works of contemporary magicians doing magic differently, which makes sense, because for the non-fiction line that’s a big part of the core ideology. But eventually, as the non-fiction line matured, we switched focus to some degree. We decided to start focusing our anthologies on cultural and social issues within the Pagan and Occult community, recognizing that such issues were often ignored or briefly alluded too, but not dealt with in-depth by any publisher…and that many writers who wanted to write on such topics didn’t necessarily feel supported because such topics aren’t guaranteed sellers.

In publishing so much of the emphasis is on marketable books that well sell to droves of people, but the problem with this approach is that when you only focus on marketing books that you think will sell lots and lots of copies, you miss out on really getting to know the needs of your market. While there is a need for 101 book, which will always sell to people looking for such book, there’s also a need to feed the soul of the community and that soul won’t be found in 101 books, but will be found in books that deal with the cultural and social issues that our communities grapple with.

Lupa who is the author of DIY Totemism (among other books) first led the charge into these cultural and social issues, with the anthology Talking About The Elephant, which dealt with issues of cultural appropriation in the Pagan and occult communities from multiple angles. While you could find this issue discussed in academia, until that anthology came along the Pagan and Occult community had not seen a published work on the topic, again because its not a guaranteed seller. However, while as a small press, it is important to us to have some degree of profit, we feel its even more important to publish topics that get people to think and to examine what they do and how they do it. Or as the case may be to get people to examine where their practices really come from and how they are approaching those practices. I like to think that Talking About the Elephant has helped to raise the conversation and awareness of the community around the issue of cultural appropriation.

In 2008, I met Brandy Williams, who is the author of Ecstatic Ritual. I’d read an old edition of the book, which was one of the few books on sex magic written by a woman magician and when I found out she lived in Seattle and that one of my other authors knew her, I requested an introduction. We met at a Shinto shrine in Everett, Washington and I talked with her about Ecstatic Ritual. I knew it was out of print and I asked her if she’d be willing to consider bringing it back into print with Immanion Press. Happily, she was interested in republishing the book with us and consequently we brought it into print. But I had another agenda for meeting with her and I told her what it was: I wanted to publish an anthology of essays from woman occultists who’d be willing to speak to their experiences in the occult community. I felt that such experiences were underrepresented and she agreed. I had one problem though and it was one only she could solve. I needed an editor for the anthology. It couldn’t be me, because I’m a man, and I didn’t feel that I could bring the level of awareness and understanding that the anthology and its contributors deserved. When Brandy heard this, she agreed to be the editor and told me that it actually dovetailed with some of the work she was doing in the community. We published the anthology in 2009, and like Talking About the Elephant it continued the tradition of bringing the attention of the community to the social issues that we need to address in order for our community to evolve.

I met Crystal Blanton in 2010, when she approached me about publishing Bridging the Gap. While we discussed her book, I told her about another anthology I wanted to publish, which focused on people of color speaking to their experiences in the Pagan and Occult communities. However, just as with Brandy, I had a problem that only Crystal could solve. I needed an editor for the anthology who could bring the right awareness to the issues. I couldn’t do it, because I’m a white man. I know that my perspective and awareness was limited by virtue of that and the unearned privilege I’d always had in my life. So I asked her if she’d be willing to edit the anthology and she agreed. As a result we published Shades of Faith and currently Crystal is wrapping up another anthology, Shades of Ritual, which extends the focus even further in this direction. What I noticed, when Shades of Faith was published, is that there was an immediate response to the anthology, which spoke again to the needs of our communities in ways that weren’t being met by any other publisher. I’d like to think that anthology helped contribute to some much needed conversation that is currently happening in our communities.

Our most recent anthology Rooted in the Body, Seeking the Soul, edited by Tara “Masery” Miller who I’ve not had the pleasure of yet meeting, is an anthology that focuses on the perspectives of Pagans and Occultists with disabilities. I approached Tara about editing it a year or so ago, again because I wanted to see the anthology come into print and again because I needed someone who understood the people writing about their experiences in a way that I, as of yet, do not. I hope that this anthology will spark similar conversations as the others have, because I feel that by having it and the other anthologies what we really do is bring awareness to our community that teaches us not to take for granted what our community is or could be.

All of these anthologies have been published, not because we at Immanion expect tons of income to result, but because we genuinely believe that these anthologies contribute to our community and provide all of us different perspectives we might otherwise ignore or miss out on. I’m proud of the anthologies we publish because they speak to the dedication of the people who have contributed articles, speak to the needs of our community in discussing the issues that the articles bring up, and help all of us have much needed conversations to move our community into healthy directions. I am proud of the editors who have selflessly given their time and effort to bring these anthologies to life and humbled by their dedication to not just the anthologies, but the continued conversations that these anthologies have contributed to. In part 2, I’ll discuss more of why we publish anthologies on the topics we publish but I hope you have enjoyed this piece of Immanion Press history.