Another From Esperanto Creative

March 12, 2009

posted by Caroline Picard

I thought you might appreciate this pitch – had it been successful it is likely the current project of The Green Lantern would have taken place in Pittsburgh, with a slightly different interior structure. Fortunately or unfortunately, we did not get the grant. We do however, still have the letter.

esperanto-wine

Moshe Zvi Marvit

Frank Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15217

The Sprout Fund
4920 Penn Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15244-1609
2 October 2003

Esperanto House will be Pittsburgh’s first non-profit unaligned literary publishing house.  Based on the philosophy that a good story is not hard to find, Esperanto House will  endeavor to find quality fiction and poetry and center it in Pittsburgh.

One book per year will be published and distributed by Esperanto House, and all of the  organization’s efforts will be devoted to that one book.

As soon as proper funding is procured, a general call will go out to writers and poets. This  call will request that short stories, poems, and novels be sent to Esperanto House for  perusal and possible publication. Submissions will be considered on a rolling basis, and a  group of readers from different cultural and educational backgrounds will select the form  and content of the book. The book may be a novel written by a single author, or it may be  a collection of short stories interspersed with poetry from several authors.

The audience for Esperanto House books will extend beyond the Pittsburgh region. Local  bookstores in and around Pittsburgh will be encouraged to sell the book and host authors  for readings and seminars. Efforts will be made to begin partnerships with independent  art and literary institutions in the nearby cultural centers and markets such as Philadelphia,  Chicago, and New York.

In addition to book publishing and distributing, Esperanto House will host seminars between writers and readers in order to encourage people in the community to write and  take part in the writing process.

When young people think of Pittsburgh, they do not think of writing opportunities, at  least in the post-academic sense. While Pittsburgh is comprised of many characteristics  that foster the personal aspect of writing (history, economics, aesthetics), it’s lacking in  seeing the writing process through to its completion — mainly in the public domain. This  is perhaps an undeserved image, but it remains the image.

On a daily basis, I feel myself surrounded by a great number of talented individuals  whose gifts would strongly benefit the community. The city’s budding literary community  has had many noteworthy achievements as of late, including the success of the Gist  Street Readings and The New Yinzer. In addition, Pittsburgh has numerous cultural  institutions of international notoriety, such as the museums, universities, and libraries.  What is conspicuously lacking, and wanting, is a local, independent, publishing house.  An independent publishing house is important to stand at the forefront of a literary  community. It serves both as an outlet and as a tangible focal point.

Young people naturally come to Pittsburgh for all that it offers in the way of universities  and studies, and many remain here. Some who would like to live in Pittsburgh are forced  to look to larger cities in order to find certain opportunities that Pittsburgh is lacking. One  of those is a local and independent publishing house.
Esperanto House will run on an extremely small budget. As such, it will require a good  deal of community involvement. In addition to the annual weekend of organized seminars,  Esperanto will rely on individuals in the community who have a passion for quality  literature to ensure its success. From the organizing of events to reading submissions  to advertising and distribution, every facet of Esperanto House will seek to engage the  community. Those that participate in the project will experience firsthand how a small  independent publishing house is born. They will participate in every part of the process,  from reading and editing unsolicited manuscripts to the creation of a book, to the  promotion and distribution. All these aspects of publishing will involve a tight network of  supporters and interested parties inside the community.

Esperanto House is a young house. We understand young people and issues important  to them. Writing is important to young people; local writing is even more important. A  community based publishing house serves as the epicenter of a network of art, music,  and writing. The publishing house serves as a point of origin of ideas and as a place for  dialogue. It serves as a place where what is important comes to light.

In order for a community to be truly supportive and open to an independent publishing  house and all that it entails, it must have certain characteristics. The community must be  open-minded and hold the arts in high regard. It also must be willing to invest in the young  people and ideas of the community.

Those involved in Esperanto House, whether as directors or participants, will be encouraged to take an active role in community affairs. The success of Esperanto House  will depend largely on the support and values of the community. Thus, those involved will  see that involvement in publishing necessitates an involvement in the community.

Literary pursuits naturally increase diversity, because writing is a reflection of one’s  personal experiences in a public forum. These experiences are drawn from a diverse  range of cultural, racial, and personal backgrounds. They are then expressed tangibly in  various forms of expression, such as the writing of poetry and fiction. It is important that  there be a framework that supports the writing of the young people of Pittsburgh and  those wishing to come to Pittsburgh; because without it, diversity will not be manifest.

As mentioned before, Esperanto House is dependant on a receptive community. For the  annual seminar and also for any organized events, we will enlist the cooperation of local  musicians and artists. Community stakeholders will see the importance of the project and  will get involved as volunteers and supporters of Esperanto House in order to ensure that  it remains a reality.

The Sprout Fund makes known the recipients of the Seed Award two months after  applications are submitted. Ideally, funding will be allocated to Esperanto House by the  beginning of December. Promptly, an open call will be made to authors, poets, and  those interested in participating in Esperanto House. There will be a rolling review of  submissions and we hope to have the works that will proceed to publication chosen  within 12 weeks. There will then be a 3-4 week interactive editing process, followed by  a 2-3 week design of the book. With this time frame in mind, Esperanto House would  then have the book ready for the printers by mid-April. In the meantime, there will be  an emphasis on developing the website and firmly establishing Esperanto House. We  will contact local book reviewers, newspapers, bookstores, and online companies in  order to make them aware of Pittsburgh’s first independent, non-profit, publishing house  and the release of its first book. Distribution of the book will begin in May, alongside a  continuation of the advertising campaign that will bring attention to Pittsburgh’s unique  literary project.

The main source of promotion for Esperanto House comes from the people involved  in Esperanto House. Pittsburgh is a big city, but word of mouth spreads as if it were a  small town. Already there is a buzz and expectation for Esperanto House. Those involved  have talked of the project in various settings around the city. From this sort of passive  advertising, Esperanto House has already received a positive response.

Once Esperanto House receives funding we will set up a website —  http://www.esperantohouse.org — and work to get media (newsprint and radio) coverage. This  approach, alongside a push to get local bookstores involved, will entrench Esperanto  House as a Pittsburgh cultural Institution.

The measures for success of any project are threefold. The first is if it accomplishes what  it originally set out to accomplish. The second is that its purpose remains relevant and  a need for its continuation is evident. The third is that it has laid the groundwork for its  continuations.
These will be the measures of Esperanto House’s success.

Our goal is to affect the community with a great book, well packaged, published, and  distributed. This first book will encourage others to write and submit their writings. And  the sale of the book, along with possible contributors, will ensure that Esperanto House is  able to continue publishing great books.
The directors of Esperanto House are Moshe Zvi Marvit, Jason Bacasa, and Caroline  Picard. Moshe Zvi Marvit is a philosophy graduate who has participated in numerous  non-profit organizations from the Mattress Factory to the National Aviary. He has received  recognition for his essays on Phenomenology and Theology.  Jason Bacasa is a Pittsburgh based graphic designer who has designed books and logos  for companies and non-profit organizations. He is also an accomplished musician, playing  in such bands as The Saint Syndicate, The Whitmans, and Tanner Boyle.  Caroline Picard is an accomplished artist, writer, and musician who currently resides  in Philadelphia. She has been involved in several national and international art shows  throughout America and Europe. Ms. Picard is working on the promotion of Esperanto  House in Philadelphia and New York.

A budget of $10,000 is being requested from the Sprout Fund. The following is the 2003- 2004 budget of Esperanto House:
$6,750  The cost of printing 750 copies at $9/copy.
1,100 Distribution fee. This number represents the costs of mailing books to
individual buyers and the distribution to interested bookstores.
400 The creation and maintenance of the website.
850 The organization of Esperanto House events. This figure includes space
rental, refreshment costs, xeroxing fees, and all necessary preparations.
800  Advertising, including press releases, flyers, ads in literary journals, etc.
100 Miscellaneous costs.

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