Meet the (Small) Press: The Mad Duck Coalition
- By Thais Carrion
- November 18, 2022
Filling in the “quacks” of today’s publishing industry.
In the literary world, monetary success is typically prioritized over creative freedom. Yet the Mad Duck Coalition does the opposite, encouraging authors to think beyond marketability and narrowly defined genres in pursuit of high-quality writing in all its forms.
“What we’re interested in is filling in the space left behind by big publishers, where there are works that are intriguing…but they aren’t necessarily commercial,” says Mad Duck’s founder and editor-in-chief, Jeffrey Krizman. “They definitely have an audience but it’s not big enough for ‘big pub’ to be interested in.”
For the Mad Duck Coalition, the goal is to remain true to traditional author-editor relationships by preserving the writer’s voice and vision above all. “We are defining the relationship between the author, the work, the editor, and the publishing house to be a lot more collaborative,” explains Krizman. “We kind of allow the authors to have leverage on us.”
Establishing Mad Duck — which was launched during 2020’s pandemic lockdown — has been a learning curve. While Krizman’s formal education is in writing, he started from the ground up when it came to figuring out the complex publishing industry and then training his team to do the same. A few connections and lots of research helped, however, and the publisher has now established itself as a home for the kind of innovative writing that only comes from truly free creative freedom.
Boasting three imprints — Big Ripple Books, In the Weeds, and the fiction-focused Flights of Fancy — Mad Duck has published three books so far, including two academic titles and a work of historical fiction. A fourth book, a memoir, is forthcoming.
What’s been the best part of creating the Mad Duck Coalition? “[It’s] definitely been seeing all the interesting ideas and people that are out there,” says Krizman. By taking the time to foster relationships with promising authors and encouraging authentic writing, Mad Duck continues to grow and make ripples within the industry. Yet its fundamental mission hasn’t changed.
“We’re just looking for well-written work,” says Krizman, “and submissions are always open!”
[Editor’s note: This article was written with support from the DC Arts Writing Fellowship, a project of the nonprofit Day Eight.]
Thais Carrion is a contributor to the Life section of American University’s Eagle and has been publishing articles for the Eagle Online since September 2021, covering all kinds of cultural events around DC. Fluent in both English and Spanish, she has had the opportunity to interview filmmakers and museum curators both local to the District and internationally. Throughout her time studying international relations and art history, Thais has developed a deep interest in art and literature and enjoys writing book reviews and museum pieces.