A who’s who to Los Angeles’ publishing scene by Allison Hill!

by Jessica on February 3, 2015

Our own wonderful President and CEO, Allison Hill wrote a piece on LA’s publishing scene for the Pasadena Star News. The piece is below and if you’d like to see the source, click here!



Many of Los Angeles’ best restaurants are located in strip malls. L.A.’s publishing scene is equally hidden and surprising; most people don’t even know it exists.

Although New York is known to be the center of the book publishing world, Los Angeles’ contribution is growing. And when it comes to publishing, New York may be a banquet for 100 people but L.A. is a scintillating, intimate dinner party. I invite you to dine with 10 of my favorite L.A. publishers:


At the head of the table, the lovely ladies of Altadena’s Prospect Park Books. Their website states that they “focus on fiction, humor, cooking/food and regional titles,” which seems like they don’t really focus at all; they just publish great books — books with “a certain wildness,” according to them. I think they should give the toast.

Recommendation: “Drink: Los Angeles: A Drink Lover’s Guide to L.A.”


Seated next to them are the hip founders of AMMO Books. The abbreviation stands for American Modern and their titles consist of fresh, colorful, beautifully designed books focused on visual arts and pop culture. They will most likely be the best dressed at this party.

Recommendation: “The Instagram Book: Inside the Online Photography Revolution”


Pass the grilled tofu to their left and you’ll find the beautiful Siglio Press. For this Eagle Rock-based publisher the book is art: “The Torture of Women,” a book version of an 125-foot collage; various limited editions that include actual art pieces; and books with artful covers.

Recommendation: “Between Page and Screen,” an interactive, wordless love story viewed through your computer webcam.


They’re sure to make interesting, small talk with Red Hen Press, a nonprofit press that publishes more than 20 books of fiction, nonfiction and poetry every year. And they’ve brought along a friend: their fabulous lesbian imprint, Arktoi.

Recommendation: “Sea Salt: Poems of a Decade, 2004-2014”


The elegant Angel City Press is seated at the far end of the table. They may be the only people at the party not complaining about traffic; they clearly love Los Angeles, having made it their mission to shine light on the best the city has to offer.


They won’t be able to get a word in edgewise with the eccentric TamTam books and the up-and-comer, and equally passionate, Unnamed Books seated next to them.

TamTam Books carefully selects, translates and reprints unique international writing, most notably Boris Vian’s work. Unnamed Press focuses on international writing too, moving beyond boundaries with what they refer to as “undiscovered writers” and “uncharted territories.”

Recommendation: “Manual of Saint-Germain-Des-Pres 1920-1959” and “The Fine Art of F*cking Up.”


No doubt Writ Large Press will have something to add to the conversation; they push boundaries too, actively expanding the role of publisher. They publish overlooked Los Angeles writers while also offering literary experiences: a performance space project that includes a pop-up bookstore and a festival for L.A. writers and publishers.

Recommendation: “Eulogy to an Unknown Tree,” a great collection of poems, recommended by Nick Flynn.


Asylum Press is sitting waiting impatiently for dessert. They publish weird, wonderful comics and graphic novels.

Recommendation: Their “Fearless Dawn” series, featuring a badass comic book heroine.


And finally, the last to mention but the first to arrive, the classic Santa Monica Press, publisher of an eclectic mix of quintessential L.A. nonfiction ranging from the “Three Stooges Hollywood Filming Locations” to “L.A. Noir: The City as a Character.”

Recommendation: “Faces of Sunset Boulevard: A Portrait of Los Angeles”

This is just a taste of the richness that is Southern California’s publishing scene. We’re so lucky that this everlasting meal is in our own backyard. Eat your heart out, New York.