Announcing BCC Press

We started BCC in 2004. That’s a very long time for any internet project, and I’ve been really lucky to be associated with some of the best Mormon writers and thinkers around. BCC is a joyful, faithful, troublemaking crowd and every day I read and learn things here that I couldn’t find anywhere else. I have become a better Mormon because of the minds and souls of the rest of you here. We’re proud of this community, but there’s always been the feeling that we could be doing more. So we’re expanding our efforts to build the community and engage with our faith in a new way. We’ve started a non-profit publishing company: BCC Press.

Let me explain a little bit of the thinking behind BCC Press. Over the last decade, online Mormon communities have thrived but they’ve also altered the way we talk about Mormonism and how we think about Mormonism. The traditional heavy lifting on Mormon thought has been — and still is — in the form of journal articles, dissertations, books — in other words, traditional long-form writing. But social media and online communities like BCC have shown that there are important conversations to be had about Mormonism in more informal ways. At the same time, social media present a casual and abbreviated form of talking about our religion that has had mixed results. Blog posts are short, but they are the “long form” of online writing. More common are the Facebook status updates, the tweets and other instant forms of communication that tend to favor emotional response over reason, that breeze over details in order to make a strong political point. These channels of communication are engineered to make us talk that way with each other, and they’re incredibly effective. They’re like sugared cereal — delicious and instantly satisfying.

But religious community can’t be sustained on the Captain Crunch of social media alone. In part, this is because social media platforms can engineer us to interact with others in ways that are unrealistic. Real-world friendships are hard. People aren’t always there to thumbs-up everything you say at all times of the day. Humanity doesn’t really work that way. Instead, wards have lots of people you don’t like, your family probably doesn’t understand you very well, and your friends constantly need to borrow your truck. Real communities are built on extending the hand of friendship despite an absence of immediate emotional gratification. Further, the topics we desperately need to talk about in our Church are extremely difficult. Refugees, sexual violence, loss of faith, scriptural exegesis, institutional racism, scriptural historicity, female spiritual leadership, evolutionary biology, international religious expansion — these pressing topics of our day are just too complicated and too important for us to take them lightly, to approach them with off-the-cuff reactions. They require reasoned arguments that consider multiple points of view, that build on prior work and expand it. They require a community broader than an echo chamber and a faith stronger than the crisis du jour. They require charity of thought and clarity of word. In other words, they require books. We require books.

Now, we have books already. There are excellent publishers out there and they will continue to exist. BCC Press has a few unique attributes. First, the BCC community already exists. This gives us an existing network of authors, editors, and experts in the various fields where writing is most needed. We hope to bring together new writers from all sorts of backgrounds, ethnicities and experiences, and we’ll use our existing community for bringing the books to light and talking about them in meaningful ways. Second, the BCC community needs to expand. We need more people talking about the topics that matter in ways that are interesting and novel, and we need to break out of the insular mentality that seems to plague most online communities. Third, BCC has always been independent and without a profit motive. The BCC Press is non-profit, a 501(c)(3) run by volunteers, and is engineered so that 100% of donations go to operations, and substantially all book revenues go to the authors once costs are recouped.

We are going to publish all kinds of books that tell the stories of Mormonism in really powerful ways. We will have memoirs, philosophical explorations, poetry, anthologies, history,  and books that will evade the neat categories of genre. While we will print scholarly books, we’re not an academic press and won’t supplant those institutions. Neither are we quite like existing LDS publishers, though there’s probably some overlap in what we find interesting. We’re here to encourage Mormon writing in new ways and to grow the community. This an enormous experiment, just like BCC was in the first place, and we’re really excited about the possibilities ahead.

So here’s where we are today: we have our first book available right now in both print and e-book: Science the Key to Theology, by Steve Peck. Steve is one of my favorite authors and this book is a fascinating look at how the universe around us points to God (and vice versa). The title plays off Parley Pratt’s treatise, Key to the Science of Theology — and like Parley, Steve is not afraid to jump from the high diving board when exploring the universe. I can’t recommend it enough. Because we’re launching the press and Steve’s book together, we’re inaugurating both with a discount code of 20% off today. The code is VJV5RNU6 and you can use it on our BCC Press site. Soon we’ll have some further conversation here about the ideas he explores. Donors to the press will receive additional special discounts on books, by the way (please donate here). For information about the press, to submit manuscripts or ask questions, email us at info@bccpress.org.

Anyways, that’s our press in a nutshell. We’re pouring ourselves into this project. We want the press to be successful and to see it have a positive influence on the community. Thanks for tagging along.

UPDATE: I also want to highlight that Tracy McKay’s memoir will be our next forthcoming title. Tracy has an amazing voice and a very powerful story. Watch this space.mckay

Comments

  1. Tiberius says:

    I think this press has a lot of promise for filling a needed niche. Until recently the only outlets for long, long-form stuff were 1) university presses, 2) devotional presses, and 3) (yes, I’ll say it) the more stick-it-to-the-Church presses. Looking forward to stuff that’s more popular-format than something you’d get from a university press, more sophisticated and nuanced than something you’d get from a devotional press, and less polemical than something you’d get from Signature Books.

    Actually, as I was writing this (completely honest) I realized that Greg Kofford is kind of filling that niche, so now I’m curious what this will uniquely contribute–will this be a nonprofit form of Greg Kofford? Maybe more prolific or popular?

  2. I have become a better Mormon because of the minds and souls of the rest of you here.

    +1

    Long may BCC Press live!

  3. That’s a great question, Tiberius. I think Kofford will continue to do what it does best. They produce excellent books, which we will continue to read and review here. But there are always more stories to tell. The nonprofit element is a key differentiator, as is the fact that we work via print-on-demand and e-books, I would see us producing a wider range of genres and authors, and working perhaps a little less formally. Again, our goal is not to make any money here, but to put that money into the authors’ hands so that the Mormon writing community becomes more varied and robust. With that end in mind there is room out there for all kinds of books — and for all kinds of publishers, from academic presses, to the Koffords, to us.

  4. Awesome. Account created, book ordered, I wish I could preorder Tracy’s book as well.

  5. Tiberius says:

    Sounds great, looking forward to it! (If interlibrary loan reaches that far…)

  6. N. W. Clerk says:

    “High-quality” *and* “print-on-demand”? I didn’t know that was possible.

  7. I am so excited about this! Finding By Common Consent has made being a mormon so much easier for me. I can’t wait to read books that will continue to help me get to church each Sunday.

  8. It is, actually, now. I was very pleasantly surprised at the quality of the first books we got back. Steve Peck’s book as beautiful as any book picked up in any bookstore.

  9. @Kadusey – thank you so much! I’m in final re-writes and editing right now. We’re hoping for a late spring launch for me!

  10. Excellent said and done, Steve.

  11. Best of luck, BCC. I can’t think of a more challenging, rewarding undertaking.

  12. Jason K. says:

    Steve: I’m excited about the press, obviously, but let me just say that this post is an excellent articulation of the way that sustained thinking (which amounts to sitting with the people and communities out of which that thinking emerges) can enliven our communal and individual religious lives. Thank you for that.

  13. Thank you, Gary – your work in the LDS writing community has been invaluable.

  14. Very interesting. Thanks for the discount code (I almost ordered off tweets alone, before seeing this post). Long form print on demand with some editorial oversight (BCC branding) does seem a likely-to-be fruitful approach. The obvious overlap with Kofford, especially the more speculative (businesswise speculative) fringes of the Kofford catalog, will be interesting to watch.

  15. Best possible intro, and can’t wait to see what we can make of this thing.

    Also, adding my hearty endorsement for the book. As a non-scientist/non-theologian, it’s a fascinating look into how those worlds collide (or how they could collide more), and Steve Peck is the perfect person to provide it.

  16. Any chance on making it available for iBooks as well as Kindle?

  17. Congratulations! Torrey House Press is delighted to welcome BCC into the tiny family of fierce and loving nonprofit literary presses in the mountain West. ~Kirsten Johanna Allen

    P.S. Steve Peck’s The Scholar of Moab was THP’s second book–couldn’t have a better mind to help launch a press!

  18. I’m so thrilled about this. The BCC legacy preserved, expanded, and added upon!

  19. I feel so honored and lucky to be a part of this. It feels like the final scene of one of those Christmas movies to me.

  20. Great idea. I’m definitely buying the Peck book and will look forward to future releases.

  21. Congratulations on an exciting new venture and welcome to the wonderful world of book publishing!

  22. What a welcome, needed addition to the ecosystem, and two great sounding titles to start off with.

  23. Catherine S says:

    This is thrilling. I cannot wait to hear more from the incredible minds that BCC surrounds itself with. Though I am currently in a sort of limbo with the church, it is this community that keeps me from pulling away entirely. Even if/when I do, I believe I will continue coming back here, to partake of the incredible insight and camaraderie I find here.

  24. Randy B. says:

    Hurrah, more books. Good luck!

  25. Jennifer in GA says:

    This is really exciting! As soon as Tracy’s book is available for pre-order I AM THERE.

    I noticed that we could order through Amazon. Is there a financial benefit for y’all getting it via your site vs Amazon?

  26. Wonderful intro and kick-off for the Press, Steve — so glad to be part of this community and this project.

  27. Wow, this is really exciting! Thank you all for doing this! I look forward to buying your goodies!

  28. Angela C says:

    Someone asked about the best way to order books. Amazon is convenient, but createspace.com has higher royalties.

    I’m really excited about the launch, proud to be associated with BCC and what everyone has accomplished, and grateful Steve reached out to me a few years ago to join this group. It’s life-changing.

    I’m deeply enjoying Steve’s new book and can’t wait for Tracy’s memoir!

  29. Great Intro, Steve. Looking forward to the BCC Press future. Two home runs to start.

    SteveP’s book is a unique piece of work that brings together two philosophical worlds that generally exist on different planes of thought. In my head I call it “fun physics.” And it’s a place people with questions about the Mormonism/religion/science interface can go to find some thoughtful, faithful work. Steve is a fine Latter-day Saint, a fine scientist, a remarkable professor, an innovative philosopher, and this book is just the beginning of some promising work that he will continue with this great new Mormon outlet. Bravo.

  30. WVS: you forgot to mention that Steve is also a fantastic fiction writer (in both senses of the word fantastic).

  31. Mary Lythgoe Bradfford says:

    Wonderful news–long awaited!

  32. Such exciting news! As someone not affiliated with a university but who is interested in a book-length project, I’ve struggled to find support for writing longer works and access to materials. This is a welcome step in expanding access and voices.

    A few questions / ideas:

    Could you say more about your criteria for submissions?

    I wonder if it could possibly become a forum in the future for giving guidance to aspiring authors or for pairing people who’d be interested in contributing essays to anthologies or engaging in other collaborative work. Personally, I’d love to learn more about the mechanics of writing a book and have a community with which to brainstorm.

    Best of luck!

  33. Beautiful post, concept and execution of the actual press. Excited to see this as it develops!!

  34. Natalie, good questions. Right now our criteria are more engineered around interesting topics by people who have a track record of good writing. And yes, we do plan on pairing people for anthologies and collaborative work. It’s really exciting stuff.

  35. I’ve ordered Steve’s new book, scheduled to be delivered on Saturday, so I’m looking forward to holding a copy of the first title from BCC Press. But it was also important to me to donate (rather too meagerly, I’m afraid) to the capital launch campaign today, because I will be able to show to future generations my email receipt dated April 6, 2017, and prove that I was there at the beginning! Get on it, folks! https://donorbox.org/bcc-press-startup-campaign

  36. Thanks GST and thank you to everyone donating and buying books. We appreciate your trust and your aid.

  37. I get an error message every time I try to connect through the link in the first paragraph. It doesn’t seem to affect other commenters — suggestions?

    The connection to http://www.bccpress.org was interrupted while the page was loading.

    The page you are trying to view cannot be shown because the authenticity of the received data could not be verified.
    Please contact the website owners to inform them of this problem.

  38. Ardis – very strange. It’s actually an https:// site. so let me rework that link and see if it works for you.

  39. I can get in now. Thanks, Steve.

  40. Kristine N says:

    Awesome. Glad to see you all expanding into the print world. I find this blog a wonderful resource when I’m teaching. I expect the print books will only add to that.

  41. I can’t wait to read reviews of BCC books by BCC bloggers. I’m thinking the reviews will be very positive, and make all of us really happy.

  42. FGH – nice swipe. You can do better than that.

  43. Aussie Mormon says:

    Just write your own review of the books if you don’t like the ones that get posted FGH. There are plenty of places where you can. You can even review the reviews.

  44. Echo Chamber Mormonism has been a big problem. It’s time for reality.

  45. Aaron R. says:

    I feel incredibly proud to have once been associated with this community and am very excited about this venture. This also seems like the right time too.

  46. John Mansfield says:

    FGH’s swipe does touch on the potential insularity of this endeavor, which potential those undertaking the endeavor have likely thought about and would have interesting things to say. This doesn’t seem to be a time for considering such things, though, so best wishes to the writers and editors as they give form to thought.

  47. Thanks John – and yes, of course it’s a consideration, one where we’re going to need effective walls. Again, part of the whole point is to break out of some of the insularity that online mormonism presents.

  48. Congrats to BCC! What a great idea. Full of courage and promise. In my experience many Mormons are either intimidated by the controls over editing by big bad Deseret Book, or unable to get our works accepted by traditional publishers because we’re more interested in the unique issues most relevant to LDS culture. The BCC blog has been a great venue to post issues and opinions, but not longer theses for a larger audience. So having BCC now have its own press is a great idea. Making it a nonprofit, in the tradition of many firms throughout Utah’s past, will make it akin to pioneer united order cooperatives (that were operated by common consent, no less). Such a business model has worked well for some progressive publishing houses in recent decades which have shown considerable staying power financially, while also producing good literature. I’m thinking of such publishing houses as Bastian Publishing Services (BPS) in Toronto, Word Branch Publishing (WBP) in Appalachia, and South End Press, a long time publisher of radical economics in Boston. In my career, I’ve published entire volumes and/or chapters in edited books over the years by the national venues such as Addison Wesley, Sage, Routledge and Edward Elgar in Europe, as well as Mormon publishers such as Aspen Books, BYU’s Religious Studies Center, and other university publishers as well. Having a new BCC Press will potentially mobilize many new authors to get their work in print. I think your plan has considerable promise in accelerating the future of thoughtful LDS publishing.

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