After deciding, after a 12-year run, that he couldn’t sustain Nomadic Press’s publishing business any longer, J.K. Fowler closed the publisher at the end of February. When that news reached Kent Watson, executive director of Small Press Distribution, which handled distribution for Nomadic, Watson suggested that a “like-minded press” might be interested in acquiring the company. Not long after that conversation, Fowler met with Diane Goettel, executive editor at another SPD client, Black Lawrence Press, and soon an agreement was reached for Black Lawrence to acquire more than 100 titles in a deal that was concluded earlier this month.
“I’ve been aware of Nomadic Press for years, and I’ve been consistently impressed with both the books that they publish and the work that they do within the literary community,” Goettel told PW in explaining why Black Lawrence went ahead with the acquisition. “There’s a longstanding kinship between our titles. We have authors on our lists that are writing about similar topics and approaching their writing craft in similar ways. In addition to that, we’ve published some of the same people. Miah Jeffra and M.J. Jones, for examples, previously published books with both Black Lawrence and Nomadic.”
The deal does not include books from Little Nomad, Nomadic’s children’s imprint, since Goettel said Black Lawrence does not publish children’s books. A handful of other Nomadic titles, whose authors either found new homes before the Black Lawrence deal came along or who decided to let some older books go, were not part of the acquisition.
The deal does include 12 titles that Nomadic had under contract, but had not yet published. Goettel said Black Lawrence, which is based in upstate New York and publishes fiction, poetry, and French and German translations, will publish three books before the end of this year, with the remainder set to be released in 2024 and early 2025. Through 2024, all Nomadic titles will be published under the Nomadic name and logo, but beginning in 2025, all titles and reprints will appear under the Black Lawrence Press name.
With the sale of its publishing arm, Fowler said the Nomadic Press Foundation plans to continue to administer literary awards and grants, and marginalized writers funds similar to Nomadic Press' Black Writers Fund. In addition, Fowler said the foundation will offer fiscal sponsorship opportunities for literary projects or individuals who do not yet have their 501(c)(3) status. “Our foundation builds off of the legacy of Nomadic Press,” said “Fowler. “We plan on officially opening our doors in August or September 2023."