Welcome to Bona Fide Books!
bona fide (from Webster’s): made in good faith without fraud or deceit;
made with earnest intent; sincere; authentic
Bona Fide Books is a small press on a mountaintop publishing meaningful literature in a variety of formats. We aim to promote bold, unsung writers and connect them with their readers. Bona Fide specializes in community-driven nonfiction, that is, collections about specific areas and its people. We also enjoy wild, inquisitive fiction, and unusual memoirs and guides to modern life. Bona Fide also holds an annual poetry contest.
Does the world need another small press? In our opinion, the more of us there are doing good work in the service of literature, the better. In addition to an ether-based community, we also have a bona fide bricks and mortar office, the Center for Wayward Writers. If you find yourself in South Lake Tahoe, drop in to check out the latest lit journal, talk about your query letter, and have a cup of tea or something stronger.
Inspired by artist and friend Melissa Lanitis Gregory -- see Our Story below -- we try each day to be brave and unapologetic about the significance of literature and community. Join us!
Kim Wyatt, Publisher & Editor
Bona Fide's Story
On February 24, 2009, friend and artist Melissa Lanitis Gregory died; she was only 47. Kim had talked to her earlier that day, and she was going down to Reno for a blood transfusion. She didn’t make it back. Melissa and Kim had spent the past few months talking about art v. commerce – Kim was feeling particularly crappy about writing lightweight articles for pay and editing books she felt little connection to. She also felt that the state of publishing was a mess; it seemed great writing was being overlooked for celebrity advances. Mel was feeling bad about not making jewelry she could sell; instead she was drawn to creating giant papier-mâché hearts. One cold January night, after an inspiring visit with Truckee artist Carole Sesko, they drove home along the west shore of Lake Tahoe. It was one of those fantastical moonlit nights—granite peaks and snow aglow, the lake shimmering a thousand feet below—and it seemed impossibly beautiful. Right then and there, in Mel’s car, they made a pinkie pact that 2009 was the year they would be brave and unapologetic about their true work: creating meaningful art and literature. And then Melissa was gone. A week after she died, Kim decided to start a small press.
Bona Fide Books is an independent press in California’s Sierra Nevada. Our mission is to publish and support new voices, to help writers find their readers, and to help build community through storytelling.
Thanks for reading.
Melissa Lanitis Gregory