About the Press

Mission

Pleasure Boat Studio: A Literary Press is dedicated to enriching the world with eye-opening stories and poetry by talented authors who write with heart, originality, and love of language.

History

Our press started in 1996 by Bill Slaughter and Jack Estes. Bill stepped aside three years later to focus his attention on Mudlark, the electronic journal of poetry and poetics. Jack continued with the press, moving it in 2002 from its initial home on Bainbridge Island, Washington, to the Upper West Side, NY. 

In 2006, with the publication of Homicide My Own, we started a new imprint – Caravel Mystery Books – specifically for mysteries. That same year, with the publication of Speak to the Mountain: The Tommie Waites Story, we started another imprint – Aequitas Books – for non-fiction.

The following year, Mike O’Connor and some of his colleagues in Port Townsend, Washington, decided to resuscitate a dormant Empty Bowl Press, so they asked if Pleasure Boat Studio could help in some way. As a result, Empty Bowl was considered a Division of Pleasure Boat Studio. Empty Bowl is entirely independent now, but we still promote each other’s new work, along with occasional joint book readings.

There are several people who work to keep Pleasure Boat Studios afloat on the greatly respected reputation Jack Estes built through his high standards of authors and books, and his excellent work editing, publishing and PR. Jack loved this work, the press, and especially the authors, which he always says is the best part. Jack still edits new work and advises me, offering suggestions for all of my questions or informing me of opportunities and resources available. Pleasure Boat Studio is grateful to him and his invaluable input.

When Jack Estes wanted to retire, I was sorry to hear this. I had designed covers for him now and again for a few years and rather enjoyed it. I would miss it, and working with him, and worried about what would become of all of these amazing authors and their books. He asked if I would be interested in taking over the press, and after much deliberation, I thought I could test it out for a year and see. He taught me a lot over that year, and I was able to publish my first couple of books under his guidance. He had 12 manuscripts to choose from. I knew I really wanted to publish The Fabrications and then Isaac. I couldn’t see either of these not getting out into the world. They needed to be. I decided yes, to taking over the press, despite the financial risk, because it was rewarding, cool work, and more interesting than alternatives I could take. How could I say no to this incredible gift and opportunity. I am still publishing authors who would have come to Jack, and gladly so, as he attracts exceptional writers. I am humbled and grateful. It has been a pleasure to work with all of them. They are all very intelligent, talented, kind, considerate, interesting, gracious, people. Sometimes their emails are too long, but I’ll take it!

Thanks to all of Jack’s past help, and to so many more who have helped keep this press alive since I’ve been on board. Jeff Welker, my husband, is a creative writer I plan to publish someday, but in the meantime has been editing between Jack’s rounds. My friend Nancy Seewald, a once journalist in NY, had recently done a fine job helping to edit an upcoming book, Twilight in Danzig, and hopefully she will continue to work with the press in the future. I also have an intern, Sara Karabashlieva who has been a great addition to the social media Instagram posts,  has started being a reader and trying her hand at editing, having come from a publishing background as well. Her father was a publisher in Bolivia and she is an English tutor and avid reader. Ken Bodensteiner has been a great help redoing the website, making it stylish and user friendly. He has those needed and appreciated tech skills. While publishing, I am still designing the books, for the most part, as well as any marketing materials. In the future, PBS hopes to add a YA imprint, and children’s book inprint, within the next couple of years. I hope to attract the caliber of writers that Jack has, and would also like to include some comedic writers, and short story writers. PBS has contracts for the next 2 years, and most likely will not be taking any more submissions. Unless, it’s out of this world and you can fund the project!

We like quirky books, non-traditional books and unusual books. And we really like authors who will WORK to sell their books.