Curbside Splendor, home to one of my favorite authors Amber Sparks, was founded officially in 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. They prominently publish literary fiction that expands the medium of what the written word as art can do. On their website it specifically says that “the work we publish ranges from highly experimental to ‘in-your-face’ realism.”
Something that struck me immediately upon opening their website was the variety of things they do. To be more specific, under the “Views” tabs they allow the editors a space to talk about outside presses, reviews or even books that they love and share it with their fans. It shows a commitment not only to the literary world but a love of it and everyone involved, because they don’t close themselves off and remain purely independent of anyone else.
Leading into this is a huge sense of personal involvement with the community, and one only needs to look at their Facebook page (directly linked from their website) to see this. They actively post pictures of their authors or quotes from their books to help promote them, because there is a strong sense that these are people too, not icons like the top authors of the day.
Besides the publication of books they also create an E-zine filled with submissions of prose, poetry and photography, all which complement each other fittingly. The writing here, looking at the November 2013 issue, is haunting, and this feeling is immediately created looking at the cover alone. They know how to create a cohesive magazine that highlights what exactly they look for in art. Right in their mission statement they talk about the “gritty urban life,” and whether the stories they publish have to do with urban settings or fantastic beasts, it’s all gritty to the core.
Whether or not their editors are free to talk they have their emails listed in the “About Us” tab so people are free to email them. It’s a shame, then, that their Twitter link is broken, as Twitter has turned into a place of discussion amongst the literary community. One can assume that the editors are friendly, based off of the little blurbs they post about themselves, and the entire website screams with excitement and willingness to delve into art. They even run their own blog, which posts a variety of things from videos to reviews to comics, expanding Curbside Splendor’s already wide horizons.
The list of books they have for sale is both wide and unique. From the minimalist design of “May We Shed These Human Bodies” by Amber Sparks or Joseph Bates’ “Tomorrowland” to the quirky “The Way We Sleep” or “Kiss As Many Women as You Can,” they each seem to hold a different yet exclusive place in the press. Having read “May We Shed These Human Bodies” I can say firsthand that they don’t shy away from the experimental, and if the covers are anything to judge the books by the literature only gets more esoteric.
Diversity seems to be something Curbside Splendor strives to do. From the wide array of covers and stories to the blog and E-zine and videos from the authors themselves, they host a variety of content that allow readers to experience different forms of reading through different mediums. There’s news, entertainment, and of course, literature. Also, for newer writers without publishers, they do have a Submittable where you can submit your book if it fits their criteria. While it may not be an ideal way the fact remains that there is an outlet, and combined with the E-zine I don’t see why not.