In 2020, as a nation, we witnessed many people reckon with the racism deeply embedded in our country: in politics, the entertainment industry, and even the publishing industry.
The publishing industry is historically known for being white, male-dominated, and an amplifier of heteronormative, white voices. But Game Over Books is looking to change the industry as we know it.
College friends, Josh Savory, lead editor and founder of Game Over Books, and MJ Malpiedi, business manager and co-owner, spoke with the Hassle about the inspiration behind getting involved in publishing, and the legacy they wish to have on the industry.
Boston Hassle: What was the inspiration behind the conception of Game Over Books?
MJ Malpiedi: It all started with a book from M. Less, which got the ball rolling. From there, Josh [Savory] started pulling other people in. Now, over the years, we have slowly built a little group of what we call our core staff.
Publishing isn’t easy to get into, so we wanted to kind of be an alternative,small press that is actually trying to help people get in and get their foot in the door, in terms of publishing.
Josh Savory: I would go to all these shows–like poetry events–and see all these books that people would have, and [their books] would be saddle-stapled just as if they went to Staples and had them printed out. I feel like I can make books for people, that’s how the idea came about for me.
BH: How do you feel like the publishing industry has historically silenced BIPOC/Queer voices and how do you hope to change that with GOB?
MM: The most glaring way is how few seats are offered to marginalized voices around community tables and in publishing, at large. From organizing/operating various bookstores to distribution networks to publishing companies and printers, the entire industry does not provide enough to these sidelined voices.
As for us, we are hoping to change this by offering voices from marginalized groups a leg up over the gates by taking the time to walk authors through everything: contracts, the editing process, printing, the distribution, marketing strategies, and such.
BH: What were some challenges that you all faced during the formation of GOB?
MM: One of the biggest challenges so far is figuring out how to expand the audience for the press and get more exposure for our authors and titles. There are many hurdles when it comes to getting into publishing and navigating how to differentiate yourself from the hundreds of other small presses and indie publishers is no small feat.
BH: How would you all describe the aesthetic of the content GOB publishes, and what do you all hope people take away?
MM: To distill it to the simplest answer, we just want it to be good. We just want the books that we’re publishing to really be like, “Wow, this is a good freakin book.” Like, you go through it, and then you put it down,and think that that was an excellent book or an experience I hadn’t read about.
We also have extensively focus on helping folks that are queer, people of color and Black authors, so we are really trying to focus on getting their voices out there through the work we are doing.
BH: What has been the most positive/exciting experience so far with GOB?
MM: Watching the GOB catalogue continue to grow and include so many talented writers is definitely one of the most exciting aspects. We’ve done twelve projects in the past few years since our founding, and that’s pretty amazing for a smaller scale publisher.
It also feels great to know that so many writers and artists see the value in working with us and support what we are trying to accomplish as an independent publisher.
BH: What does the future hold for GOB?
JS: Part of what we want to do in the future is–while we still want to continue to print a lot of poetry–we do want to branch out into other genres.
Definitely fiction is on my mind, specifically sci-fi fantasy. We’re also thinking about imprints.
MM: At the end of the day, we’re just looking to publish good books, and we want to publish people that are just looking to get their voice out and their name heard for the first time.
You can find Game Over Books on their website, Instagram, and Twitter. Game Over Books is currently hosting a Kickstarter campaign for the chapbook, I Wish I Wasn’t Royalty, which can be found here.