Literary tour to bring together aspiring writers and publishers

Katie Rainey reading at the Dead Rabbits reading series.

Literary tour to bring together aspiring writers and publishers
August 02
10:21 2019

By Judie Holcomb-Pack

Two indie publishing houses are collaborating to bring the Fugitives & Rabbits Collaborative Literary Tour across North Carolina and with the unusual names of Dead Rabbits and Southern Fried Karma, they are getting a lot of attention.

In a recent phone interview, Katie Rainey of Dead Rabbits Books said the small press started as a reading series in 2014 and launched as an indie press in 2018. They are based out of New York and Seattle. They have formed collaboration with Southern Fried Karma, based out of Atlanta.

The goal of the literary tour, which begins Aug. 5 at Scuppernong Books in Greensboro and comes to Winston-Salem on Aug. 6 at Bookmarks, is to “make connections with the writing community and to find new voices,” said Rainey. She said that North Carolina has a “thriving literary community” and is fertile ground for writers as well as readers. They have scheduled seven stops on their tour.

Rainey said what makes Dead Rabbits and Southern Fried Karma different from mainstream publishers is that they listen to writers and help guide them through manuscript development to publication. She noted that corporate publishers often measure acquisitions purely by economic returns, but Southern Fried Karma has a mission to publish “a million stories speaking to ‘Y’all means all.’”

Rainey said they would love to discover new points of view from writers in the South. Dead Rabbits Books publishes primarily novels, but is open to short story collections. Southern Fried Karma accepts poetry as well as novels. Rainey said they are also starting Little Hoppers Press to publish children’s books. Both presses are willing to work with writers who are currently working on a manuscript to guide them through the publishing process.

The literary tour will host an event at Bookmarks, 634 W. Fourth St., #110, on Aug. 6 at 6 p.m. to bring together writers, readers, editors and publishers. There will be two short readings by their authors, followed by a Q&A. Featured authors are: Brian Birnbaum, reading from his book, “Emerald City,” and George Hovis, reading from his book “The Skin Artist.” Hovis has North Carolina connections.

After the authors’ readings, Rainey and Steve McCondichie from Southern Fried Karma will discuss what manuscripts the presses are looking for, working with indie publishers, and their process to support writers and expedite the process from manuscript to published book. Books published by Dead Rabbits Books and Southern Fried Karma are available in bookstores and at book festivals, as well as on Amazon.

Rainey said that they will accept two to three pages of a manuscript, even if unfinished, to review and offer feedback and recommendations on improvement. She said often mainstream literary publishers are not willing to take a chance on a new or unpublished author.

One way they have introduced more people to authors, Rainey mentioned, is through their podcasts. Podcasts have taken off and make authors more approachable, giving them an opportunity to discuss their books and the writing process. Rainey said they are collaborating with other podcasts and will be recording at N.C venues on their literary tour, interviewing bookstore owners, writers and readers “to shine a light on writing and work done locally.”

The literary tour is free and open to the public. The event will be held at Bookmarks on Aug. 6 from 6-8 p.m. Registration is suggested since the space is limited and can be made at or on Facebook at

A Closing Celebration will be held on Aug. 10 at 7 p.m. at Finnigan’s Wake on Trade Street that will offer an opportunity for writers, editors and the publishers to mix and mingle while connecting the literary community in a relaxed, social setting.

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