BROOKVILLE — The Watershed Journal is expanding its services into local publishing to create a cooperative press dedicated to publishing books by local authors.
When the literary magazine began in 2018 it was a true grassroots effort. Jessica Weible and Sarah Rossey weren’t sure where it would lead.
At the end of 2019 when the two were preparing the 2020 budget and another year of magazines, they began looking at how they expand now that there has been growth and support in the community.
“Most of the work we do is unpaid and volunteer work, so we have to be very careful about how we manage our time,” Weible said.
They have made connections with other writers around the area with experience in independent publishing. Anthony Vallone, a senior professor of the English Department at Penn State DuBois, who has done independent publishing since the 1990s and Phillip Terman, an english professor at Clarion University who runs the Bridge Literary Arts in Franklin and the Tobecco Clarion University publication.
Clarion University awarded a grant for the Watershed’s first book project, which will help cover the cost of printing some of the first books published.
“The first book, thanks to the grant from the university, we’ll be able to afford to give out copies to our public libraries in the region, so that’s great,” Weible said.
Many of the writers in their group had been talking about more long form projects they were working on independently. Rossey and Weible started the magazine because they knew people who were trying to get published, but were struggling because of being in a rural area. Now that they have been publishing the magazine, their writers were feeling validated and confident, and began evolving to longer prose.
“It all just kind of came together in the right way,” Weible said.
They are accepting submissions until April 1 from anyone who lives in the western Pennsylvania Wilds counties. They want a writer living in the region, or who is writing specifically about the region. The submission is about telling them about your connection to the region.
“We want our region to have more opportunity, whether its publishing about our region, or the people who have unique stories and things to talk about,” Weible said.
They are planning to spend summer on editing and the layout of the work, and hope to have a book in hand by early fall.
Once the first book has been finished, they will take some time to evaluate