excels after years in city
press allows for publication of some unique regional and
Fort Worth history.
the hill at the corner of Sandage Avenue and Bowie Street,
a little brick building is nestled in the shadows.
The building has no sculptures or Internet cafes, only
a sign that reads: TCU Press.
The TCU Press is the smallest in the nation in terms of
staff, said Judy Alter, director of the press.
The press has a two-part mission: to increase the existing
body of academic works and to bring prestige to the university,
With a staff of two permanent employees, Alter and editor
Susan Petty, plus Jim Lee, a volunteer acquisitions editor
and Matt Kornegay, an intern from TCU, the press manages
to publish six to 10 books a year.
It began in 1966 and operated on an informal basis until
1982. Alter has been director since 1987, and under her
leadership the press has focused on the history and literature
of the American West, Alter said.
It publishes a lot of regional and Fort Worth history,
Its a real contribution the university can
make to its community, Alter said.
The press not only contributes to the surrounding area,
it provides an alternative to the typical college environment.
There is an audience that will go to a book signing
that will not set foot in a football game, Alter
The press also helps students interested in the world
of publishing by employing an intern, usually a TCU student,
whenever possible. Kornegay, a senior English major, said
interning with Alter and Petty has helped him gain real-world
experience with university presses and the publishing
Kornegay was able to follow one manuscript from beginning
to end, editing, arranging photos and writing the catalogue
copy for the boot jacket, Alter said.
The press publishes the Texas Tradition Series, which
are outstanding works by Texan writers that deserve to
stay in print, Alter said.
Big time publishers in New York let works fall out
of print when they stop making money, so we keep them
in print so a big hunk of Texas literature is not lost,
The press also publishes the Chaparral Series, which includes
works of historical fiction based on Texas history for
young adults, Petty said.
One book in the Chaparral Series, Muddy Banks,
has sold over 20,000 copies, Alter said.
Books produced by the press have won awards from prestigious
organizations such as the Western Writers of America,
the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and the Texas Institute
of Letters, Alter said.
The Texas Literary Hall of Fame inaugural event, sponsored
by the Friends of the Fort Worth Public Library, will
honor two of the presss authors and another will
act as the master of ceremonies, Alter said.
When the press receives a manuscript, Alter and Petty
do not just sit around and discuss whether or not they
like the book. They send it off to an expert in the field
of its subject. If they get a good review back, then they
present it to the board, Alter said.
The Texas A&M University Press Consortium, which acts
as a sales representative and a great marketing tool,
distributes the works, Alter said.
Petty said in the future she would like to see the press
produce more books.
Alter said she would like to see a larger staff and an
endowment, but not too much expansion.
Its better to be a major press in Texas than
to be a small press in the nation, Alter said.